The EU Recovery funds, made available through Next Generation EU, will be a fundamental part of ensuring Europe’s economic reboot following the COVID-19 pandemic. Used correctly, these will help reinforce European competitiveness and ensure sustainable growth and economic renewal, by accelerating the essential green and digital transitions.
This is why Nordic-Baltic business confederations believe that it is essential that Next Generation EU funds are dedicated to long-term investments, rather than to filling budgetary gaps. Funds used in one Member State should reinforce and strengthen the EU Single Market. It is also crucial to ensure transparency on how the funds are being distributed through Next Generation EU.
Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists President Vidmantas Janulevičius said:
“The Joint Statement accurately reflects what we see as key principles for the operation of the Recovery fund – the funds must be invested in areas that could boost competitiveness and accelerate green and digital transition. For that we also need a very close engagement of social partners in all stages of the process.
Lithuania’s expectations for recovery and economic growth are closely linked to the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility: 2.62 billion EUR in grants and up to 3 billion EUR in loans. LPK is taking efforts to actively engage in this important process to make sure the funds are correctly used. Close monitoring and follow-up will be the next necessary step, as rightly pointed by the Joint Declaration.”
To ensure that the considerable resources available through Next Generation EU fully contribute to sustainable growth and job creation, Nordic-Baltic business suggests that the European Commission establishes a Recovery Scoreboard. This will help follow up on the distribution and the use of funds, as well as providing a route for disseminating best practice from those countries where the funds are being used.
Having determined the principle criteria for allocating Recovery Fund resources, with a clear focus on competitiveness, job creation and the green and digital transition, we urge the European Commission to:
- Monitor closely that Member States meet the required objectives and follow up accordingly.
- Ensure that national measures are reported and separately recorded in national budgets, in order to ensure full transparency.
- Define quantifiable goals for an EU Recovery Scoreboard.
- Make the Scoreboard – continuously updated – publicly available.
- Incorporate the Scoreboard into the European Semester and the European Commission’s regular reviews.
Nordic-Baltic business supports the overall goals for Next Generation EU aimed at strengthening European competitiveness and ensuring sustainable growth and jobs. However, to achieve these goals, the European Commission should ensure that:
- Next Generation EU funding does not distort competition, either between private companies or between private companies and public actors.
- Public procurement processes in all Member States are fully transparent and open to all European companies.
- The measures comply with State Aid regulations on climate, energy and the environment, following the ongoing review.
EU Member States should, within their national recovery plans, demonstrate that these criteria are being met. To increase efficiency, it is also crucial to minimise the cost and impact of red tape and administrative burden.
With stimulus programmes being launched on both national and on EU level, Nordic-Baltic businesses stand ready to kickstart the recovery and contribute to sustainable growth and job creation for a prosperous future for all.