European countries can submit their national recovery plans today to claim billions of EU money. Until the last minute, the Commission has received plans. There is EUR 800 billion to be distributed, but in order to obtain the money, countries need to reform.
This week, among others, Germany, France and Greece submitted their plans. Portugal did this a week earlier. The pile of recovery plans is getting even bigger today. Only the plan of the Netherlands is waiting. The Cabinet has told us to wait for the formation before it submits a plan.
The main priorities are sustainability and digitisation. The Commission noted that at least 37% of the billions should be spent on sustainability. In addition, 20% of the money should be used for digitisation and innovation.
Partly at the insistence of the Netherlands, the motto is: for what needs what. Countries can submit ambitious plans, such as building wind farms or setting up a 5G network, but it also needs to indicate the reforms it will implement to boost the economy or reduce public debt.
Among other things, Greece intends to digitise and link public authorities. For example, in future it must be impossible to own a house without the Greek tax authorities being aware of it.
So far, five countries have officially submitted a plan. Countries such as Spain and Italy have also spoken about their recovery plan, but have not yet sent it to the Commission. Both countries can claim almost €70 billion each.
All plans must be drawn up accurately. Thats how we have to figure out what the costs are. Interim objectives of the reforms must be laid down on paper. It is therefore not surprising that the plan of Greece, for example, has more than 4000 pages.
Commission officials will therefore have a great deal of work ahead of them in the coming months. First, the Commission assesses whether the plans are cutting wood, then an opinion is sent to the Member States. It is ultimately up to the finance ministers of the EU countries whether a plan is finally adopted.
In the green light, a country can claim billions from the aid fund. But even then, it will have to continue to show that the reforms are actually being implemented. Even then, the other EU countries can pull the emergency brake. Only when a majority of EU countries consider the reforms to be good enough will a country receive the first instalment of subsidies.
In the coming months it will be clear which recovery plans will be achieved and which will be rejected. If you want to know how the EU wants to pay for all this, read this article.