EU to allocate 200-bln-euro recovery fund for green projects

The countries of the European Union (EU) will invest at least 200 billion euros in green projects when they help the economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

The EU's executive chief has just concluded her first leg of a tour of the 27 member states, endorsing their plans to spend the recovery fund for greener and more digital growth.

With 24 national plans submitted and 12 of them approved by the European Commission, von der Leyen said all plans exceed the target of investing at least 20 percent of the allocated resources in the digital field and 37 percent in the green transition.

"At least they meet it, if not a lot of them overshoot it, and that is good. So we will have an investment of at least 200 billion euros in green measures -- just to name a few topics," she told reporters after a summit of the EU leaders on Friday.

The EU is ready to mobilize 750 billion euros on behalf of the 27 member states for a historic recovery package, known as NextGenerationEU, and it started raising funds on the financial markets last week.

"We have raised 20 billion euros with a maturity of ten years. And it was seven times oversubscribed, which shows the trust and the confidence of the market in NextGenerationEU and the European Union," von der Leyen declared.

At the heart of NextGenerationEU is the Resilience and Recovery Facility, which will provide member states with up to 312.5 billion euros in grants and as much as 360 billion in loans to implement reforms.

For all approved plans, the Council of the EU has four weeks to adopt the Commission's proposal. The Council's approval of the plan would allow for the disbursement of a percentage in pre-financing, with the rest disbursed according to the satisfactory fulfillment of the milestones and targets.

Leaders of EU countries have voiced their confidence as the pandemic is brought under control with the vaccination programs underway, and the money is soon to be handed out to reboot the economies.

"This year marked the capacity of Europeans to react fast and well in the fields of monetary policy, budgetary policy, and investment," said French President Emmanuel Macron after the summit on Friday.

"Because we acted courageously and boldly, we've come through this crisis quite well," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

(c) Xinhua


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