Parliament has approved REACT-EU, a 47.5 billion EUR package to help mitigate the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis across EU regions. The initiative was adopted by 654 votes in favour, 23 against and 17 abstentions. The aid will be made available through the EU Structural Funds, with 37.5 billion EUR assigned for 2021 and 10 billion EUR for 2022. Operations covered by REACT-EU will be eligible for funding from 1 February 2020, retroactively. The resources can be spent until the end of 2023.EU countries will be able to allocate part of the money to the European Social Fund, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), the Youth Employment Initiative, as well as cross-border programmes (Interreg). Investments will be focused on the sectors most affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: I welcome the political agreement between the European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council on the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe package (REACT-EU). This is the first cohesion policy file whose trilogue negotiations are concluded pending the final approval of the legal texts by the European Parliament Plenary and the Council.Cohesion policy has from the very beginning been at the heart of fighting the pandemic thanks to the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives. This new initiative is a further step in supporting Member States’ recovery, providing additional funding for bridging the gap between the first emergency crisis response and the long-term recovery of the economy supported by the 2021-2027 programming period. We are working hard to ensure a fair and cohesive recovery.”With a dedicated amount of €47.5 billion (€50.5 billion in current prices), REACT-EU will continue and extend the crisis response and crisis repair measures delivered through the two Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII and CRII+) packages, thus ensuring that the economic and social recovery in the context of the coronavirus pandemic will continue smoothly and without interruption.
REACT-EU is a European Commission proposal to address the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of an amendment to the Common Provisions Regulation, which governs the 2014-2020 cohesion policy programming period.
It follows two earlier proposals relating to cohesion policy: the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the Coronavirus Response Initiative Plus (CRII+), which both modified the rules for regional spending in order to facilitate recovery. Resources for REACT-EU will come from Next Generation EU, the European Union recovery instrument.