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Opinion Number: CDR 4212/2022
Rapporteur: JONKMAN Rob
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 08/02/2023
 
This opinion is based on the Review Report foreseen in article 16 of the regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

It's main objective is to assess, from the perspective of local and regional authorities, the Review Report on the Recovery and Resilience Facility with regards to its requirements specified in the regulation and beyond, and with regards to the Facility's aims, not least that of supporting cohesion.

This opinion is an opportunity to follow up on the CoR's extensive work on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, including the opinion on the Regulation and the latter opinion on implementation. It is an opportunity to explore whether The CoR demands have been met, and make recommendations for the continued implementation of the Facility.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- Regrets that the review report does not analyse a number of points which are crucial for a sound implementation of the RRF, such as: the governance of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs); the true additionality of the projects supported; the synergies and risks of overlaps with other sources of EU funding; the RRF's effective contribution to cohesion, despite this being the RRF's legal basis; the involvement of LRAs;

- Underlines that LRAs provide the majority of public services to their residents and businesses and invest in policy areas covered by the NRRPs, especially in the field of economic and social recovery, as well as the green and digital transitions. If LRAs – the political level closest to the public – are left out, the milestones and targets set in the NRRPs risk not being achieved; points out that the same problem exists in the European Semester due to the lack of recognition of the role of local and regional authorities;

- Recalls that LRAs account for one third of all public expenditure and more than half of public investment in the EU, much of which is in policy areas crucial to the RRF;

- Regrets that the review report does not clearly demonstrate how the RRF effectively aligns with regional/local planning and operational programmes for cohesion policy;

- Calls for the Commission's annual reports and the independent evaluation report to include a section on LRA involvement, building on the content of the RRF Regulation's Recital 34 and Article 18;

- Urges the Member States and the European Commission to take the necessary measures to change the current centralised narrative into a multi-level implementation approach of the RRF by setting-up on a structural basis and together with LRAs e.g. multi-level platforms, information sessions and events.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Communication marking the two-year anniversary of the RRF

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."

 
21 Feb
 

Plenary adoption of the opinion

On 8 February 2023, the CoR Plenary Session unanimously adopted the opinion on the RRF Review Report drafted by Mr Jonkman. Through the opinion, local and regional leaders already voiced criticism of the review report published in July 2022 by the European Commission, describing it as a "missed opportunity" for failing to address the governance of the national recovery and resilience plans and the lack of involvement of local and regional authorities.

 
08 Feb
 

Article on the opinion in Binnenlands Bestuur

Following the adoption of this opinion in ECON on 7 December 2022, Binnenlands Bestuur published an article entitled "Kritiek op te centralistisch coronaherstelplan"

 
12 Dec
 

Debate on the RRF in CEMR’s Expert Group on Governance

On 18 November 2022, the rapporteur Rob Jonkman was invited to take part in the Expert Group on Governance of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), in order to to present his draft opinion on the Review Report on the RRF and debate RRF implementation with CEMR members.

 
18 Nov
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