2 March 2022

Created in February 2021, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is the main feature of Next Generation EU, and the EU Commission launched the first report analysing the situation of it.  

This document details the necessary steps that have been accomplished and implemented so far. It provides an overview of the current state of implementation following the set objectives when it comes to climate and digitalisation measures by 2026. 

From preparation towards implementation 

Following the preparation phase in April 2021, 22 out of 26 EU-member states that have submitted their Recovery and Resilience plan (RRP), have also been approved.  

After being positively assessed by the European Council, operational arrangements were made. These measures cover major aspects of the concrete implementation of each national RRP and allow for: 

  • Regular exchanges between the European Council and the member states; 
  • At least an annual event to discuss the implementation of the RRP and ensure close cooperation between all parties involved; 
  • Clarify the plan for each set milestone and objective; 
  • When necessary, introduce monitoring to ensure the goals of the RRP are met. 

To date, eight operational arrangements have been concluded (Spain, France, Slovakia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Latvia). It is only after this step has been concluded that funds can follow suite. 

The engine for financing the post COVID-19 Europe 

The Commission has been able to fund all planned payments and requests. To date, 66.6 billion euros have been disbursed to 21 Member States. In this way, supporting those still dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic: 

  • The 22 RRPs approved alone allocate 291 billion euros in non-repayable financing and 154 billion euros in loans
  • Pre-financing payment and loans have been requested by 21 members states in the amount of 56.6 billion euros
  • 5 of these member states (Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal) have submitted a request for payment
  • So far, 1 payment (Spain) has been approved and credited of 10 billion euros. 

The six pillars: developments and transitions 

The reforms and investments included in each of the national RRPs must reach targets for climate and digital expenditure and contribute appropriately to the six pillars or of European relevance. So far, the total estimated contribution of all Member States in funds is divided as followed, with the biggest designated to Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth; Green Transition; and Social and Territorial Cohesion

Belgian measures accomplished and implemented

Funding of 140 national reform and investments projects

The national RRP is based on the six pillars and will be supported by the facility through funding of 5.9 billion euros. The plan includes a total of 140 reform and investment projects.

  • 50% of the total budget of the reform and investment plan contributes to the climate transition
  • 27% of the total budget for reforms and investments supports the digital transition
  • Key measures to strengthen Belgium’s economic and social resilience

Considering the different political policies, significant advance has been noticed in Belgium’s action to measures within green transition; digital transformation; social and territorial cohesion; and health, economic, social and institutional resilience.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

Belgium’s plan will help achieve the EU’s targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Energy efficiency, circular economy and waste management only account for part of the measures within this theme:

  • Stimulate energy efficient renovations of buildings with a total support of over 1 billion euros. The wave of renovation will concern more than 200,000 private and social housing units and will cover more than one million m² of public buildings. The idea is t o address energy poverty and meet the set climate objectives.
  • On circular economy and waste management, investments related to both short-term actions and R&D activities are included. Mainly the support of the minimisation of radioactive waste generated during the decommissioning of the Belgian nuclear power plants through the demonstration of decontamination techniques.

Access of cultural heritage through digitalisation

Belgium supports the transformation with different measures including:

  • Research and development in digital technologies
  • Investments in digital capacities
  • Deployment of advanced technologies

With Belgium allocating 7% more funds than the required minimum by the EU, the innovative development in the RRP is the digitalisation of the cultural and media sectors. Significant investments will equip cultural and media operators with technological tools for evolving and support, and promote major cultural institutions’ digital transformation. The goal is increasing the accessibility of cultural heritage.

A growing bicycle road network

Within this pillar, the diverse measures supporting social and territorial cohesion will improve the use of natural resources and preserve the environment at local level.

Considering Belgium’s infrastructure, its RRP includes investments to encourage the construction of bike paths in state roads. This will support access to a more coherent bicycle road network for citizens and the tourism sector and thereby better opportunities to choose the bicycle rather than other modes of transport.

Developing the health of the next generation

Focussing on the pillar including health, economic, social and institutional resilience, the Belgian plan includes two major developments:

  • A commitment towards improving the national health system: investments in nuclear medicine initiatives
  • The ambition to improve the efficiency of public finances: measures to make public spending more efficient and sustainable

To contribute and improve the quality of life for the next generations to come.

FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to accompany you on the new NextGenerationEU path. Our experts are at your disposal to analyse how your project fits into NextGenerationEU and to take the next steps together with you. Contact us.

Yvette Poumpalova

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