The success of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) is under threat after only a few countries took on the input from local and regional authorities. The RFF is a 672.5 billion euro instrument which is aimed at supporting the Recovery Plan for Europe. Liberal MEPs and members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) addressed this issue in the Commission for Economic Policy (ECON).
The RRF is designed to support EU countries in carrying out reforms and investing in the EU’s common priorities. It is the biggest financial tool included in the 750 billion euro recovery instrument, the Recovery Plan for Europe. To benefit from this, EU Member States should present national recovery and resilience plans indicating the reforms and investments that would be financed. But the lack of structured and systematic involvement of local and regional authorities in economic governance in general and in the European Semester in particular have prompted renewed calls from liberal MEPs and CoR members to address this issue rapidly.
Dragos Pislaru MEP (Renew Europe, Romania) co-rapporteur on the RRF, said: “When I first started working on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, I realised that answers will be found only through dialogue with citizens. That is why I launched 13 consultations in EU Member States. An ideal national Recovery and Resilience Plan should coherently reflect all good ideas. I plead for the Member States to do the same exercise. The European Parliament made sure that the Member States will run consultations with relevant stakeholders of the civil society, as well as local and regional authorities, when drafting and implementing the recovery and resilience plans.”
ECON-coordinator Juanjo Martinez (Ciudadanos, Spain) said: “We need establish the right mechanism so that Member States can participate correctly in the design and execution of recovery and resilience facilities.”
Gillian Coughlan (Fianna Fáil, Ireland) added: “Digital transition will be key. We need to emphasize job creation and sustainable growth through 2021. Regional parties need to be consulted on how money should be spent to achieve these priorities. We need digitalization to create jobs; so if there’s inadequate coverage of broadband, especially in rural areas, funding must trickle down to the ground, so that citizens see it being used effectively.”
Jeannette Baljeu (VVD, Netherlands), Regional Minister of Zuid-Holland, concluded: “My province makes sure that the recovery plan connects with our smart specialization strategy. We’ll work through smart specialization to get out of this crisis for a more prospective way for the future. This involves presenting ideas to the national plan, but we’ll have to wait now for the national elections in March 2021 to continue this process.”