Agreement on who gets what from EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility

The Federal Government and the governments of the federal entities that make up Belgium have reached agreement on a first draft of a “plan for recovery and resilience”  and on the distribution of the money Belgium is to receive from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Belgium is to receive a total of 5.95 billion euro from the RRF, a fund set up by the European Union to help member states recover from the economic damage inflicted on them by the coronavirus crisis. At Monday’s meeting it was agreed that Flanders should receive 2.25 billion euro of the RRF funding that is being given to Belgium. 

1.25 billion euro will go to the Federal Government with Wallonia receiving 1.48 billion euro, the Francophone language community 495 million euro, the Brussels-Capital Region 395 million euro and the German Language Community 50 million euro. The Flemish government had hoped to be given 3 billion euro but has had to settle for much less.

The Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal, photo above left)  told VRT News that "This is an important step in our economic recovery strategy. Everyone knows that our economy has been hit particularly hard. This investment plan will make our economy stronger and above all help it to renew. Above all this is about investment in digitalisation, sustainability, and productivity”, Mr De Croo said.

The Federal PM added that projects that will be funded by the EU cash are ready to start. “Now the various governments will say which projects are the most important to them. At a federal level Secretary of State Thomas Dermine (Francophone socialist) will ensure that there is coherence. For example, if the federal level decides to invest in railways we will have to check that this ties in with what the federal entities are doing with regard to transport”.

Mr De Croo added that he hopes the EU funding will also serve to encourage private investment in our economy. 

"Defensible"

The Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (nationalist, photo above right) says that while he is pleased that cash will now be forthcoming the negotiations with the other governments weren’t easy. “You have to find an agreement, otherwise no one would get anything. If you want to realise your wildest dreams you do of course hope for a higher figure. I think that it is a little painful for everyone, but as a whole it (the agreement) is defensible”

Flanders has already drawn up an economy recovery plan worth 4.3 billion euro. Although the amount Flanders will receive from the RFF is less than the Flemish Government had hoped Mr Jambon says that the recovery plan will go ahead unaltered. The Flemish Government intends to bring our region closer still to the top of the tree when it comes to digitalisation in Europe.

Flanders is also to invest in projects to reduce carbon emissions and sustainable transport projects such as the construction of new bicycle paths and improvements to existing cycling infrastructure. Other projects include raising the hight of bridges over our inland waterways.

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