FINANCE chiefs in Brussels have approved investment plans of 12 member states – including Spain – which means European Union funds can flow to boost economic recovery.
It is estimated €800 billion in aid, financed by unprecedented joint borrowing, and made available in grants and loans, will boost recovery from the Covid-19 economic fallout.
It is thought the EU recovery spending could add 3.5% growth to the gross domestic product across the 27-member bloc.
Ministers meeting in Brussels approved plans prepared by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, an EU statement said, in what is the first batch of approvals of national investment programmes under the EU recovery plan. Spain and Italy are amongst the main beneficiaries of the package.
The first funding will flow in the coming weeks as countries sign finance agreements; help for the remaining 15 member states will be assessed in Brussels at a later stage.
However, the EU has warned upbeat forecasts for the post-pandemic recovery are based on Covid restrictions continuing to be eased in the second half of this year – the downside is the risk of disruption posed by the more contagious Delta variant, which is predicted to become dominant across Europe this summer.