THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses that local and regional authorities (LRAs) have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 crisis and its socio-economic consequences since the outbreak of the pandemic, both through their own policies and by implementing and enforcing decisions taken by national governments;
- notes that as can be seen from studies by the CoR, the EPC, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the CPMR, LRAs have been insufficiently involved in the preparation process of national recovery and resilience plans, and that the extent to which LRA input into the plans has been incorporated in most cases cannot be ascertained;
- also regrets that, in most Member States, preparing the NRRPs has been a top-down process, which carries the risk of centralising important public investment and has an impact on the ultimate success of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. This is at odds with the importance of multilevel governance, the principle of subsidiarity and the process of devolution that has taken place in many Member States in recent decades, not least with regard to the programmes under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF);
- considers that for a sound implementation of the NRRPs with regularly involved LRAs, a thorough reform of the European semester is necessary, not only in the light of the lessons learned from preparing the NRRPs, but also in order to make it a genuine tool for the EU's long-term objectives, be it in the context of Fit for 55, the digital transition, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, or to reach climate neutrality by 2050.