(Source: European Commission)
The European Commission has today endorsed a positive preliminary assessment of France’s payment request for €7.4 billion of grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU.
On 26 November 2021, France submitted to the Commission a payment request based on the achievement of the 38 milestones and targets selected in the Council Implementing Decision for the first instalment. They cover reforms in the areas of public finance, housing, mobility, unemployment insurance, skills, and health, as well as France’s audit and control system for the implementation of the RRF. Several targets also concern major investments in the fields of energy renovation of buildings, decarbonisation of industry, clean vehicles, research, youth employment, and education.
With their request, the French authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 38 milestones and targets. The Commission has thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.
The French recovery and resilience plan includes a wide range of investment and reform measures in nine thematic components. The plan will be supported by €39.4 billion in grants, 13% of which (€5.1 billion) was disbursed to France in pre-financing on 19 August 2021.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of France’s fulfilment of the milestones and targets required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment. Following the EFC’s opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to France can take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by France based on the fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms.
The amounts disbursed to the Member States are published in the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, which shows progress of the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans.
Members of the College said:
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today, I am pleased to announce good news for France. We believe that France has taken a major step towards receiving an important payment from our recovery plan NextGenerationEU. Once Member States have also given their green light, we will disburse €7.4 billion to France, under NextGenerationEU. France has indeed made swift progress in implementing its recovery plan, through crucial reforms and ambitious investments in energy renovation, innovation and youth employment. This is the beginning of a success made in France and supported by Europe.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: “This is another step forward for Europe’s recovery as a second Member State achieves the first set of milestones and targets in its recovery and resilience plan – congratulations to France! These investments and reforms will strengthen the French economy, make it more competitive and equip it for the future. Once the Commission’s assessment is reviewed by Member States, France should be set to receive €7.4 billion in grants to help it make its economy more resilient and inclusive for years to come. With its strong focus on the green and digital transitions, this forward-looking plan will benefit people and businesses right across France. It is now becoming reality.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “Today we take a key step in the implementation of France’s recovery and resilience plan with this positive preliminary assessment of the country’s first payment request. Once the procedures are finalised this should unlock €7.4 billion to be injected into the French economy. France has adopted important reforms that will make public spending more climate-friendly. It has also reached key targets for the greening of homes and public buildings and the acquisition of clean vehicles. Other important measures taken aim to support stable employment, education and training, and to boost the resilience of the health and long-term care systems. Finally, the first steps have been taken in the context of the Future Investment Plan, supporting the development of key digital technologies.”