15 Jun, 2021

EU recovery plans must prioritise reforms, investments and rule of law

Last week, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the European Commission’s assessment of national recovery plans. The text received the support of the majority of MEPs, including from the Renew Europe Group.

The messages of the resolution are clear and reflect Renew Europe’s priorities. On reforms, plans must be serious to receive the European Commission’s approval. On investments, they also must go to people and not only to things. And on fraud and corruption, under no condition can money go to fraudsters and cronies.

“This is the moment of truth”, declared ALDE Party Vice-President and Renew Europe Spokesperson for Economic Affairs Luis Garicano MEP, (Ciudadanos, ES). “The European Commission cannot bow down to political pressure from national governments and must stick to the reform and investment agenda of the European recovery plan. All recovery plans should contribute to addressing the relevant country-specific recommendations, and plans have to be consistent with previous successful reforms agreed at the European level.”

On investments, “the EU recovery plan must also invest in people and not only in things” he added. “The money should go into boosting countries' productivity in the long-term. Europe has to train its youth. Give people skills. Invest in research. Set up future-proof, green and digital infrastructure. The money cannot go into short-term spending only that will just be a rush of sugar. Europe cannot just subsidize the purchase of durable consumption goods.”

Like digitalisation, green requirements for the recovery are required by law and must be met. The Renew Europe Group has included these priorities in a call to the European Commission. Renew Europe Coordinator for the European Parliament Committee on Budgets and European Parliament Negotiator for MFF and Own Resources Valérie Hayer (Renaissance, FR) said: “We need to ensure that national plans meet the 37% green spending requirement, and that no investments do a harm to the environment as defined in Taxonomy rules. Biodiversity challenges must also be addressed and not pushed into the background.”

Renew Europe negotiators have also put the respect for rule of law at the centre of the Resolution. “EU money cannot be used by authoritarian wannabes for undemocratic reforms and unlawful projects. Therefore, the Commission must reject any plan that goes against our common values” said Hayer, adding, “we need to give EU law enforcement agencies, such as OLAF and the newly created EPPO the task to ensure this unprecedented amount of money is well-spent. Citizens would expect no less.”

Photo credit: Benoit Bourgeois, European Parliament Audiovisual Service 2020. 

Photo credit: Jan Van de Vel, European Parliament Audiovisual Service 2021.

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