The European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on 27th May announced the creation of Next Generation EU, an ambitious plan for economic recovery of the block after the Covid-19 crisis. With it, the Commission plans to put on the plate resources for €750 Billon to be raised on financial markets using the Union’s credit rate, so to provide support for the countries hardest-hit by the crisis. Of the € 750 billion, € 500 billion would be in the form of grants, while another €250 billion would be available as loans, to be repaid over a 30-year time span between 2028 and 2058. The money will be channelled through EU programmes.
In conjunction with the economic recovery plan, the Commission also proposed a reinforced Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 of €1.1 Trillion. Of particular relevance for the agri-food sector is the proposed increase of the budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by €24 billion compared to the previous MFF Commission proposal in 2018 (from €324 billion of the 2018 MFF proposal to €348 billion in the current one). €15 Billion, borrowed through Next Generation EU, would reinforce the second pillar (Rural Development) which is the main channel envisaged to support the changes in the European Green Deal and the targets set in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
It is notable that despite this boost, resources for the CAP would still be lower than in the current 2014-2020 budget cycle.
Both the Next Generation EU plan and the new Multiannual Financial framework will now have to be discussed and unanimously agreed by the European Council.
The European Commission also released a revised version of its annual work program (click here), taking into account the disruptions created by the Covid-19 crisis on its own planning. CEMA’s Strategic Committee will scrutinize the changes, but we can already highlight that work on the Machinery Directive has been postponed by at least a quarter while a proposal to address roading requirements is still not included in the planning.