During the European Council this week all eyes are, again, on the negotiations for the future European Union (EU) budget. Analysts tended to focus mainly on two things. First, the evolution of the sums of money that will be agreed on for the future European Recovery Plan & next Multi-Annual Financial Framework. Second, the opposition of the so-called “Frugal four” and their desire for adopting a scaled down budget and attaching more conditions to EU money before being disbursed to hard-hit countries, such as Italy and Spain. However, other aspects are neglected and would require more in-depth discussion. European, national and sub-national authorities are facing other challenges in spending and implementing the more than 2 billion EUR recovery package. This article argues that issues of strategic vision (e.g. intertwining the Next Generation EU with the MFF logic of EU funds), absorption and administrative capacity need prioritising in order to manage the post-covid aid process. Not dealing with these aspects more thoroughly will affect what could be done for a medium- and long-term recovery plan. The blog ends with several brief recommendations for policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens.
Surubaru, N. (2020). Europe to the rescue? EU funds and the COVID-19 crisis – who gets what, how and why. [Blog post]