On Wednesday 27 May, during an exceptional plenary setting of the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, presented the proposals for the EU post-COVID-19 recovery. Three months after the beginning of the outbreak in Europe, those proposals have kick-started the discussions on the recovery path to be followed by the EU and its 27 Member States.
Coming on top of the already agreed European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), the ESM Pandemic Crisis Support, the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and the EIB guarantees, the plan of the European Commission relies on a dedicated recovery instrument, the Next Generation EU, a proposal for an updated Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and an adapted Commission Work Programme for 2020.
Whilst welcoming the intent of the European Commission to put forward a proposal for an EU recovery aimed at balancing burden-sharing, solidarity and sovereignty across the EU, we now call on the EU institutions – European Council and European Parliament – to agree on a recovery strategy which will fix the damages caused by the COVID-19 outbreak whilst preparing for the future. A particular attention must be brought on finding the right balance between grants and loans, as well as the short and long-term perspectives. However, first and foremost, the EU should address the most urgent priorities.
Aimed at supporting the EU recovery, the Next Generation EU will now serve as a negotiating starting point for the European Council, which will need the unanimous support of the 27 Member States to become a reality, as well as the approval of the European Parliament. Relying on grants loans to Member States, the proposal is an exceptional measure, and does not involve the mutualisation of pre-existing debts. The European Semester, which includes CEEP and the Social partners in the process, must be at the heart of the implementation to ensure the proper usage of the funds.
With its focus on priorities for building a forward-looking EU model, the EU recovery will have to put the green and digital twin transitions at the centre of the new EU growth strategy, embracing a resource-efficient, sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Preparing the future, and ensuring the central place of the EU in the new geopolitical order, should be the main focus.
Central in providing the direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our members, representing employers and providers of services of general interest at the frontline of the crisis, should be placed at the very heart of the recovery and the future of the EU project.
Together with the boards and task forces, CEEP will proceed to the in-depth analysis of the package of proposals, which will be further discussed by the European Council on 18-19 June 2020, and will focus on ensuring that the voice of employers and providers of services of general interest are taken into account in the relaunch of the EU.