EP Approves Larger Part of Europe’s Recovery Package
On Tuesday, European Parliament approved the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism, which aims to help EU countries cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Regulation on objectives, funding and criteria for access to the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism (RSM) was adopted by 582 votes ‘for’, 40 ‘against’ and 69 abstained. The RSM is the largest structural element of the Next Generation EU recovery package, amounting to EUR 750 billion.
Grants and loans worth of EUR 672.5 billion will be provided for funding of national measures designed to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Related projects, the implementation of which started on or after 1 February 2020, may also be financed under the RSM.
The funds will be available for a period of three years, with Member State governments able to request up to 13% pre-financing for their recovery and sustainability plans.
In order to be eligible for funding, national recovery and sustainability plans must focus on key EU policy areas – the transition to green economy, including biodiversity, digital transformation, economic cohesion and competitiveness, as well as social and territorial cohesion.
Plans focusing on crisis response and supporting institutions in preparing for future crises, as well as policies focused on children and young people, including education and skills, are also eligible for funding.
At least 37% of the each plan’s budget must be earmarked for climate action and at least 20% for action in the field of digitalization. The plans should have a lasting socio-economic impact, include comprehensive reforms and a robust investment package and do not inflict significant damage to environmental objectives.
The Regulation also provides that RSM funds may only be received by Member States committed to the protection of the rule of law and the fundamental values of the European Union.
The European Commission, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the RSM, may be invited to send its representatives to the meetings of parliament's relevant committees every two months to discuss progress towards the restoration and implementation of the interim and final targets by the Member States.
The Commission will also provide countries with an integrated information and monitoring system to ensure access to comparable data on how the funds are used.
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