MEPs and the German presidency struck a political deal on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the 670+bn programme through which most of the EU recovery money will be channelled. Renew MEPs made their mark on the regulation on three levels.
First, Renew MEPs shaped what the money will be spent on.
Dragoş Pîslaru, who officially negotiated for the European Parliament, convinced the three institutions to channel the funding towards six policy areas of European relevance. “We will recover only as a Union. This is why EU recovery money will go to EU priorities. The EU recovery won’t be a cash machine for national policies and domestic agendas,” he said.
Those six European policy areas are the green transition, digital, competitiveness, social cohesion, health and resilience, as well as policies for children and youth. Renew Europe delivered on its promise to have a distinct pillar dedicated to the Next Generation, ensuring that children and youth will be at the core of the EU recovery.
Second, Renew MEPs beefed up the climate ambition of the plan.
Pascal Canfin, chair of the Environment affairs committee said: “The agreement paves the way for the implementation of the first green recovery. It will enable us to accelerate the green transition by investing in solutions and technologies of the future.”
MEPs obtained an upgrade of the current tracking methodology based on the Taxonomy regulation. “We don’t want climate targets to just be set, we want them to be met. The agreement ensures that only investments truly favourable to the fight against climate change will be taken into account,” added Pascal Canfin.
MEPs also forced the Commission to come up with concrete guidelines to disqualify from recovery funding any projects that would significantly harm the environment. This was an amendment put in by Pascal Canfin in his opinion to the file.
Third, Renew MEPs made sure the recovery money will be traceable.
The Commission will set up a single database of final beneficiaries EU anti-fraud bodies will be able to access. Solid national anti-corruption systems and measures to avoid fraud, conflict of interest and double funding are in eligibility criteria. If they don’t have them, governments will not receive any money.
“This recovery plan fuelled by common borrowing is a historic opportunity. We don’t want fraudsters and kleptocrats to ruin it. We ought to get this right. We now have the means to do so,” said Luís Garicano, Renew Europe spokesperson for economic affairs and member of the EP negotiating team.
Today’s agreement ends a marathon of negotiations that started in July when EU leaders signed off a historic recovery plan funded by common borrowing.
“2020 started off with a dreadful pandemic that profoundly shook up Europeans. We wanted to end it with a touch of hope and a show of unity,” concluded Dragoş Pîslaru.
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