This year’s edition of the European Parliamentary week, a yearly meeting of MEPs and national MPs, finished on Wednesday with the Conference on the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
Opening the meeting, Johan van Overtveldt (ECR, BE), Budget Committee Chair and co-chair of Parliament’s Recovery and Resilience Working Group, said that the Ukrainian crisis has worsened the EU’s economic outlook and introduced numerous new challenges, including inflation and distorted supply chains. He called for Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) tools to be used efficiently and in a coordinated manner.
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Chair Irene Tinagli (S&D, IT), who is also a co-chair of the RRF working group, said the EU needs a common strategy to face the economic and social consequences of the crisis. Parliament contributed to the design of the RRF and it welcomes the results it has delivered. She highlighted the need for EU energy self-sufficiency and to tackle the extraordinary impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Representatives from the French Senate and the French Assembly underlined the need for collective action and for pooling EU resources, and they called for large digital companies benefiting from the EU single market to pay their share, a contribution that would boost the EU’s own resources funding.
Speaking at the conference, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the RRF constituted a coordinated, rapid and bold response to the crisis and resulted in an EU economic recovery and low unemployment. The Russian invasion together with surging energy prices and broken supply chains requires the right decisions in the future and for lessons to be learned from recent crises, he said, adding: “The first lesson being that rules are vital for the EU and the Eurozone to function, but all rules need human intelligence in their application. We should ensure the reduction of deficits and debts but in a politically and socially sustainable way, and taking into account the present situation.”. Prime Minister Costa also called for a common stabilisation instrument in response to global crises, including some permanent tools that would allow the EU to take action in a timely manner in order to preserve stability.
The EP’s three co-rapporteurs for the RRF - Siegfried MUREŞAN (EPP, RO), Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL (S&D, ES) and Dragoș PÎSLARU (Renew, RO) - said member states have to be better connected to respond together and to better read the global situation and looming threats to be able to respond correctly and quickly. There are many lessons that can be applied for the future, they agreed, including for a well-coordinated system and resources to help refugees, and a system to control energy prices and dependency. Finally, the MEPs reiterated the EP’s major contribution to the RRF’s design, which could be used in the future for creating a permanent funding structure. The co-rapporteurs also proposed use of any available resources such as unclaimed RRF loans to alleviate the impact of the current crisis.
In her contribution to the conference Céline Gauer, the Head of the Recovery and Resilience Task Force (RECOVER) at the European Commission, listed off the most important lessons to date of the RRF’s implementation. It works well in stimulating a recovery, she said, but it is also a very effective and agile resilience tool, which could be immediately employed in future crises. She added that a strong ownership ensured that member states chose their own reforms, addressing their particular needs. She also praised Parliament for pushing transparency and communication around the RFF, which resulted in better understanding and engagement with it.
During the exchange of views between MEPs and national MPs, the discussion focused on a permanent RRF-like mechanism that could be ready for future crises. Amid the war in Ukraine, MEPs underlined the importance of energy and digital independence, as well as resilience in Europe’s health and defence sectors. MEPs called for more cross border projects in the field of energy and social policies, and for a transparent list of beneficiaries of RRF funding.
- You can watch the first session here.
- You can watch the second session here.
- You can watch the press webminar on the Recovery and Resilience Facility - Lessons learnt so far, here.