EU Cohesion policy: €2.7 billion to support the recovery in Spain, Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Germany

The Commission has approved the modification of six Operational Programmes (OP) for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) in Spain, Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Germany under REACT-EU for a total of €2.7 billion. In Italy, €1 billion are added to the ERDF-ESF National Operational Programme for Metropolitan Cities. These resources aim to strengthen the green and digital transition as well as the resilience of metropolitan cities. €80 million are also earmarked to strengthen the social system in metropolitan cities. In Hungary, the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme (EDIOP) receives additional resources of €881 million. This money will be used for an interest-free working capital loan instrument to support more than 8,000 SMEs and support a wage subsidy scheme for workers in enterprises affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures. In Spain, the ERDF Operational Programme for the Canary Islands will receive an additional amount of €402 million for protection equipment and infrastructure for health, including COVID-19 related R&D projects. The allocations also support the transition to a green and digital economy, including sustainable tourism. Almost 7,000 SMEs mainly from the tourism sector will receive support to overcome the financial difficulties triggered by the crisis of COVID-19. The region will also dedicate a significant part of the resources to social and emergency service infrastructure. In the region of Galicia, €305 million thanks to REACT-EU top up the ERDF Operational Programme. This allocation has been earmarked for products and services for health, the transition to a digital economy including digitalisation of the administration and of SMEs. They also support ‘green’ projects like R&D in forestry, bio-waste chain, urban mobility, intermodal transport, as well as fire prevention and renovation of health centres and schools. In Bulgaria, the ERDF OP “Competitiveness and Innovation” receives additional €120 million. These resources will be used for working capital support for SMEs. It is estimated that some 2,600 SMEs should benefit from the support. In Germany, the region of Brandenburg will receive additional €30 million for its ERDF Operational Programme to support the tourism sector and the SMEs hit by the coronavirus pandemic and for digitalisation measures in cultural institutions and chambers of crafts. REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6 billion additional funding (in current prices) over the course of 2021 and 2022 to Cohesion policy programmes.