EU states dedicate €150 billion of recovery funds to social spending

Shop windows closed with rolling grills are seen in the pedestrian zone of the city centre of Cologne, Germany, in January 2021. [EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH]

EU governments will spend around €150 billion of the recovery fund on social policy, with half of this money allocated to education and health, according to European Commission’s preliminary figures.

The Commission’s analysis of the 25 recovery plans submitted by member states to date show that around 30% of their total expenditure will be directed towards social policy, EU officials said.

Bulgaria and The Netherlands still have to send their recovery proposals.

The preliminary analysis indicated that around 28% of the €150 billion will go to healthcare, 25% to education, 12% to adult learning and skills, 12% to social housing and 7% to employment, among other initiatives. 

This immense boost aims to support the Commission’s longstanding reform and investment demands of national capitals on labour market, education and social protection reforms. 

Around 40% of the country specific recommendations issued by the EU executive to the 27 national governments in 2019 and 2020 were related to employment, skills and social policies.

According to EU officials, the Commission is satisfied with the coverage of these policy areas seen in the recovery plans already submitted. 


Social expenditure under the Recovery and Resilience Facility will become public thanks to a new methodology that the Commission is expected to publish in November in a delegated act. 

Dedicating a sizeable amount of resources to the social agenda was a key demand among some political groups in the European Parliament. In order to keep track of this envelope, and ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the recovery fund, the instrument will include a recovery and resilience scoreboard.

The delegated act will define the indicators of the scoreboard that will help member states and the Parliament to measure the performance of the Recovery and Resilience Facility towards its objectives.

Europe leaves austerity behind with job-driven recovery

National recovery plans are expected to create at least 800,000 jobs by 2022 in the EU, thanks to additional public and private investment and planned reforms in member states, according to the European Commission.


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The World Employment Confederation-Europe is the voice of the private employment services industry at the European level and the recognised, EU sectoral social partner for temporary agency work. The World Employment Confederation-Europe works to broaden recognition of the positive economic and social role which the employment and recruitment industry plays in enabling work, adaptation, security and prosperity.

Recovery, reform and resilience - A Manifesto for more inclusive and agile labour markets in the context of Covid-19

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