Investment and reform in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium’s National Recovery and Resilience Plans

Early in the COVID-19 crisis, European Union authorities and the Member States’ governments have set up an EU-wide Recovery Plan, dubbed the Next Generation EU. Around 90 % of this plan goes to the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Countries economically more vulnerable before the pandemic and that have incurred more severe economic losses from coronavirus, such as Italy and Spain, are expected to receive more funds than the other countries like Germany, France and Belgium.

In exchange for grants and loans, Member States had to submit National Recovery and Resilience Plans detailing investment projects and reforms.

The implementation and success of the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan therefore depend on how national governments will seize this opportunity of EU funding to prioritise investment and reforms that support the growth potential of their economy, foster the green and digital transitions, and increase health, economic, social and institutional resilience.

In this article, we have analysed in some depth the National Recovery and Resilience Plans of Belgium and of the four largest EU Member States – Germany, France, Italy and Spain – as these plans are expected to add more to Belgian GDP than Belgium’s own plan. In particular, we show that investment and reforms go hand in hand in these national plans: the more EU-funded grants governments receive, the more they are committed to deliver in terms of reform.