Ministers exchanged views with the Commission concerning Europe’s recovery post COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on the repair, recovery and resilience needs. They also discussed the basic structure of the recovery plan for Europe.
The Recovery Plan presented on 27 May identified significant investment needs in the EU which the Commission proposes to tackle with a series of measures aimed at leveraging an estimated €3.1 trillion.
Ministers highlighted the importance of using funds to ensure a sustainable recovery and achieve common policy objectives such as a green and digital transition. They discussed the relation of the European Semester with the Recovery Plan, as well as the assessment of national investment and reform needs: they stressed the need to ensure maximum impact, minimise administrative burden and avoid duplications. Ministers also addressed issues related to the overall size of the recovery instrument, the nature and allocation criteria of the funds or the governance framework.
The Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European investment bank (EIB) gave an overview of the implementation of the measures taken so far.
Finance ministers took stock of the preparations of country-specific recommendations for this year's European Semester exercise.
The recommendations provide policy guidance tailored to each EU member state on how to boost jobs and growth, while maintaining sound public finances.
Given the severe deterioration of the economic situation in all member states due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the activation of flexibility measures in the Stability and Growth Pact in March 2020, this year's recommendations focus on five broad priority areas:
-investment in health care systems,
-preservation of employment and addressing the social impact of the crisis,
-research and development, ensuring liquidity provisions and
-stability of the financial sector, and preserving the single market and the circulation of goods and services.
The Council will formally adopt the recommendations as soon as the European Council has endorsed them, most likely in July.