On 21 February 2023, the European Commission adopted a Communication marking the two-year anniversary of the creation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), and taking stock of its implementation so far.
In response, the President of the CoR, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the rapporteur on the RRF, Rob Jonkman, jointly called on the European Commission to finally investigate the effective contribution of the RRF to cohesion in Europe and the added value of the financed projects.
The President of the CoR, Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES), said: "Two years ago, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, European solidarity prevailed as we adopted a historical recovery plan. With the green and digital transformations as objectives, its success relies on a good articulation with cohesion policy in order to strengthen the social, economic and territorial cohesion and to ensure that no region is left behind. Bearing in mind the challenges Europe faces today, we need a coordinated approach at EU level supporting ambitious investments to deliver strong and fair solutions for citizens in all cities and regions."
Rob Jonkman (NL/EPP), alderman of the municipality of Opsterland and CoR rapporteur on the implementation of the RRF, stated: "As the European Committee of the Regions has reiterated on recent occasions, local and regional authorities have important legal competences in many Member States across the six pillars of the RRF, especially the implementation of the green transitions, and digital transformation to economic and territorial cohesion and competitiveness. Take for example, climate adaptation works, major infrastructure projects towards sustainable urban mobility and green public procurement all affect local and regional authorities' plans. Cities and regions' involvement in the further implementation of this time-limited, once in a generation Recovery Plan is therefore not only a matter of logic and fairness, but also necessary for the RRF to truly achieve its stated objectives and avoid an absorption problem. As such, local and regional authorities should be recognised and treated as partners, not so-called 'stakeholders', as the language of this Communication uses again. We need more partnership and multi-level cooperation and less centralisation. Moreover, the financing potential that remains represents a good opportunity for member states which could access affordable loans. We call for the support of the European Parliament in particular, in ensuring more transparency and parliamentary control for the accessing of RRF funds by local and regional authorities."