The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the societies and economies of the 27 EU Member States for more than a year, so it comes as welcome news that earlier this month, the European Commission announced that the recovery instrument, NextGenerationEU, will increase in value to €800 billion at current prices. This creates unique opportunities for states and regions to reform social services – a necessary task for achieving resilience in the face of future crises, albeit with specific conditions.

EU funds for post-pandemic recovery

The European Commission responded rapidly to the crisis brought on by the pandemic by launching the NextGenerationEU instrument, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The sole purpose of which is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and make Europe more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

This month, the Commission confirmed the financing plan for the reconstruction process, and increased the amount of resources that will be available for this purpose, which is now €800 billion, and presented a clear strategy for raising the necessary funds on the capital markets. The fundamental condition for receiving funds is the presentation by Member States of a convincing National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) outlining a coherent package of reforms and public investment projects to be implemented by 2026.

The NRRPs provides the opportunity for Member States to outline their vision for implementing reforms that respond to European recommendations. In turn, the primary role of the EU should be to ensure that the Plans take sufficient account of the needs for reform and the situation of the most vulnerable in our societies.

ESN’s EU Funding Working Group

To support our Members in securing sufficient resources from EU recovery instruments for reforms in the public social services sector, ESN runs a Working Group on EU Funding. Together with its Members, ESN will present a preliminary assessment of draft National Recovery and Resilience Plans. We will lay out whether and how the NRRPs integrate investments to reform, modernise and transform social and community-based services across Europe​ and discuss with EU officials proposals for recommendations for Member States. We firmly believe that the recovery process is an excellent opportunity not just to address immediate challenges but to consider more broadly the kind of societies we want moving forward.