Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments


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Cohesion policy

Recovery & resilience facility - 27.05.2021

3 takeaways from local and regional governments
The unprecedented Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the main instrument of the EU’s €672.5 billion recovery fund, represents a unique opportunity to overcome the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. But how can this historic sum ensure a real recovery of our economy? The answer is clear to us: national recovery and resilience plans will be effective only if they involve local and regional governments. 

However, according to a joint study carried by CEMR and the Committee of the Regions, most EU Member States are ignoring the local and regional level: “What we see at the national government level is that they understand the management of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to be a centralised one”, declared MEP Jan Olbrycht, during an online event organised by the European Parliament’s Urban Intergroup.

We do not want these Recovery and Resilience Plans to be a political tool in the hands of the government, but we want them to be done in a more inclusive and fair way,” stated MEP Siegfried Mureșan. This is why, “we encourage you (the representative of local and regional governments) to bring your concerns to the attention of the Parliament, we will do our best to defend your interests,” he added.

Beyond the crucial involvement of the local and regional level, CEMR put forward three main proposals to ensure a true recovery.

Recovery funds should not overlap or duplicate other EU funds

The involvement of local and regional governments is particularly important given that the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Fund will happen in parallel to the programming and implementation of the Cohesion Policy. While the Partnership Principle under cohesion policy ensures consistency between the various EU funds disbursed in a given country and region, the national post-Covid plans are not subject to this principle.

As the national recovery plans and Cohesion funds will not be managed by the same administration, it is of utmost importance that the Member States put in place a structured dialogue with local and regional governments to ensure that any EU fund disbursed at the on the ground is consistent with the overall development and investment priorities, and do not overlap or duplicate another EU fund,” declared Frédéric Vallier, CEMR Secretary general.

The recovery is an opportunity to reconnect the EU with citizens 

The recovery fund is a huge opportunity for the EU to reconnect with citizens by tackling issues important to them, such as sustainability and support for rural areas: “Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, introducing or modernising sustainable transport systems and supporting renewable energy could definitely ensure a sustainable recovery at the local and regional level,” stated Frédéric Vallier

The COVID crisis has demonstrated the need for accessible and affordable public services: healthcare, education and culture, for all and wherever you live. With the upcoming communication on a long-term vision for rural areas, the priority of the national recovery plans should also be to focus on the quality and accessibility of public services and infrastructure in remote and rural areas and ensure no one and no place is left behind. 

EU’s recovery could define a new and more collaborative way in EU governance

Commissioner Dombrovskis recently told the European Parliament that “the more successful we are in the implementation of this Recovery and Resilience Facility, the more scope there will be for discussions on having a permanent instrument, probably of a similar nature”.
 
Here we have an opportunity to provide feedback and key priorities for EU and Member States’ economic policies and investments from the local point of view. Whatever comes out of this crisis – be it a permanent borrowing instrument or a revised framework for the coordination of investment and reforms across the EU – we should strive to make the process more participatory, to better meet the needs and priorities of European territories and the citizens who live there. 
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