- Publisher: Social Europe & Hans Böckler Stiftung
- Published: 14th June 2022
When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, not only were individual European Union member states quick to react but the EU as a whole swiftly changed gear. Fiscal and state-aid rules were suspended, the European Central Bank launched an emergency bond-buying scheme, the SURE programme was initiated to refinance national short-time-working schemes and the European Stability Mechanism was expanded.
But it was clear that this was not enough to undergird recovery and that a medium-term support programme was needed. National capitals were anxious not to repeat the ‘blame game’ of the eurozone crisis of the early 2010s and to reduce over-reliance on the ECB, which had taken most of the policy strain after 2012 (with the open-ended, ‘whatever it takes’ commitment by its then president, Mario Draghi).
Helped by some favourable political changes—not least a change at the German finance ministry—and the perception of the coronavirus as a common shock, in July 2020 policy-makers launched NextGenerationEU. It was a blueprint for a recovery, rather than an austerity programme. Its cornerstone, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), was subsequently agreed—after difficult negotiations and hold-ups, not least because of rule-of-law issues in Poland and Hungary—by the end of 2020.
The articles in this series supported by the Hans Böckler Stiftung, now collected in a dossier, have looked at different aspects of the RRF, including its funding, the substantive contribution of national recovery plans and the political processes behind their formulation.
Authors: Claudio Baccianti, Jonathan Barth, Péter Bucsky, Rebecca Christie, Grégory Claeys, Lydia Corinek, Elizabeth Dirth, Jakob Hafele, Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen, Michaela Holl, Mario Holzner, Christiny Miller, Margit Schratzenstaller-Altzinger, Imre Szabó, Bart Vanhercke, Amy Verdun, Andrew Watt, Katharina Weber, Pauline Weil and Maximilian Zangl.