EC Recommends That EU States Focus Recovery Investments on Green Transition
Date: May 28th 2020
Author: Tanja Srnovršnik
The European Commission proposed country-specific recommendations (CSRs) on 20 May which provide economic policy guidance to all EU member states in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations focus on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth. “Recovery and investment must go hand-in-hand, thus reshaping the EU economy faced with the digital and green transitions,” stressed the Commission in its recommendations.The Commission’s recommendations are structured around two objectives: in the short-term, mitigating the severe negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic; and in the short to medium-term, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth which facilitates the green transition and the digital transformation.
One of the Commission’s recommendations for Bulgaria is to “streamline and accelerate the procedures to provide effective support to small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed, also ensuring their continued access to finance and flexible payment arrangements. Mature public investment projects should be front-loaded and private investment should be promoted to foster the economic recovery. Investment should be focused on the green and digital transitions, in particular on clean and efficient production and use of energy and resources, environmental infrastructure and sustainable transport, contributing to the progressive decarbonisation of the economy, including in the coal regions.”
The Commission recommends that Croatia maintains “measures to provide liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed. It should also further reduce parafiscal charges and restrictions in goods and services market regulation. Mature public investment projects should be front-loaded and private investment should be promoted to foster the economic recovery. Investment should be focused on the green and digital transitions, in particular on environmental infrastructure, sustainable urban and rail transport, clean and efficient production and use of energy and high-speed broadband.”
Romania should “ensure liquidity support to the economy benefitting businesses and households, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed. Mature public investment projects should be front-loaded and private investment should be promoted to foster the economic recovery. Investment should focus on the green and digital transitions, in particular on sustainable transport, digital service infrastructure, clean and efficient production and use of energy and environmental infrastructure, including in the coal regions,” recommends the Commission.
For Slovenia the Commission recommends that it continues “to swiftly implement measures to provide liquidity and financing to businesses and households and reduce the administrative burden. Mature public investment projects should be front-loaded and private investment should be promoted to support the economic recovery. Investment should be focused on the green and digital transitions, in particular on clean and efficient production and use of energy, environmental infrastructure, sustainable transport, research and innovation and on the rollout of the 5G network. Digital capacities of businesses should be promoted, while digital skills, e-Commerce and e- Health should be strengthened.”
Coordinated response crucial
“A coordinated European economic response is crucial to relaunch economic activity, mitigate damage to the economic and social fabric, and to reduce divergences and imbalances. The European Semester of economic and employment policy coordination therefore constitutes a crucial element of the recovery strategy,” noted the Commission.
Against this background, the Commission calls on the Council to adopt its country-specific recommendations and on member states to implement them fully and in a timely manner.
“The coronavirus has hit us like an asteroid and left a crater-shaped hole in the European economy. This spring semester package has been recast and streamlined to provide guidance to our member states as they navigate their way through the storm. For this immediate phase, our focus is on investing in public health and protecting jobs and companies. As we shift to the recovery, the Semester will be essential in providing a coordinated approach to put our economies back on track to sustainable and inclusive growth - no one should be left behind. We also need reforms to improve productivity and the business environment. Once conditions allow, we will need to strike a balance between achieving fiscal sustainability while also stimulating investment,” commented Valdis Dombrovskis, the Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People.
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