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Next Generation EU: long life to Europe

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

We translated on of the articles published on the blog of the students of Sociology of European Integration of the Department of Political Science at the Sapienza University of Rome coordinated by Prof. Maria Cristina Marchetti, the General Coordinator of our Erasmus Plus project, "Cultural Studies in Business".

It's always important to valorise the volunteering work of students who want to go beyond attending lessons and making exams, improving reading and writing skills as "junior journalists". The blog has a strong European dimension and covers many aspects of our political and social European life interesting for everyone. As our CSB blog is written mainly with lecturers' words, with some articles of Lab Europa, we want to enrich it, creating a closer bridge with students' world.

“Europe is a story of generations and each generation of Europeans has its history”.

That’s how the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, starts her speech to promote Next Generation, the new economic recovery program. At the beginning, due to long debates, an agreement between various Member States seemed far away. But, the new European recovery plan is the emblem of a more significant cooperation among States. Therefore, they are determined to remedy the economic and social crisis without precedent. With the apparent slowdown in infections, in fact, a new hope is born. European Institutions, with the fundamental collaboration of national governments, are determined to restart, ensuring a strong support to those who have lived this experience and to people who will inherit the fruits of the work which required commitment by all. Mrs .von der Leyen, in her speech, underlined the importance that our work has towards future generations and, so, the plan developed by European Commission took the name of Next Generation EU.

Next Generation EU

The virus has affected the world population and has forced some countries to stop entire work activities, generating a strong decline in GDP and, unfortunately, an inevitable unemployment. Although we aspire to a slight recovery in 2021, European Union is fully aware that, at the moment, low skilled-workers and young people will be the first to suffer the COVID-19 consequences. So, the Commission has thought of an intelligent use of the European budget capable of ensuring cohesion, agreement and solidarity. This instrument has the approval of most of the Member States and it can be used in the form of investments able to guarantee an important support to those who need it. Next Generation EU will raise funds which will be issued thanks to the ability of the Commission to negotiate loans on financial markets, for a total of 750 billions of euro. This amount will be used for a series of measures which will have to be implemented between 2021 and 2024. The aim is providing help to Member States, trying to limit the excessive burden of the crisis on national budgets. The refund will be made between 2028 and 2058, when individual budgets will have benefited from measures implemented.

How does it work?

Funds which will be raised thanks to this initiative, will be used in three fundamental pillars for the growth and the recovery:

  • The first pillar will support the recovery of Member States. The different instruments will support public investments, where crisis has mainly affected.The Recovery and Resilience Facility, together with a cohesion policy (REACT-EU) and a just transition mechanism will ensure to Member States the possibility to avail the funds raised, according to their socio-economic situation and the recovery and resilience plan developed at national level. Between these investments, also the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development is included;

  • The second pillar, on the contrary, will boost the economy. Assistance in private investment will be provided thanks to a solvency instrument. It will be able to mobilize private resources to support European companies within the most affected Member States. Some private investments will be used to finance projects within the EU thanks to strengthening of InvestEU. Other investments, defined strategic,will focus on the improvement of sectors related to digital and green transition;

  • The third and the last pillar is, of course, the most significant. It raises from the basis of a sector that put a strain during this period of crisis. The purpose is drawing lessons from this period to strengthen health security (Eu4Health), civil protection system (RescEU), research and healthcare activities.

Other purposes of the Next Generation program

A similar initiative has been proposed to enable Member States to get out of an impasse and rebuild, step by step, “normality” to which we are accustomed. However, it is necessary to intervene to create a new normality, which takes examples from the past to give birth to a future able to handle crises. The focus towards future animates the spirit of the Next Generation EU instruments which will be useful for the financing of further programs:

  • A European Green Deal, for a transition in line with environmental needs;

  • A single strengthened market, which can use technologies provided by digital era;

  • A fair and inclusive support towards all European citizens.

The importance of collaboration

The new-found solidarity is not just an expression of the incessant work of European Institutions, but also of Parliaments and national governments which worked to find a common solution. David Sassoli, during a press conference, emphasised the importance that European Parliament has in allowing the voice of society to be heard, as a soul of the same community. The integration resulting from the foundation of European Union must continue to be a guarantee and a safe haven not just for today’s citizens, but also for the future generations. Long life to Europe!

Published on June 3, 2020 by - a blog written by volunteer students of Sociology of European Integration - discipline taught by Prof. Maria Cristina Marchetti, main coordinator of the Cultural Studies in Business - CSB project - Department of Political Sciences of Sapienza University of Rome. Article written by Paola Bencivenga and translated by Ylenia Azzaro, member of the JUMP, organization partner of CSB project.

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