A total of 15 European Union (EU) member states have now submitted their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP) to access post-crisis Covid-19 funds, with 12 countries now remaining, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.
Announcing that Hungary was the 15th country to take this step, the European Commission said it “will continue to engage intensively with the remaining member states to help them deliver high-quality plans”.
At stake is the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRM), valued at €672.5 billion (at 2018 prices) and a central element of the “Next Generation EU”, the €750 billion fund approved by EU leaders in July 2020.
The RRM will make a total of €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans available to member states.
EU countries have to submit their RRPs to Brussels to access the mechanism, setting out their reform and investment programmes until 2026.
Portugal was the first EU member state to deliver the final version of the Recovery and Resilience Plan to the European Commission, providing a total of €16.6 billion, of which €13.9 billion are non-repayable grants.
The EU executive has two months to evaluate the plans, and the Council has one month. Still, the Portuguese presidency of the EU has already said that it is working to speed up approval, and so the first plans will have the ‘green light’ at the Ecofin Council (which brings together finance ministers) in June.
For this recovery fund to hit the ground running, it is necessary that all of the RRP’s are approved and that each country ratifies the decision on own resources, a step that allows the Commission to go to the markets to raise funding.
Currently, seven of the 27 Member States have not yet completed this own resources procedure, with Estonia having done so most recently, earlier this week.
After the approval of the RRPs in the Council, each member state is entitled to a pre-financing disbursement of 13%, but this is subject to the entry into force of the own resources decision.