Written by Alessandro D’Alfonso.
Next Generation EU (NGEU) is the unprecedented instrument created by the European Union (EU) to help Member States recover from the socio-economic impact of the COVID‑19 crisis, while also addressing structural challenges such as the green and digital transition. Its main spending tool is the €723.8 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) that finances ambitious packages of reform and investment measures agreed in the Member States’ national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs). Given the RRF’s strong links with the European Semester, the EU’s economic governance coordination framework regularly takes stock of progress in RRF implementation.
Combined with additional data on payments received so far by Member States (30.6 % of the approved allocation on average) and the milestones and targets linked to those payments (11 % of the overall objectives under the plans), the documents in the 2023 European Semester spring package provide an overview of the state of play in the implementation of the RRF in individual Member States. According to the European Commission, the deployment of the RRF is broadly on track. Variations appear to be emerging across the EU, however, since on the basis of the country-specific recommendations and reports, Member States can be classified into four broad groups as regards implementation of their NRRPs: 1) well under way (in 9 Member States); 2) under way (14); 3) under way with significant delays (2); and 4) significantly delayed (2).
With 89 % of the milestones and targets still to be achieved, the years to 2026, the final year for the RRF, will be crucial for successful completion of the plans. Their ongoing revision, not least for the inclusion of new REPowerEU chapters on reinforced energy measures, may trigger delays in 2023, but it is also an opportunity to address current challenges, such as unexpectedly high inflation. As of 12 June 2023, only a quarter of Member States had submitted their REPowerEU chapters, which must be agreed and operational by the end of 2023 at the latest.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Recovery and resilience plans in the 2023 European Semester: Progress and country-specific recommendations‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.