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Reaching for a green recovery: what holds back progress in ten EU recovery and resilience plans


The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is intended to finance reforms and investments in Member States to rebound from the pandemic and pursue a green transition. Each Member State is required to submit a national plan for approval that sets out the reforms and investments each commits to implement, with at least 37 per cent of the funds earmarked for climate action, and nothing in the plans should harm the environment.

The RRF therefore is an important opportunity for EU Member States to accelerate the “green transition,” but have they made the most of this fund?

This report analyses ten final recovery plans submitted by Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, based on the assessments of Bankwatch and CAN Europe member organisations. For each country analysis, key investments and reforms in the national recovery plan are assessed from a climate action perspective and the ‘do no significant harm’ principle. Each country section includes recommendations addressed to the Member State and the European Commission.


Key messages

  • Civic participation has been unsatisfactory in the design of all the plans analysed, although social partners and other stakeholders have a key role to play to ensure a successful recovery in Europe.
  • There is very little support to biodiversity and nature conservation included in the plans. The EU’s nature conservation and biodiversity protection should be an integral part of the various EU funding facilities to meet the EU 2030 biodiversity and climate objectives.
  • Several Member States are using the RRF to support fossil gas-related investments, such as fossil gas boilers as part of broader measures for building renovation and heating. There should be no support for fossil fuels by EU funds.
  • The recovery package is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in transformational projects. More substantial and qualitative spendings on energy efficiency and renewables, as well as community led initiatives were expected and could be improved in the implementation.

Download the full report here