COVID-19: €672,5 billion in grants & loans to support EU countries

Funds available only to member states that respect the rule of law

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The European Parliament adopted the Recovery and Resilience Facility, an instrument designed to help EU countries tackling the effects and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees adopted the objectives, financing and the rules for providing funding from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, RRF, with 73 votes to 11 and 15 abstentions.

The Members of European Parliament, MEPs, also adopted a mandate to enter into negotiations with EU governments by 84 votes to 11 and 4 abstentions.

They want the mandate to be announced during the upcoming plenary scheduled between tomorrow and the 13th of November, to be able to start the talks without delay.

MEPs also agreed that the RFF should only be made available to member states committed to respecting the rule of law and the European Union’s fundamental values.

National recovery and resilience plans would be eligible for financing if they are consistent with six EU priorities;

  • Green transition
  • Digital transformation
  • Economic cohesion and competitiveness
  • Social and territorial cohesion
  • Institutional crisis-reaction and crisis preparedness
  • Next Generation EU policies – They include the European Skills Agenda, the Youth Guarantee and the Child Guarantee

The European Parliament wants each plan to contribute at least 40% of its budget to climate and biodiversity and at least 20% to digital actions and wants the amount of €672,5 billion in grants and loans to be available to finance national measures designed to alleviate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, which will be in place as of February 2021 onwards.

MEPs want the funding to be available for four years instead of three as in the Council position, and for EU governments to be able to request up to 20% pre-financing for their recovery and resilience plans, instead of proposed 10%, so that they can react faster and do more.

The MEPs from the Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees demanded that the Commission be accountable to the EP, including by submitting a report twice a year outlining how the targets and milestones have been implemented as well as the amounts paid to each EU country.