EU lawmakers OK $815 billion recovery program

International

BRUSSELS (AP) — European lawmakers on Wednesday approved a 672.5 billion euro ($815 billion) recovery package of loans and grants to help member states recover faster from the coronavirus pandemic.

The regulation for the Recovery and Resilience Facility was adopted with 582 votes in favor, 40 against and 69 abstentions. The RRF is the central pillar of the the bloc’s 750 billion euro ($910 billion) recovery plan that was adopted by EU leaders last year.

“In the long-term, this money is going to bring about change and progress to meet our digital and climate goals,” said Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, a lawmaker closely involved in the negotiations. “We will ensure that the measures will alleviate poverty and unemployment, and will take into account the gender dimension of this crisis. Our health systems will also become more resilient.”

To receive their share of the money, which is linked to respecting the rule of law, the EU’s 27 nations must submit their plans for the funds by the end of April. The funding will be available for three years and EU countries can request up to 13% pre-financing for their recovery and resilience plans.

Each plan has to dedicate at least 37% of its budget to fighting climate change and at least 20% to improving digital access and other actions.

So far, 18 nations have already submitted their draft plans to the European Commission, which is in charge of assessing them.

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