Coronavirus response: Commission encourages Member States to use REACT-EU resources

© European Union, 2020, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service© European Union, 2020, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service

In letters to EU Ministers responsible for Cohesion policy, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, and Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, clarified how Member States can make use of the REACT-EU fund. The fund is part of NextGenerationEU and will focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SME’s and low-income families, as well as laying down future-proof foundations for the digital and green transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery. EU Heads of State or Government agreed on allocating it a budget of €47.5 billion at the European Council Summit of 17-21 July. This agreement is not the end of legislative process, but in order to ensure a speedy recovery in light of the coronavirus crisis, it is important Member States proceed with a swift programming of resources. Commissioner Ferreira said: “The resources under REACT-EU will be of crucial importance over the coming 3 years for the recovery of the economy hit by the effects of the coronavirus crisis. Our advice to Member States is to use this opportunity most effectively and efficiently to build a solid, green, digital and cohesive recovery.”  Commissioner Schmit added: “REACT-EU will be a major resource in tackling challenges related to jobs and social inclusion following this unprecedented time of upheaval. The Commission stands ready to support Member States in maximising its added value.” For a rapid deployment of REACT-EU, Member States should follow the Commission’s recommendations provided in the letters: target the geographic areas whose economy has been hit the hardest by the pandemic and that are the least resilient; take into account European Semester country-specific recommendations; and respect the partnership principle. REACT-EU resources should also be mobilised towards projects that support EU’s climate ambition. Projects should also both address the consequences of the pandemic and facilitate the transition towards a green and digital economy and societies that are more resilient. The letters are available here.