The EESC Employers' Group welcomes the agreement on the EU recovery package. Through the "Next Generation EU" instrument, EUR 750 billion will support struggling EU economies. Having called for a swift agreement in several publications, the deal is seen as timely and crucial by the Employers' Group. What is needed now is fast and targeted implementation of the measures. Only in this way can businesses support the EU in fighting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Given the extreme urgency of tackling the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis, the Employers' Group had called for swift and ambitious measures in a letter sent to all members of the European Council and in two position papers. In these publications, the Employers' Group stated its conviction that businesses that manage to recover well and succeed are key to the recovery of the EU economy. To re-start this economy, we need extraordinary, unprecedented economic measures and real, unconditional European unity.
The agreement on the recovery package is the fast decision that the EESC Employers' Group called for. As part of the EUR 1.074 trillion Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the recovery package was agreed on 21 July after four days and nights of tense negotiations. The "Next Generation EU" package will contain EUR 390 billion in grants and EUR 360 billion in loans, including several measures that will give considerable momentum to businesses through investments in digitalisation, the green transition and R&D. With EUR 312.5 billion of grants available under the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility, Member States will be able to tackle the economic effects of the crisis.
Only with this massive investment can the EU economy be re-launched. However, the agreement should have gone further in certain aspects. For example, the proposed solvency instrument that was intended to recapitalise companies hit by the crisis would have given important security to struggling businesses. Another area of concern is the various proposed taxes, e.g. in the field of plastics, digital and carbon. Nevertheless, the EESC Employers' Group welcomes the Recovery Fund – it is indeed a historic agreement due to its magnitude and the speed of the negotiations.
To effectively re-start the economy and save businesses, we now hope for a speedy finalisation of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework and a fast ratification of the Own Resources Decision by the national parliaments. The Recovery Package funds must reach our companies and SMEs as fast as possible and without red tape. It is only through private enterprise that we can kick-start our economy.