Eight EU countries have not yet submitted recovery plans to Brussels

European leaders at the start of the roundtable during the European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium, 12 December 2019. [EPA-EFE/Yves Herman]

Eight EU member states have yet to submit their national recovery and resilience plans to the European Commission to access EU post-crisis funds for COVID-19, while 19 countries have already done so, including Portugal.

Asked on Tuesday by EURACTIV’s media partner Lusa.pt, an official source of the EU executive said, without specifying, that “so far, the Commission has received draft plans or many components from 19 EU member states”.

This means that a further eight member states’ submissions are missing from the EU’s Recovery Fund.

A source linked to the process told Lusa that these eight countries are Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Malta and Estonia.

Brussels has received drafts of the national recovery and resilience plans from Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Slovakia, Cyprus, Finland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Belgium and Latvia.

Without specifying, the European Commission’s official source said that the institution is in “intensive dialogue with all member states on the preparation of their recovery and resilience plans, which set out their national reform and investment agendas”.

“All member states have been encouraged to submit their draft plans as soon as possible”, the official source told Lusa.

The source also said that this preparatory work aims to “facilitate rapid decision-making at the formal approval stage”.

And admitted that despite “good progress in this field, there is still a lot of work ahead”.

Furthermore, according to the information given to Lusa, six EU countries have ratified the own resources decision, an indispensable step that has to be taken by all parliaments of the 27 member states for the European Commission to go to the markets to raise the €750 billion that will finance the recovery fund.

These countries, in addition to Portugal, are Croatia, Cyprus, Slovenia, France and Bulgaria.

The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU reiterated on Tuesday the importance of the recovery plan being implemented without delay, on the day when the European Parliament votes on the central element of the package, the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.

Invited to participate in a debate in the European Parliament on the adoption of the Recovery Mechanism Regulation, Portugal’s Secretary of State for European affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, representing the Council of the EU, praised the work done by the European institutions to bring about this ‘unprecedented’ response to the crisis caused by the pandemic.

However, she warned that ‘there is still a lot of work to be done’ and it is necessary to ensure that it is not disrupted, given the urgency of the funds.

With €672.5 billion in grants and loans, the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism is the main component of the recovery package agreed by the EU in 2020, the ‘NextGenerationEU’,  to tackle the social and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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