In its communication “The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe”, the European Commission emphasised the importance of public investment for a balanced and sustainable recovery. More than 80 per cent of the funding from Next Generation EU will be used to support investment and reforms in the Member States.

The main instrument of recovery will be a new Recovery and Resilience Facility, specifically designed to fund investments and reforms aligned with European priorities. This instrument will be temporary and targeted solely and strictly at addressing the economic impact of the pandemic. It will be complemented by longer-term support under programmes such as InvestEU, cohesion policy and the single market programme.

Beyond the immediate crisis response, cohesion policy will be crucial for the European Commission to ensuring a balanced recovery in the longer term, avoiding asymmetries and divergences of growth between and within Member States. Therefore, the new cohesion policy programmes will be launched on 1 January 2021, in parallel with additional funds made available for the current programmes until the end of 2022.

According to the European Commission, cohesion policy will play an essential role in supporting a balanced and sustainable recovery through a new REACT-EU initiative to tackle the most pressing economic and social needs and to bridge the gap between first response measures and longer-term recovery.

Through REACT-EU, the Commission proposes to provide 55 billion euros of additional cohesion policy funding between now and 2022, 50 billion euros from Next Generation EU in 2021 and 2022 and 5 billion euros already in 2020 by adapting the current financial framework. Additional funding will be provided in 2020-2022 for the current cohesion programmes as well as the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, allowing funding for key crisis repair measures and support to the most deprived to continue without interruption.

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