European Commission updates its work programme & budget in response to the COVID-19 crisis


This month, the European Commission released several documents to update its work programme and revise its budget in light of COVID-19. Within this new environment, the Green Deal and the Digitalization of Europe remain two key priorities for the EU and continue to lead the EC’s work programmes. The release of the Farm to Fork Strategy and EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 confirms this position.

However, several dossiers will suffer from delay. The follow-up of the white paper on artificial intelligence is delayed by 1 quarter (Q1 2021) while the evaluation of the Industrial emission directive is not impacted and will be managed by the end of this year.

Regarding the Budget, the European Commission proposes a budget of EUR1.85 trillion for 2021-2027 with a new financial instrument, named Next Generation EU, that will bring additional EUR750 billion for the next seven years borrowed on the financial markets. The financial allocations will be through grants (500 B.) and loans (250 B.). The bulk of it concentrated in the period 2020-2024.

This new instrument is organised in 3 pillars to recover our economy, leverage investments, and improve our resiliency. Horizon Europe should benefit from an increase of EUR13.5 B. to reach EUR94.4 B. in the next MFF. The European Commission also proposes a new programme “the recovery and resilience facility’’ embedded in the EU semester with EUR560 Billion to help the regions and economic sectors which suffer the most of the COVID19 crisis. Therefore, the Member States will actively lead the pillar 1 of this new instrument.

This proposition of the Commission stresses the importance to switch from crisis management to risk management and resiliency in line with the green deal and digitalization. It is a key step to achieve a Water-Smart society as we highlighted in our position paper. The Farm to Fork strategy and Biodiversity 2030 strategy also demonstrates the role of water to build a Resilient and Green Europe.


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