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Next Generation EU Funds: the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism as a key tool for Member States' economic recovery and transformation

| News | Anti-Trust Law and European Union Law / Public and Regulatory Law

Andersen held a webinar with representatives of the European Commission and the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union to analyse the state of play of the implementation process of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.

The COVID-19 crisis has put the European economy in check. The European Commission has warned that recovery will be slow - with growth figures of 3.75% of GDP in 2021 and 4% in 2022 - and uneven across countries.

In response to this situation, on 18 February the European Union published Regulation (EU) 2021/241 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12th February 2021 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, which will allocate 672.5 billion euros to member states' recovery plans.

To bring companies closer to the content of the Mechanism and the management and financial instruments that the Regulation contemplates, Andersen organised, together with the European Commission and the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, the webinar "Next Generation EU Funds: Key points in the preparation of projects". The meeting, which took place on 12th March, had the objective of analysing the basis of the Facility through a practical approach and identifying the key points to future eligible and fundable investment projects.

To this end, the speakers were María Canal Fontcuberta, Expert in the SG RECOVER General Secretariat Unit for the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism in Spain, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and Enrique Verdeguer, Economic Counsellor of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU; as well as José Vicente Morote, Managing Partner of Andersen in Spain, Carlos Mínguez, Partner of Andersen and head of the European Aid and Funds group of the firm, and Rafael Ripoll, Of Counsel of Andersen.

José Vicente Morote highlighted the importance of these plans in helping companies to overcome the difficult situation in which many of them find themselves and for the recovery of the national economy in the coming years. Along the same lines, Rafael Ripoll highlighted the importance not only of getting out of the crisis but also of how to do so, stressing the importance of this type of seminar, which allows experiences to be shared and knowledge to be passed on.

Both experts coincided in pointing out the special, extraordinary configuration of the Mechanism and the importance that the reforms that must accompany the provision of its funds will have in its design and execution.

The map of these funds, explained María Canal, is focused on ensuring the economic stability of the Member States. On this point, she invited the companies in attendance to closely follow the process of drawing up the national recovery plans and to attend the expressions of interest, which, according to the SG RECOVER official, "will make it possible to subsequently define the lines of action, as well as the flagship initiatives, since funds will probably be available".

For his part, Enrique Verdeguer explained the importance of understanding the complexity of a Mechanism such as this one, and adapting expectations to reality, explaining that "we are facing a great opportunity, of how to approach the future, with a Plan and Mechanism that is totally different to what the EU has done until now". On this basis, he explained that the possible delays that countries are experiencing in submitting their plans are due to the different recommendations that the Commission has been making in stages.

In his presentation, he stated that "at the national level we start from a favourable perspective, as Spain is one of the main beneficiaries, which is a great opportunity but also a complex and important challenge". Regarding the implications for the private sector in Spain, he said that "actions are being taken to ensure that information flows to companies so that, despite the restrictions, public-private collaboration can benefit to the maximum".

The institutional decision-makers gave a picture of the type of project that might be eligible for funding. Both speakers explained that, although the context is complex, the projects must consider the situation and difficulties of each country, as well as being, among other things, green, digital, job-creating, with lasting, executable, and controllable effects.

Carlos Mínguez concluded by recalling the importance for companies of directing investment projects towards non-recurrent expenditure that represents a structural change in line with the country recommendations of the European Semester, as well as the advisability of combining the possibilities offered by the Unique Mechanism with the structural support provided by the operational programmes and European calls for proposals.

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