Two years after launching, the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery fund has not quite taken off: sixteen of the twenty-seven partners have still not received any formal payment for undertaking the planned reforms and investments and nine of them have not even occasionally requested it .
Of the €144 billion in grants and loans that the European Commission has disbursed so far, including €56.5 billion in advances, more than two-thirds have gone to Spain (22% of the total) and Italy (46%), the most advanced countries. in the implementation of their recovery plans and also those with more money allocated, says EFE.
Although Brussels has already approved the investment and reform plans presented by all the partners to use their part of the cases, the advance of their project to which they are automatically entitled to receive the green light for their plan.
“The priority has to be the rapid implementation of the recovery and resilience plans. The funds”, insisted the economic vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, in the last debate with the European Parliament on the execution of the fund.
Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Croatia, in the lead
Germany, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Hungary have not yet requested any formal disbursement from the fund, something that governments can do twice a year when they consider that they have met the milestones and objectives linked to the tranche of help.
Austria Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
On the opposite side are Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Croatia, which lead the execution of the recovery plans and have already obtained two disbursements -Madrid and Rome have already requested the third-, while the rest -France, Bulgaria , Cyprus, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia – have received a first formal payment.
To date, only 8% of the almost 6,000 milestones and objectives agreed upon by the Twenty-seven have been met, despite the fact that half of them should have been completed by the end of 2023, and close to 30% of the allocated money has been disbursed .
In this situation, the Commission has called on governments in recent months to speed up the implementation of recovery plans and has reminded them that the doors are open to see how the process can be improved, especially as a result of the relaxation of the rules to allow the financial fund the Repower EU strategy to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
The Community Executive recognizes that global instability, problems in supply chains, the energy crisis and inflation “are overloading national authorities, sometimes making it difficult to implement” the planes, but defends that this context does even more ” crucial” to execute them successfully.
In a report on the two years of life of the fund, he calls for continuing to strengthen the capacity of public administrations to implement the plans, as well as taking advantage of the fact that it will be necessary to update them to detect “bottlenecks” in reforms and investments and promote the expansion of those already underway, in order to “avoid implementation delays” and ensure coherence between payments and operations to attract funding from the fund in the markets.
With many failing to meet targets for a first disbursement, states now have to update their plans to include new measures to reduce energy dependency on Moscow and speed up the green transition, and must notify Brussels by March 31 whether to This will request part of the 225,000 million in loans that are still available from the recovery fund.
All in all, the Commission defends that the fund is “on solid footing”, that the advances given when approving the planes were “quick” and “direct” support that helped start the recovery; and that there are already “visible” results in terms of reforms and investments.
This 2023, they say, will be decisive since the highest volume of payments and a peak in the implementation of reforms are expected. Brussels calculates that at the end of the year investment in the EU will have suspected four tenths compared to 2019, up to 3.4% of GDP, and that half of the increase will be due to the fund.