18 December 2020
On Friday, negotiators from the European Parliament’s Committees on Budget (BUDG) and Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and the EU Council agreed on the final framework for the European Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The RRF outlines the rules and objectives for accessing the € 672 billion of funding, the largest European Covid-19 pandemic recovery tool to date.
ECR Shadow Rapporteur Roberts Zīle welcomes the agreement reached, despite his initial concerns with the parliamentary majority over additional centralised financial measures. In particular, Zīle disagreed with the minimum earmarking of a significant proportion of sectors. The earmarking scheme was one of a number of EP demands that were not approved in the final negotiations.
Speaking after the negotiations, Mr. Zīle stated:
“The Council’s position has been more favourable to Member States than the overly restrictive regulations set by the European Parliament. In fact, during the nine long negotiations that ended tonight, most of the proposals made by the Parliament that would have restricted the further mobilisation of important funding, did not receive support. Parliament aimed to intervene in the assessment of the recovery plans submitted by the Member States. It also sought to fragment the planned funding into a series of mandatory and earmarked investments that would prevent Member States from tackling individual problems in their sectors as effectively and quickly as possible. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group and myself were opposed to such an approach from the very beginning. I am pleased that the Council managed to oppose it during the negotiations.”
Zīle highlighted the addition of a pre-financing amount included in the agreement, totalling 13% of the national allocation, with which Member States will be able to apply for more quickly, as a benefit: “Although this money will be subject to national plans, the 10% pre-financing as proposed by the Council and the European Parliaments’ negotiators was able to be increased to 13%, allowing countries to obtain necessary funding for investment and reform more quickly.”
“Although the RRF, like the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), will have to have a green and digital label, it must also promote jobs, competitiveness, science, innovation, territorial cohesion, education, future generations and tackle other significant challenges of our time”, Zīle added.
Even though the formal approval procedure for the agreement is still pending at European Parliament and Council level, according to Zīle, this process can happen more quickly than expected.
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