Recovery and Resilience Facility: Commission adopts ‘do no significant harm’ technical guidance to protect the environment

© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service

The European Commission has today presented its guidance on the implementation of ‘do no significant harm’ in the context of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The RRF, the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU, will make €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments in Member States. This guidance aims to support Member States in ensuring that all investments and reforms they propose to be financed by the RRF do no significant harm to the EU’s environmental objectives, within the meaning set out in the Taxonomy Regulation. It outlines key principles and a two-step methodology for the assessment of ‘do no significant harm’ in the context of the RRF as a way to facilitate the work of Member States in the preparation of their recovery and resilience plans. Respecting the ‘do no significant harm’ principle is a precondition for the endorsement of the plans by the Commission and the Council that is set in the RRF Regulation. Commission staff are working closely with Member States’ authorities to ensure that this will be a smooth and swift process, leading up to the presentation of the plans. Facilitating the green transition is a key objective of the RRF. The ‘do no significant harm’ provisions are a crucial tool for this alongside the requirement that a minimum of 37% of expenditure on investments and reforms contained in each national recovery and resilience plan should support climate objectives. The presentation of this guidance follows the European Parliament’s approval of Recovery and Resilience Facility earlier this week. President Ursula von der Leyen participated in a signature ceremony and press conference this morning alongside European Parliament President David Sassoli and Prime Minister António Costa for the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU to mark the approval by the European Parliament and the Council of the RRF Regulation. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I would like to congratulate the Council and the Parliament for the final adoption now of the regulation. This is indeed a very historic moment. We are fighting this pandemic and the severe health crisis with the vaccines. The vaccines are our ally and hope. But we should never forget the second enormous crisis we have, this is the economic crisis. And there, our ally and our hope is NextGenerationEU. €750 billion to support our citizens to keep their jobs, to support companies to stay in business, and to support communities to maintain their social fabric. No Member State on its own would have been able to master this economic crisis just on its own and alone.” The full statement of President Ursula von der Leyen is available here. The guidance and accompanying annexes are available online.