Transport trends in national recovery and resilience plans

Briefing 27-10-2021

To address the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU has put in place an unprecedented temporary recovery instrument, Next Generation EU (NGEU). Its main spending tool is the Recovery and Resilience Facility, worth €723.8 billion (in current prices). While EU countries differ both in terms of their pre-Covid situations and Covid-related impacts, they can all seize the opportunity to kick-start their economies with this financial injection. To access funding under the facility, EU countries have had to prepare their recovery and resilience plans in line with a number of requirements, such as earmarking a certain minimum share for investment in the green and digital transitions. The plans have to be endorsed by the European Commission and approved by the Council. By 20 October 2021, 70 % of the plans had been approved. While governments are receiving their first allocations of funding and a full analysis is still out of reach, it has been possible to get an initial glimpse of the plans' contents. This briefing aims to give a flavour of the elements that EU countries want to take up to revive their transport and mobility systems. As all the projects financed have to be implemented by 2026, careful consideration has been needed to determine what is feasible and how it can fit in with long-term national greening efforts. Most governments want to invest in modern trains, clean vehicles and recharging infrastructure as well as improving public transport. While digitalisation is already significantly present across all transport modes, strategies for reducing car use and promoting active mobility are taking hold only gradually. While the planned reforms and investments combine many elements and vary considerably, their collective completion could bring a step change towards a clean and modern European transport.