Podstawowe informacje o opinii 

Wdrażanie Instrumentu na rzecz Odbudowy i Zwiększania Odporności

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Opinion Number: CDR 3682/2021
Rapporteur: JONKMAN Rob
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 01/12/2021
 
This opinion is based on a referral by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council.

It's main objective is to assess the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility with regards to its specific aims, not least that of supporting cohesion, and from the perspective of local and regional authorities. Active engagement of local and regional authorities in the preparation of the national recovery and resilience plans is a key demand of the CoR that must be followed up on, as is the contribution of those plans to tackling the specific challenges faces by cities and regions.

This opinion is an opportunity to follow up on the CoR opinion on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, explore whether its demands have been met, and make recommendations for the continued implementation of the Facility. In particular, the opinon argued for a stronger involvement of local and regional authorities in its implementation via their active engagement in the preparation of the national recovery and resilience plans. While the final regulation did not impose this on Member States, it does mandate them to report on the preparation process, including the consultations held with local and regional authorities and there results. The Commission has stated that it will be attentive to this element of the plans and the CoR must follow up on this.
This opinion puts forward the Committee of the Regions' assessment of the early implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, i.e. largely the process of preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. It highlights that active engagement of local and regional authorities in the preparation of the national recovery and resilience plans (a key demand of the CoR) has often been lacking and raises risks for the instrument's implementation and effectiveness.

The opinion is a crucial element in the CoR's broader body of work on the RRF, which also includes an earlier opinion on the RRF Regulation, several studies and consultations of LRAs, as well as a number of events and debates. Taken together, the CoR's work in this field has had a significant impact on the interinstitutional debates and procedures related to the RRF. For instance the Commission has repeatedly expressed that it stresses the importance of active engagement with LRAs in its discussions with Member States on the preparation and implementation of the plans (although the regulation does not give it grounds to enforce this legally). The European Parliament has shown significant interest in the analytical work and political views of the CoR, as demonstrated by the invitations of the CoR to the joint ECON-BUDG parliamentary working group on the scrutiny of the RRF on three separate occasions in June 2021, October 2021 and May 2022.
On 30 May, the ECON and BUDG committees adopted their report on RRF implementation, which takes on board the CoR's call for better involvement of local and regional authorities, and makes direct reference to the CoR opinion and to the results of the recent consultation on the RRF undertaken by the CoR and CEMR. These elements were preserved in the final Resolution adopted in Plenary on 23 June.
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.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Review Report on the RRF

On 29 July 2022, the European Commission published its "review report" on the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), as foreseen by the RRF Regulation.

In the report, the Commisison states that major headway has been made in the implementation of the Facility and that the ambitious reform and investment agenda of Member States is well on track. The report details numerous examples of the investments and reforms financed by the RRF in the 25 national recovery and resilience plans adopted at that point far. These examples present concrete measures that are contributing to the six policy pillars in the RRF Regulation. All plans exceed the 37% climate target, with some Member States using more than half of their allocation in support of climate objectives. Overall, climate expenditure amounts to about 40% and digital expenditure to about 26%.

This report is being tackled by a new CoR opinion led by rapporteur Rob Jonkman, which will be the subject of an Exchange of views during the ECON meeting on 22 September.

 
29 Jul
 

Adoption of parliamentary report on RRF implementation

On 30 May, the ECON and BUDG committees adopted their report on RRF implementation. After adoption of compromise amendments backed by the co-rapporteurs, the report takes on board the CoR's call for better involvement of local and regional authorities, and makes direct reference to the CoR opinion and to the results of the recent consultation on the RRF undertaken by the CoR and CEMR.

 
30 May
 

Rapporteur participation in the European Parliament Working Group

On 12 May, the CoR rapporteur on implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Rob Jonkman, was invited to take part in the European Parliament's joint ECON-BUDG Working Group on the scrutiny of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
During his statement and in response to questions from MEPs, the rapporteur described the insufficient involvement of local and regional authorities in the RRF, drawing on his opinion and on the recently published results of the CoR-CEMR targeted consultation on the implementation of the RRF.
This is the third such invitation of the CoR to this parliamentary working group after previous occasions in June and October 2021.

 
12 May
 

Results of the CoR-CEMR targeted consultation on the implementation of the RRF

On 27 April were published the results of the CoR-CEMR targeted consultation: "Implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility: The Perspective of Local and Regional Authorities"

Key findings include:

  • The involvement of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in the preparation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) appears low overall, in particular regarding the governance of the process (coordination, timelines, etc.), which remains often a top-down one, which subnational governments have little opportunity to influence.
  • Comparison with the results of our 2021 consultation suggests that national governments did use the past months/year for providing information to, and seeking dialogue with, LRAs. However, these exchanges seem to have had little to no impact on the final version of the NRRPs.
  • Respondents are broadly positive about the NRRPs' capacity to support the green and digital transition but more ambivalent regarding other policy objectives, such as territorial cohesion.
  • Regarding implementation of the NRRPs, only a very small share of LRA respondents declare having an appropriate role in monitoring, or being sufficiently taken into consideration on the basis of their competencies. Ownership of the plans is worryingly low among respondents.
  • The principal barriers to a successful involvement of LRAs in NRRP implementation identified by respondents are a lack of willingness on behalf of the national government, and a format or timeframe that does allow for effective involvement. These were also the key barriers identified in last year's consultation and they have not been addressed. Only a very small share of respondents report lacking capacity to play a role or not facing significant barriers.
  • In this context, consultation respondents identify a strong risk of failure to reach targets and milestones in the NRRPs. Risk of misallocation of funds is also highlighted by a significant share of respondents. The interplay between the NRRPs and other European funds is still unclear for many respondents and this is an important source of uncertainty for LRAs at this stage.
  • A large majority of respondents deems that enhanced dialogue between the European level and local/regional level representatives, as well as an early warning mechanism, would be useful with regards to monitoring NRRP implementation at EU level.

 
27 Apr
 

Targeted consultation on NRRP implementation

On 1 February, the CoR and CEMR launched a new consultation to explore whether and to what extent local and regional authorities are now involved in the implementation of the national plans. This targeted consultation is addressed to key EU national associations of local and regional governments, to provide early insights on the implementation of national plans and their ability to address specific investment and reform priorities identified at the local and regional level.

This follows up on a previous joint CoR-CEMR consultation, whose results were published in early 2021, and which showed that in the majority of cases, EU regions and municipalities had little or no involvement in the preparation of these recovery plans.

 
01 Feb
 

Adoption in ECON

On 29 September, Rob Jonkman's draft opinion was adopted by the ECON Commission, and will therefore be put on the agenda of the December Plenary Session.

CoR rapporteur Rob Jonkman (NL/ECR) said: " The economic and social recovery, as well as the green and digital transitions can only succeed if local and regional authorities are directly involved in preparing and implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. The picture of the level of cities and regions' involvement in preparing the national plans varies widely among Member States. Therefore, there is a need for greater ownership and structural involvement of local and regional authorities in the Member States, only this way the national plans can be implemented successfully ."

Concretely, the CoR opinion asks the European Commission to clearly define the role of local and regional authorities in the implementation, further planning and evaluation of the recovery plans in the agreements with Member States. It warns that a too centralised approach leads to territorial differences being overlooked, putting regions that were already lagging behind in their development before the outbreak of the pandemic at risk of an even greater development gap. It also highlights the need to improve coordination between the national recovery plans and cohesion policy funding, as well as with other EU programmes. The long-term target should be a thorough reform of the European semester with a code of conduct for the involvement of local and regional authorities.

ECFIN Director-General Maarten Verwey recalled that the aim of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and make European economies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. In this regard, he highlighted the wide range of opportunities it provides to local communities and stressed that the European Commission is encouraging the Member States to strengthen the local and regional authorities' involvement.

 
29 Sep
 

EESC Hearing: Towards the European Semester 2022 – Implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plans

On 6 September, Rapporteur Rob Jonkman took part in the EESC hearing "Towards the European Semester 2022 – Implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plans", alongside several high-level speakers from other EU insititutions. He referred to his ongoing opinion on the implementation of the RRF and its links with the European Semester process.

 
06 Sep
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