The European Parliament approved the regulation creating the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the main pillar of the European Union (EU) recovery package to deal with the socio-economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
In a vote on Tuesday night, the outcome of which was announced by the Assembly’s chairman, David Sassoli, at the beginning of today’s session in Brussels, the Mechanism received a favorable vote from 582 MEPs, 40 against and 69 abstentions.
With this approval by the European Parliament, the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism will come into force in the second half of this month.
Member States will then be able to begin officially submitting their national recovery and resilience plans to access funds, after being evaluated by the European Commission and adopted by the Council, currently under the Portuguese presidency.
Endowed with € 672.5 billion in grants and loans, the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism is the main element of the recovery package agreed in 2020 by the EU to face the social and economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the `NextGenerationEU`.
In Tuesday’s debate in the hemicycle that preceded the vote, the Portuguese presidency of the EU, through the voice of the Secretary of State for European Affairs, reiterated the importance of the recovery plan being implemented without delay.
Ana Paula Zacarias did not spare praise for the work done by the European institutions to guarantee this “unprecedented” response to the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, but she warned that “there is still a lot of work” and it is necessary to ensure that it does not suffer from any problems, given the urgency of the funds.
The Secretary of State began by stressing that the covid-19 crisis also “demonstrated that the EU institutions are up to the challenge”, noting that, together, the Commission, the Council, and Parliament “carried out an ambitious common instrument “, which” will help to heal the wounds “caused by the pandemic in society.
“Now, a new journey begins, which Parliament, the Council, the Commission will do together with each Member State, towards stronger, greener, fairer, more competitive and digital societies,” she said.
Ana Paula Zacarias warned, however, that much work remains.
“National parliaments must continue the process of ratifying the own resources decision – which will allow the Commission to go to the markets on behalf of the 27 to finance the recovery package – Member States must present their national plans as soon as possible, and we must all contribute to guarantee its quality, without delaying the process “, he affirmed.
Eight EU Member States have yet to submit their national recovery and resilience plans to the European Commission to access the post-crisis community funds of covid-19, while 19 countries have already done so, including Portugal.
Questioned by the Lusa agency, the official source of the community executive said, without specifying, that, until Tuesday, the Commission had received draft plans or a large number of components from 19 EU member states.
This means that eight other Member States still need to take this necessary step to advance in the Recovery Fund.
Already a source linked to the process, he told Lusa that these eight countries are Luxembourg, Holland, Ireland, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Malta, and Estonia.
Drafts of national recovery and resilience plans have already arrived in Brussels from Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Slovakia, Cyprus, Finland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Belgium, and Latvia.
Also according to information transmitted to Lusa by an official source of the institution, six EU Member States have already ratified the decision on their own resources, an indispensable step that must be taken by all the parliaments of the 27 Member States to the European Commission goes to the markets to raise the 750 billion euros that will finance the recovery fund.