At an annual EU Budget Conference, President von der Leyen focuses on opportunities and strength of the EU budget

(Source: European Commission)

“With the budget and NextGenerationEU we are transforming our continent for the decades ahead and helping to create well-paid, sustainable jobs after the pandemic,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at the opening of the Annual EU Budget Conference.

Digital and green transitions are at the heart of our future prosperity and the well-being of all Europeans, she said as she explained how concretely the funding is used to support Europe’s businesses and people on that path.

The multiannual EU budget, coupled with NextGenerationEU – Europe’s recovery plan – amounts to about 2.1 trillion euros in current prices for the period from 2021 to 2027.

“To reach the EU´s 2030 climate goals we need investments of around 470 billion euros each year”, President von der Leyen said. “This is why 30 percent of the funds under NextGenerationEU and the multiannual budget are earmarked for tackling climate change.”

She also explained the specially set up programmes to help the most vulnerable consumers, households and regions reap the benefits of this transition. These are, for example, the Just Transition Fund and the Social Climate Fund, worth 19 billion euros and 70 billion euros respectively.

In parallel, 20 percent of the recovery and resilience facility funds will be invested in the EU´s digital transformation. President von der Leyen said that most Member States were already exceeding this target, and investing heavily in the digital area. “Based on the 26 national plans submitted so far, we see that more than 46 billion euro will be spent on upgrading digital public services and 24 billion to upgrade businesses. And another 23 billion euro is earmarked to help citizens all across our Union to learn the skills needed for the jobs of the future”, she said.

She also stressed the need to use the EU budget properly and effectively, so that ‘every euro and every cent is spent according to its proper purpose and in line with rule of law principles’. “This is not only a vital ingredient of our democracies. It also creates trust for investors and businesses at this crucial time”, she noted.

She concluded by highlighting how important implementation was, especially for the national recovery plans, for which a set of milestones and targets has been agreed with the Member States. “The rules for payments from the Recovery and Resilience Facility are crystal-clear: They require that control and audit systems are in place to prevent, detect and correct corruption, fraud and conflict of interests. Because it is the people of Europe who are paying for all of this. And we will make sure that this budget serves them well”, she underlined.

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