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Document 52023DC0545

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility: Moving forward

COM/2023/545 final

Brussels, 19.9.2023

COM(2023) 545 final

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL

on the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility: Moving forward



Contents

Acronyms    

1.    Executive summary    

2.    State of play on the implementation of the RRF    

2.1. State of play on the implementation of RRPs    

2.2. Increased transparency in the assessment of payment requests    

2.3. Revision of RRPs    

2.4. State of play on financing the RRF    

2.5. Controls and audit in the implementation of the RRF    

2.6. Outreach on RRP implementation and transparency    

3.    Contribution of the Facility to the RRF Objectives    

3.1. Contribution of the Facility to the green transition (i.e. Pillar 1)    

3.2. Contribution of the Facility to the digital transformation (i.e. Pillar 2)    

3.3. Contribution of the Facility to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (i.e. Pillar 3)    

3.4. Contribution of the Facility to social and territorial cohesion (i.e. Pillar 4)    

3.5. Contribution of the Facility to health, and economic, social, and institutional resilience, with the aim of, inter alia, increasing crisis preparedness and crisis response capacity (i.e. Pillar 5)    

3.6. Contribution of the Facility to policies for the next generation, children and the youth, such as education and skills (i.e. Pillar 6)    

3.7. Contribution of the Facility to social policy, including gender equality as well as children and youth    

3.8. Contribution cross-border & multi-country projects    

3.9. Contribution to the implementation of country-specific recommendations    

4.    REPowerEU    

4.1. Measures included in the REPowerEU chapters    

4.2. Financing of REPowerEU    

5.    Conclusion    

Figures:

Figure 1: Progress of milestones and targets due in the past, for Q1 2020 to Q1 2023    

Figure 2: Progress of milestones and targets due in the future, for Q2 2023 to Q2 2024    

Figure 3: Progress of reforms- and investment-related milestones and targets    

Figure 4: Progress of milestones and targets per RRF Pillar    

Figure 5: Type of delayed milestones and targets    

Figure 6: State of progress towards the common indicators    

Figure 7: Evolution of savings in annual primary energy consumption in MWh per year    

Figure 8: Evolution of number of enterprises supported    

Figure 9: Evolution of participants in education or training    

Figure 10: Process for the payment suspension    

Figure 11: Spread of the largest final recipients per Member State    

Figure 12: Contribution of the amounts received and associated measures which the 100 largest final recipients receive support for towards the six policy pillars    

Figure 13: Share of RRF funds contributing to each policy pillar    

Figure 14: Breakdown of expenditure supporting the green transition, by policy area    

Figure 15: Contribution to climate objectives as share of RRP allocation    

Figure 16: Number of measures in pillar 1 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 17: Breakdown of expenditure supporting the digital transformation per policy area    

Figure 18: Contribution to digital objectives as share of RRP allocation    

Figure 19: Number of measures in pillar 2 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 20: Breakdown of expenditure supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth per policy area    

Figure 21: Number of measures in pillar 3 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 22: Breakdown of expenditure supporting social and territorial cohesion per policy area    

Figure 23: Number of measures in pillar 4 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 24: Breakdown of expenditure supporting health and resilience per policy area    

Figure 25: Number of measures in pillar 5 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 26: Breakdown of expenditure supporting policies for next generation, per policy area    

Figure 27: Number of measures in pillar 6 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area    

Figure 28: Share of RRF social expenditure by main social categories    

Figure 29: Share (in %) of measures having a focus on gender equality in adopted RRPs    

Figure 30: Current level of implementation of 2019-2020 CSRs    

Figure 31: Implementation of 2019-2022 CSRs: annual assessment in each consecutive year versus implementation to date    

Tables:

Table 1: Processing of payment requests    

Table 2: State of play on implementation of RRF payment requests    

Table 3: Number and median period of M&Ts with a delayed or early reported target date of implementation, for reforms and investments    

Table 4: Overview table submission of modified RRPs and REPowerEU chapters    

Table 5: Legal basis used by Member States in modifying their RRPs    

Table 6: Change in non-repayable financial support under Article 18 of the RRF Regulation    

Table 7: Loans requested by Member States by 31 August 2023    

Table 8: Multi-country projects relating to measures under the Green Transition pillar    

Table 9. Digital multi-country projects    

Table 10: Overview of the content of the adopted REPowerEU chapters    

Table 11: Additional non-repayable support available per Member State    

Table 12: Transfer of allocation under BAR    

Acronyms

BAR

Brexit Adjustment Reserve

CIDs

Council Implementing Decisions

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease of 2019

CSRs

Country-specific recommendations

ECEC

Early childhood education and care

EFC

Economic and Financial Committee

EPLOs

European Parliament Liaison Offices

ETS

Emissions Trading System

EUR

Euro (€)

MWh

Megawatt

NGEU

NextGenerationEU

R&I

Research and innovation

RES

Renewable energy sources

RRF

Recovery and Resilience Facility

RRPs

Recovery and Resilience Plans

SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises

TSI

Technical Support Instrument

1.Executive summary 

Two and a half years after its inception, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (‘RRF’) remains at the core of the European response to increase the resilience of Member States economies. Since the publication of the last annual report (March 2022), the economic and geo-political context has changed markedly. Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine led to a spike in energy prices in 2022, showcasing the vulnerabilities linked to the dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and driving inflation to levels unseen in decades and causing a ‘cost of living’ crisis for many households.

In this context, the RRF had to adapt to address these new challenges and incorporate the experience gained over two years with the implementation of this innovative, performance-based instrument. Today, as we approach the middle point of the Facility’s short lifetime, this report takes stock of the progress made in the implementation and evolution of the Facility, from the adoption of the RRF Regulation 1 in February 2021, through the amendment to the RRF Regulation in February 2023 adding REPowerEU chapters to Recovery and Resilience Plans (‘RRPs’) 2 , to the disbursement of the latest payments up to 1 September 2023.

The report shows that major progress has been made in (i) the continuous implementation of the RRF, (ii) increasing the transparency around its implementation, and (iii) protecting the financial interests of the EU by stepping up control and audit efforts.

The implementation of the RRF is well underway, within the tight constraints due to its lifespan. Until 1 September 2023, the Commission has received 31 payment requests from 19 Member States and disbursed a total amount of EUR 153.4 billion. The Council has adopted the positive assessment of the initial plans of all Member States. Furthermore, the positive assessment of four revised plans with REPowerEU chapters have already been adopted by the Council and 16 revised plans are currently being assessed by the Commission. The report details numerous examples of concrete reforms and investments financed by the RRF, contributing to the six policy pillars defined in the RRF Regulation, including the green transition and the digital transformation.

At the same time, the Commission is assisting Member States in addressing implementation challenges, where they emerge. Some Member States are facing challenges in administering funds, partly due to administrative capacity issues or investment bottlenecks. Some other Member States are facing difficulties in implementing the RRPs as initially designed due to changed economic circumstances such as high inflation or supply bottlenecks. The Commission is supporting all Member States to accelerate the implementation and revision of their plans, including through the Technical Support Instrument 3 . 

In 2023, the Commission made significant efforts to increase the clarity and transparency around the Facility’s implementation. The Commission published, on 21 February 2023, its methodologies on (i) assessing the satisfactory fulfilment of milestones and targets and (ii) calculating the suspended amounts in case of non-fulfilment of a milestone or target. Today, jointly with this report, the Commission publishes its framework for dealing with potential situations where milestones and targets initially assessed as satisfactorily fulfilled by the Commission were subsequently reversed by the Member State.

Furthermore, the amendments to the RRF Regulation require Member States to publish information on the 100 final recipients receiving the highest amounts of RRF funding. The Commission rapidly provided the necessary guidance, requesting Member States to make this data available as soon as possible and update it twice per year, and consolidated the published information on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard. This information will also be used to populate the map on projects funded by the RRF, which was first published on 9 March 2023 and is regularly updated since. All these elements taken together significantly enhance accountability of the Commission decisions relating to the implementation of the RRF.

In 2023, also taking into account the recommendations of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Court of Auditors, the Commission further strengthened the robustness of its control framework to provide additional assurance on the regular use of RRF funds and the effective protection of the Union’s financial interests. The Commission has, until 1 September 2023, carried out 14 risk-based ex-post audits on milestones and targets to obtain additional assurance that the information provided by the Member State on their satisfactory fulfilment is correct (7 in 2022 and 7 in 2023). After having verified the adequacy of the control systems of Member States to protect the financial interests of the Union at the moment of the RRP assessment, the Commission also conducted 27 audits of Member States’ systems (16 in 2022 and 11 so far in 2023) and will have audited all Member States at least once by the end of 2023. Since 2023, a specific focus was put on Member States’ compliance obligations with public procurement and state aid rules pursuant to Article 22(2), point (a) of the RRF Regulation. The declaration of assurance on the RRF, which results from this control framework, has been fully aligned with those issued by other DGs as of 2022.

The RRF will soon enter the second half of its lifetime, as an instrument that has proven its ability to incentivise structural reforms, amplify the impact of investments and maintain a sufficient level of flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. Those achievements originate in the key performance-based feature of the Facility, linking disbursements to the gradual implementation of reforms and investments through agreed milestones and targets. Those achievements would not have been possible without the ownership and determination of the Member States to deliver on their recovery and resilience plans, and the input of institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Court of Auditors and of social and local stakeholders.

However, the work is far from over and a challenging implementing period lies ahead. The ongoing revision of the national plans benefits from the vast experience gathered so far and will contribute to speed up the instrument’s implementation. Increased transparency in the implementation, the additional REPowerEU resources, and a focus on unlocking the administrative capacity of Member States set the stage for further acceleration of the implementation in 2024, and years beyond, until the end of 2026.

2.State of play on the implementation of the RRF

This report presents in detail the state of play in the implementation of the RRF (section 2), the contribution of the facility to the RRF objectives (section 3) and the state of play in the REPowerEU chapters (section 4). In annex, country fiches outline the progress for each RRP.

The information provided in this report is based on the content of the adopted plans, as assessed by the Commission, on the data reported by Member States until April 2023 as part of their bi-annual reporting obligations, on data from the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard 4 as of 1 September 2023 and on developments in the implementation of the Facility until 1 September 2023 5 , unless otherwise specified.

2.1. State of play on the implementation of RRPs

Adoption of the Recovery and Resilience Plans

Since the publication of the last Annual Report on 1 March 2022, the Council has adopted the five remaining Council Implementing Decisions (CIDs) on the RRPs of Bulgaria and Sweden on 4 May 2022, Poland on 17 June 2022, the Netherlands on 4 October 2022 and Hungary on 16 December 2022. The Commission assessed each plan expediently in a consistent and transparent manner, following the 11 criteria set out in Article 19(3) of the RRF Regulation. During the assessment process, the Commission was in close contact with the Member States to conduct a comprehensive assessment. The Commission supported Member States to put forward ambitious plans with clear and realistic milestones and targets to monitor their progress during the implementation. With all the RRPs approved and adopted, all attention is now directed towards the implementation of the plans and the ongoing revisions.

Operational arrangements

The Commission has signed operational arrangements with 24 Member States so far. In line with the RRF Regulation, these bilateral agreements further specify the modalities for monitoring, cooperation and aspects related to implementation. In addition, the operational arrangements lay out in more detail the verification mechanism for each milestone and target, and where necessary, include additional monitoring steps to follow-up on the implementation of the plan. To promote transparency, the Commission makes available the operational arrangements on its website 6 .

The conclusion and signing of the operational arrangements are key steps in the implementation of RRPs. Although signed operational arrangements are not needed to receive pre-financing, they are a pre-condition for the Member State concerned to submit its first payment request. Depending on the national framework of the Member State, the process for concluding the operational arrangements can take longer than in other instances. On 1 September 2023, only three Member States were still in the process of finalising their operational arrangements or about to sign them (DE, NL, HU) 7 .

Payment requests

By 1 September 2023, the Commission has received 31 payment requests from 19 Member States and disbursed a total amount of EUR 153.4 billion. This includes the EUR 56.6 billion in RRF pre-financing granted to 21 Member States until 31 December 2021. EUR 106.3 billion of the total amount disbursed to Member States concern non-repayable support and EUR 47.1 billion concern loans. Table 1  and Table 2  provide an overview of the submission of payment requests by the Member States and the corresponding disbursements by the Commission, following a positive assessment of the milestones and targets covered by the respective payment request. 

Table 1: Processing of payment requests 8

Requested amount

Number of M&Ts

Submission date

Payment date

Spain

EUR 10 bn

52

11 November 2021

27 December 2021

France

EUR 7.4 bn

38

26 November 2021

4 March 2022

Greece

EUR 3.6 bn

15

29 December 2021

8 April 2022

Italy

EUR 21 bn

51

30 December 2021

13 April 2022

Portugal

EUR 1.1 bn

38

25 January 2022

9 May 2022

Croatia

EUR 700 mn

34

15 March 2022

28 June 2022

Slovakia

EUR 398.7 mn

14

29 April 2022

29 July 2022

Spain

EUR 12 bn

40

30 April 2022

29 July 2022

Romania

EUR 2.6 bn

21

31 May 2022

27 October 2022

Latvia

EUR 201 mn

9

17 June 2022

7 October 2022

Italy

EUR 21 bn

45

29 June 2022

8 November 2022

Cyprus

EUR 85 mn

14

28 July 2022

2 December 2022

Bulgaria

EUR 1.37 bn

22

31 August 2022

16 December 2022

Croatia

EUR 700 mn

25

19 September 2022

16 December 2022

Portugal

EUR 1.8 bn

20

30 September 2022

8 February 2023

Greece

EUR 3.56 bn

28

30 September 2022

19 January 2023

Slovenia

EUR 49.6 mn

12

20 October 2022

20 April 2023

Slovakia

EUR 708.8 mn

16

25 October 2022

22 March 2023

Spain

EUR 6 bn

29

11 November 2022

31 March 2023

Czechia

EUR 928.2 mn

37

25 November 2022

22 March 2023

Lithuania

EUR 542 mn

33

30 November 2022

10 May 2023

Denmark

EUR 301.5 mn

25

16 December 2022

26 April 2023

Romania

EUR 2.8 bn

51

16 December 2022

Commission’s preliminary assessment adopted

Malta

EUR 52.3 mn

19

19 December 2022

8 March 2023

Austria

EUR 700 mn

44

22 December 2022

20 April 2023

Luxembourg

EUR 25 mn

26

28 December 2022

16 June 2023

Italy

EUR 19 bn

55

30 December 2022

Commission’s preliminary assessment adopted

Greece

EUR 1.72 bn

42

16 May 2023

Commission’s assessment ongoing

Estonia

EUR 286 mn

29

30 June 2023

Commission’s assessment ongoing

Croatia

EUR 700 mn

45

24 July 2023

Commission’s assessment ongoing

France

EUR 10.3 bn

55

31 July 2023

Commission’s assessment ongoing

Note: Data is presented in chronological order of the payment request submission date and net of pre-financing.

Source: European Commission

Table 2: State of play on implementation of RRF payment requests

BE

BG

CZ

DK

DE

EE

IE

EL

ES

FR

HR

IT

CY

LV

LT

LU

HU

MT

NL

AT

PL

PT

RO

SI

SK

FI

SE

27 plans approved by the Commission and adopted by the Council

21 pre-financing disbursed (EUR 56.6 billion)

*

24 Operational Arrangements signed

31 payment requests submitted to the Commission

3x

3x

2x

3x

3x

2x

2x

2x

25 payments disbursed (EUR 96.8 billion)

2x

3x

2x

2x

2x

2x

Note: * No pre-financing was requested by Ireland. ▲ As prerequisite for pre-financing, the CID had to be adopted by 31 December 2021.

Source: European Commission

While the implementation of the RRPs is broadly on track, some Member States are facing challenges in administering funds, due in part to limited administrative capacity or investment bottlenecks within the Facility’s tight timelines. The revisions of RRPs and the addition of REPowerEU chapters have also impacted the disbursement schedule of RRF funds, as the first half of 2023 has seen a slowdown in the submission of payment requests, with Member States focusing their efforts on the revision of plans and the addition of REPowerEU chapters. More information on the progress in implementing milestones and targets, based on the bi-annual reporting, is detailed in the next section.

The Commission continues to underline that the first priority remains the swift implementation of the RRPs, as demonstrated in the 2023 country-specific recommendations (CSRs), and stands ready to support Member States as they deliver on their agreed reform and investment commitments. The successful revision of the plans in 2023 is an opportunity for Member States to address issues related to administrative capacity, increase the absorption capacity of RRF funds and catch up on the disbursement schedule. This involves introducing additional reforms and investments in modified RRPs aiming to address specific regulatory hurdles and investment bottlenecks identified in the implementation so far. This also comprises measures to improve the organisation, capacity and means of national administrations directly involved in the implementation of plans. These measures can rely on the technical assistance from the Commission provided via the Technical Support Instrument (TSI). 23 Member States have received or are currently receiving general support for the horizontal aspects of RRP implementation, including the support for revision of the plans, while all 27 MS are benefiting from the thematic support linked to RRF measures’ implementation 9 .

Progress in implementing milestones and targets

In line with Article 27 of the RRF Regulation, Member States must report twice a year in the context of the European Semester on the progress made in the implementation of their RRPs. The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2106 further specifies this obligation, setting the deadlines for the bi-annual reporting at no later than by 30 April and 15 October. Member States report their progress in achieving their milestones and targets due in the past and due twelve months into the future. Whilst the data is self-reported by the Member States and not verified by the Commission, it provides a comprehensive stocktaking on the implementation of all plans and enables the monitoring of progress in implementing the RRPs.

Member States continue to report good progress in their implementation of RRPs, with a minority of milestones and targets reported as not yet complete or delayed. The bi-annual reporting round indicates that the vast majority of milestones and targets due by April 2023 are either fulfilled 10 or reported as completed 11  ( Figure 1 ). The progress of upcoming milestones and targets is also encouraging, with a significant number of milestones and targets reported as on track 12 or already completed ( Figure 2 ).

There is an increasing balance between the number of reforms and investments reported as fulfilled or completed. The progress of reforms – particularly the adoption of legal texts and relevant policy preparationswas more prominent in previous reporting rounds, as reforms had often been frontloaded in Member States’ RRPs to build the framework for subsequent investment projects to have a higher impact. Moreover, the completion of investment-related targets such as, for example, the construction of infrastructure requires some time, and such targets are typically less represented in the first schedules of payment requests even if their actual implementation might have already started. However, progress on investment is now more visible with more investment- than reform-related milestones and targets being on track to be completed in the next 12 months ( Figure 3 ). This is an expected development in the RRF, as the implementation progresses gradually from more reform-focussed to more investment-focussed milestones and targets.

Figure 1: Progress of milestones and targets due in the past, for Q1 2020 to Q1 2023

Figure 2: Progress of milestones and targets due in the future, for Q2 2023 to Q2 2024

Source: European Commission.

Figure 3: Progress of reforms- and investment-related milestones and targets

Source: European Commission.

Milestones and targets appear to be comparably implemented across all six RRF policy pillars 13 , according to the bi-annual reporting data. The most progress have been reported for measures contributing to pillar 3 on ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’, pillar 5 on ‘health, and economic, social and institutional resilience’ and pillar 4 on ‘social and territorial cohesion’ (Figure 4). These pillars – along with pillar 1 on ‘green transition’ – are supported by the highest number of measures, so it is unsurprising that they experience the most progress. 

Figure 4: Progress of milestones and targets per RRF Pillar 

Source: European Commission.

Whilst the number of M&Ts reported as delayed is overall small, the areas 14 of policy preparation, new public services and processes, as well as infrastructure upgrades appear to experience more delays in implementation (Figure 5), based on the bi-annual reporting. As these three areas cover a large number of milestones and targets in this reporting period, the delays might not be significant or unproportionate compared to the other areas.

When providing explanation for the delays, Member States reported difficulties in meeting the deadline for signatures of contracts and unexpected time lags in construction works. In general, Member States have not consistently provided detailed explanations for delays and did not generally consider them substantial.

Whilst the indicative target dates of some milestones and targets have been delayed, others have been brought forward. According to the latest round of bi-annual reporting data, the delays in the target date for implementation reported by Member States mostly affect milestones and targets that should have initially been implemented in 2022 ( Table 3 ), with a median period of 181 days of reported delays. Milestones and targets that were initially planned to be implemented in 2023 appear, at the moment, to experience fewer delays. It is also worth noting that, for several milestones and targets, the target date of implementation was brought forward 15 .

Figure 5: Type of delayed milestones and targets

Note: The classification of milestones and targets in the above figure was developed by the European Commission and is not reported as such by the Member States in the bi-annual reporting exercise.

Source: European Commission.

Table 3: Number and median period of M&Ts with a delayed or early reported target date of implementation, for reforms and investments

Initial target date of implementation

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

M&Ts for which Member States delayed the reported target date of implementation

Reforms

Number of M&Ts

8

51

135

40

2

Median period of delay (in days)

48.5

91

181

182.5

320

Investments

Number of M&Ts

0

32

139

59

7

Median period of delay (in days)

n/a

120

181

274

275

M&Ts for which Member States brought the reported target date of implementation forward

Reforms

Number of M&Ts

5

20

20

14

1

Median period of advance (in days)

115

149

246

308

366

Investments

Number of M&Ts

0

7

20

21

4

Median period of advance (in days)

n/a

131

318

365

458

Note: This table is based on self-reported data provided in the context of the bi-annual reporting, in which Member States report on the progress of forward-looking milestones and targets up to Q2 2024. As a result, no data is available on potential delays for milestones and targets to be implemented in 2025 and 2026. Milestones and targets are considered to be implemented in advance when they are implemented in the quarter previous to the one initially targeted.

Source: European Commission.

Performance of the Facility based on the common indicators

The common indicators show the progress in the implementation of the RRPs towards common objectives and the overall performance of the RRF. While in the framework of the RRF, the fulfilment of milestones and targets constitutes the key metric for the implementation of each RRP, the common indicators represent a set of 14 indicators that were established by Commission Delegated Regulation 2021/2106 16 on 28 September 2021 to display the overall performance and progress of the Facility towards its objectives 17 .

Member States report bi-annually on their progress towards the common indicators. As per the delegated Regulation 2021/2106, Member States report by 28 February (covering the reporting period of July and December of the previous year) and by 31 August (covering the reporting period of January to June of the same year). The Commission publishes the common indicators data on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard 18 , after performing a few data checks to ensure the comparability of the data 19 . In line with the requirements of the Commission Delegated Regulation, where data are published at the level of each Member State, these are presented in relative terms.

The data reported by the Member States so far show that the RRF has already achieved considerable progress towards the common indicators and across all policy pillars. To date, the data of three reporting rounds have been reviewed and published on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, covering the progress achieved in the period from February 2020 to December 2022. Since the common indicators are designed to capture progress reached on the ground, earlier stages of implementation of measures in the RRPs are often not reflected in the data.  Figure 6  shows the current state of progress towards the common indicators, reflecting important achievements towards the objectives of the Facility and the EU’s key priorities.

For instance, about 22 million Megawatt (‘MWh’) of savings in annual energy consumption have already been achieved by December 2022 thanks to support from the RRF ( In the second half of 2022, over 4 million people have been trained with RRF support (

Figure 9 ). The COVID-19 crisis also heavily disrupted EU education and training systems, and common indicator (10) reflects the contribution of the RRF to education and training and the development of skills , by displaying the number of participants in education and training due to support received through RRF measures . Reforms and investments in education and training are crucial to prepare citizens for today’s challenges, in particular the digital and green transitions, and to ensure that they have the possibility to develop the skills they need. A particular focus is placed on trainings to improve digital skills, in light of their ever-growing importance on the labour market and in society.

Figure 7 ). Reducing our energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency are among the EU’s top priorities and a pre-condition for the clean-energy transition and common indicator (1) captures the reduction in annual primary energy consumption achieved with RRF support. For context, the energy savings achieved so far approximately correspond to the installed electricity capacity in Belgium. Examples are reductions of energy consumption in buildings, schools, hospitals or in enterprises.

Until December 2022, the RRF had helped 1.43 million enterprises either through monetary or in-kind support ( Figure 8 ). The COVID-19 crisis has had a heavy impact on the entire EU economy and small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’) have particularly suffered from the crisis. Looking at the support provided to boost EU economies and to help enterprises, common indicator (9) shows the number of enterprises supported by measures under the RRF.

Figure 6: State of progress towards the common indicators 20

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

In the second half of 2022, over 4 million people have been trained with RRF support (

Figure 9 ). The COVID-19 crisis also heavily disrupted EU education and training systems, and common indicator (10) reflects the contribution of the RRF to education and training and the development of skills, by displaying the number of participants in education and training due to support received through RRF measures. Reforms and investments in education and training are crucial to prepare citizens for today’s challenges, in particular the digital and green transitions, and to ensure that they have the possibility to develop the skills they need. A particular focus is placed on trainings to improve digital skills, in light of their ever-growing importance on the labour market and in society.

Figure 7: Evolution of savings in annual primary energy consumption in MWh per year

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

Figure 8: Evolution of number of enterprises supported

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

Figure 9: Evolution of participants in education or training

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

2.2. Increased transparency in the assessment of payment requests

RRF funds can only be disbursed on the condition of satisfactorily fulfilment of the relevant milestones and targets covered by the payment request, under Article 24 of the RRF Regulation. The Commission’s assessment of the milestones and targets is a core feature of the RRF and requires detailed analysis to determine if the Member States have fulfilled their obligations in a satisfactory way.

In its Communication on the two-year anniversary of the RRF published on 21 February 2023 21 , the Commission increased predictability and transparency by presenting the implementation tools used during the assessment of payment requests. The Communication and its annexes provide a detailed description of both the framework used for assessing milestones and targets and the payment suspension methodology.

Framework for assessing milestones and targets under the RRF Regulation

The Commission published in February 2023 its framework for assessing the satisfactory fulfilment of the milestones and targets, to support national authorities, stakeholders, and the wider public, in their understanding of how the implementation of measures supported by the RRF is evaluated before each disbursement.

The satisfactorily fulfilment of milestones and targets is assessed on the basis of the CIDs approving the RRPs. The Commission relies on the description of each milestone and target in light of its context and purpose to determine the requirements that Member States must fulfil. It then establishes, based on the due justifications provided by the Member States, whether a specific milestone or target has been satisfactorily fulfilled. In a limited number of circumstances and in line with the application of the de minimis principle, minimal deviations linked to the amounts, formal requirements, timing or substance can be accepted. The full methodology representing the framework that the Commission is relying upon for conducting the assessment of payment request is presented in Annex I to the Communication published on 21 February 2023 22 .

Payment suspension process

In February 2023, the Commission also published its methodology to determine the amount to be suspended if a milestone or target is not satisfactorily fulfilled, in full respect of the principles of equal treatment and proportionality. The RRF Regulation caters for exceptional circumstances where Member States might be confronted with delays in the implementation of measures, affecting the timely fulfilment of some milestones and targets. These situations should not prevent payments from being made for milestones and targets that have been satisfactorily fulfilled 23 . The Regulation thus provides for a mechanism to give Member States additional time (up to six months) to implement the relevant milestone or target. In such situation, the RRF Regulation provides the possibility for the Commission to suspend payments partially or fully, thereby also ensuring compliance with the principle of sound financial management.

The payment suspension allows Member States to submit a payment request even if not all milestones and targets are fulfilled yet. The suspension procedure ( Figure 10 ) provides time for Member States to fulfil the relevant milestones and targets that are considered as not fulfilled within six months after the adoption of a suspension decision. Ultimately, if the Member State is not able to fulfil the relevant milestone or target within this six-month period, its financial contribution or loan support will be permanently reduced, in line with Article 24(6) of the RRF Regulation. The full methodology detailing the calculation of the amount to be suspended is presented in Annex II to the Communication published on 21 February 2023.

In 2023, the Commission encountered the first cases of non-satisfactory fulfilment 24 . In each case, the Commission outlined in a letter to the concerned Member State the reason why the milestones or targets were considered as non-fulfilled and the associated amount to be suspended in line with the procedures foreseen in the RRF Regulation. It is the concerned Member State’s prerogative to share this information with the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC). So far, the Member States concerned have shared their letter with the EFC.

Figure 10: Process for the payment suspension

Source: European Commission

2.3. Reversal of milestones and targets under the RRF

In accordance with the second sentence of Article 24(3) of the RRF Regulation, “[t]he satisfactory fulfilment of milestones and targets shall presuppose that measures related to previously satisfactorily fulfilled milestones and targets have not been reversed by the Member State concerned”.

Today, jointly with this report, the Commission publishes its framework for the application of this provision (see Annex II). The framework addresses a recommendation from the European Court of Auditors 25 and provides legal clarity and transparency on the process to be followed in case of a reversal, ensuring the continued implementation of the RRF and protection of the financial interests of the EU. The Commission can review and amend this methodology as it gathers more experience with its application. 

2.4. Revision of RRPs

The REPowerEU plan recognises that the RRF can play an important role in achieving secure, affordable and clean energy and the amended RRF Regulation entered into force in February 2023, as part of the Commission’s response to the recent energy and geopolitical developments. The RRF Regulation was thus amended in order to support new or scaled-up reforms and investments dedicated to diversifying energy supplies (in particular fossil fuels), increase energy savings, accelerate the clean energy transition and ultimately to increase the resilience, security and sustainability of the Union’s energy system. To be able to use the additional funds, the amended RRF Regulation invites Member States to revise their RRPs to add new or ‘scaled-up’ energy-related reforms and investments through a dedicated ‘REPowerEU chapter’. The amended Regulation also introduces a set of REPowerEU objectives that these added measures should achieve (see Article 21(c) of the amended RRF Regulation).

The swift implementation of the RRPs remains the first priority and revisions of the RPPs and submission of the REPowerEU chapters should not pre-empt Member States from respecting the timelines foreseen in the CIDs. Member States should continue to undertake all possible efforts to submit payment requests on time and ensure progress with reforms and investments, allowing for a timely disbursement of funds.

Since the entry into force of the amended RRF Regulation in February 2023, 20 Member States submitted their modified RRPs along with REPowerEU chapters, which will contribute to the transition of Member States towards renewable energy sources, increase energy efficiency and decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

State of play of modification of RRPs and submission of REPowerEU chapters

Member States can submit a reasoned request to the Commission to make a proposal to amend or replace their existing RRPs under four grounds for revisions 26 . Firstly, Member States should propose new or ‘scaled-up’ energy-related reforms and investments through a dedicated ‘REPowerEU chapter’. Secondly, Member States can, under Article 18(2), propose to adjust upwards or downwards their measures to factor in the updated maximum financial contribution published on 30 June 2022. Thirdly, Member States have the possibility to request an amendment of their plan if one or more milestones and targets in their RRP are no longer achievable due to objective circumstances, in line with Article 21 of the RRF Regulation. Finally, Member States had until 31 August 2023 to request support under the loan component of the RRF and to revise their plans accordingly, submitting them for assessment by the Commission. More information on the loan component is provided in the next section.

By 1 September 2023, the Commission has received 25 modified RRPs and 20 REPowerEU chapters ( Table 4 ). Eight modified RRPs (Germany, Estonia, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia and Finland), four of which include REPowerEU chapters (Estonia, France, Malta and Slovakia) were adopted by the Council. At the time of preparation of this annual report, the Commission was assessing the modifications proposed by 16 Member States. Table 5  outlines the legal bases used by Member States to amend their RRPs, in line with the RRF Regulation.

Table 4: Overview table submission of modified RRPs and REPowerEU chapters 27

Date of submission

REPowerEU Chapter submitted

Date of Commission’s positive assessment

Date of adoption by Council

Belgium

20 July 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Bulgaria

Czechia

30 June 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Denmark

31 May 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Germany

9 December 2022

No

17 January 2023

14 February 2023

Estonia

9 March 2023

Yes

12 May 2023

16 June 2023

Ireland

22 May 2023

No

26 June 2023

14 July 2023

Greece

31 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Spain

6 June 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

France

20 April 2023

Yes

26 June 2023

14 July 2023

Croatia

31 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Italy

11 July 2023

No

28 July 2023

Not adopted yet

7 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Cyprus

1 September 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Latvia

Lithuania

30 June 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Luxembourg

11 November 2022

No

9 December 2022

17 January 2023

Hungary

31 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Malta

26 April 2023

Yes

26 June 2023

14 July 2023

Netherlands

6 July 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Austria

14 July 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Poland

31 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Portugal

26 May 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Romania

Slovenia

14 July 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Slovakia

26 April 2023

Yes

26 June 2023

14 July 2023

Finland

26 January 2023

No

28 February 2023

7 March 2023

Sweden

24 August 2023

Yes

Assessment ongoing

Source: European Commission

Table 5: Legal basis used by Member States in modifying their RRPs

Addition of REPowerEU chapter (Article 21c)

Adjustment following the update of the maximum financial contribution (Article 18(2))

Amendment due to objective circumstances (Article 21)

Addition of measures to take up additional RRF loans (Article 14)

Belgium

Bulgaria

Czechia

Denmark

Germany

Estonia

Ireland

Greece

Spain

France

Croatia

Italy

Cyprus

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Hungary

Malta

Netherlands

Austria

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Slovenia

Slovakia

Finland

Sweden

Source: European Commission

Revised non-repayable support under the RRF

Under Article 18(2) of the RRF Regulation, Member States can update their RRPs to factor in the updated maximum financial contribution published on 30 June 2022. Member States who have a decreased maximum financial contribution can revise their plans accordingly. Member States who have an increased maximum financial contribution can use these additional resources to fund investments and reforms included in their revised plans or REPowerEU chapter.  Table 6 below provides an overview of Member States’ change in non-repayable financial support under Article 18.

Table 6: Change in non-repayable financial support under Article 18 of the RRF Regulation

Change in non-repayable financial support under Article 18 (in EUR, current prices)

Belgium

-1,400,569,368

Bulgaria

-578,533,524

Czechia

603,614,884

Denmark

-122,251,741

Germany

2,405,023,531

Estonia

-106,027,582

Ireland

-74,597,916

Greece

-343,234,449

Spain

7,701,317,190

France

-1,919,823,196

Croatia

-785,114,933

Italy

143,242,804

Cyprus

-90,187,539

Latvia

-128,150,411

Lithuania

-125,059,297

Luxembourg

-10,834,458

Hungary

-1,363,094,805

Malta

-58,127,595

Netherlands

-1,253,935,169

Austria

289,454,205

Poland

-1,330,690,569

Portugal

1,633,096,593

Romania

-2,119,187,698

Slovenia

-285,970,648

Slovakia

-322,838,535

Finland

-263,289,938

Sweden

-107,279,840

Source: European Commission

Loans under the RRF

To finance new investments and reforms included in the REPowerEU chapter, Member States can also benefit from the highly favourable financing conditions of RRF loans, which they had to request by 31 August 2023.  Table 7 below provides an overview of the requests (including the amount of loans) submitted by Member State by the legal deadline. This information was also shared with the European Parliament and the Council on 1 September 2023.

Table 7: Loans requested by Member States by 31 August 2023 

Amount of committed loans under first RRPs (in EUR, current prices)

Amount of additional requested loans with revision of RRPs (in EUR, current prices)

Amount of total loans to be committed* (in EUR, current prices)

Meeting or exceeding the 6.8% of GNI ceiling

Belgium

264,200,000

264,200,000

No

Bulgaria

No

Czechia

818,100,000

818,100,000

No

Denmark

No

Germany

No

Estonia

No

Ireland

No

Greece

12,727,538,920

5,000,000,000

17,727,538,920

Yes

Spain

84,267,050,000

84,267,050,000

No

France

No

Croatia

4,442,508,187

4,442,508,187

Yes

Italy

122,601,810,400

122,601,810,400

Yes

Cyprus

200,320,000

200,320,000

No

Latvia

No

Lithuania

1,722,000,000

1,722,000,000

No

Luxembourg

No

Hungary

3,920,000,000

3,920,000,000

No

Malta

No

Netherlands

No

Austria

No

Poland

11,506,500,000

23,034,803,518

34,541,303,518

Yes

Portugal

2,699,000,000

3,191,756,353

5,890,756,353

No

Romania

14,942,153,000

14,942,153,000

Yes

Slovenia

705,370,000

587,000,000

1,292,370,000

No

Slovakia

No

Finland

No

Sweden

No

EU 27

165,382,692,320

127,247,418,058

292,630,110,378

Note: *The loan requests submitted by 31 August 2023 are still to be assessed by the Commission in line with Article 19 of the RRF Regulation and the revised plans to be approved by the Council. This table therefore only gives a preliminary view of what the total amount of loans committed under the RRF could be.

Source: European Commission

Under REPowerEU, Member States will be able to receive pre-financing in two tranches, between 2023 and 2024. This will be possible after submitting the REPowerEU chapter, provided that the relevant CIDs are adopted by the Council by 31 December 2023. For measures included in the REPowerEU chapters, Member States will be able to request pre-financing of up to 20% of the additional REPowerEU funding sources from the Emissions Trading System (‘ETS’) allowances and the transfers from Brexit Adjustment Reserve (‘BAR’), the increased allocation under the RRF as updated by June 2022, and under the remaining RRF loan component.

2.5. State of play on financing the RRF

State of play of the NextGenerationEU Funding

Under NextGenerationEU, the Commission can raise up to EUR 806.9 billion between mid-2021 and 2026 through the issuance of EU-Bonds. This makes the EU one of the largest issuers of euro-denominated debt in this period. Despite market volatility over the past year, the Commission was able to meet in a timely manner all its disbursement commitments under NextGenerationEU and continue to pursue its objectives of raising funds in the markets in an effective and efficient way.

In June 2022, the Commission announced its funding plan for the period June to end-December 2022. In line with this funding plan, the Commission raised an additional EUR 50 billion in long-term funding for NextGenerationEU, complemented by short-term EU-Bills issuances. The bonds issued were a combination of conventional and green bonds, in full respect of the NextGenerationEU green bond framework. These transactions have brought the total outstanding amount of NextGenerationEU bonds to EUR 171 billion, of which EUR 36.5 billion were raised by issuing green bonds. The total amount of EU-Bills outstanding at the end of December was EUR 17 billion. 28  

In December 2022, the Commission announced its funding plan for the period January to end-June 2023, which was comprised of long-term funding operations of up to EUR 80 billion. Eventually, EUR 78 billion in EU-Bonds was issued, with an average maturity of around 14 years. In the first half of 2023, the Commission also issued 3-month and 6-month EU-Bills through bi-monthly auctions to meet short-term funding needs, with EUR 17.9 billion in EU-Bills outstanding at the end of June 2023. Twelve auctions were used to issue 24 EU-Bills, with an average size of around EUR 1 billion each.

On the back of these successful issuances, the EU has been able to continue the smooth funding of Member States’ RRPs through timely disbursements of the proceeds. The Commission made all disbursements to Member States under the RRF as soon as they fell due, on average within six working days after the authorisation of the disbursement. No delays were experienced.

Green Bond framework

In 2020 the Commission announced that 30% of NextGenerationEU (NGEU) bonds would be issued as green bonds. This demonstrates the Commission's commitment to sustainable finance, bringing a new highly-rated and liquid green asset to the market, giving access to green investments for a wide range of investors, and strengthened the role of the European Union and of the euro in the sustainable finance markets.

The NextGenerationEU green bond proceeds finance the share of climate-relevant expenditure in the RRF. Every Member State has to dedicate at least 37% of the total value of their national RRP to climate-relevant investments and reforms. Member States have exceeded this target, with the estimated climate expenditure now amounting to about 40%.

The Commission has issued its first NextGenerationEU green bond in October 2021. Through this 15-year bond, the Commission raised EUR 12 billion, making it the world's largest green bond transaction to date.

NextGenerationEU green bonds expenditure relate so far mainly to energy efficiency (47.6% of allocated expenditures) and clean transport and infrastructure (42%). Climate change adaptation is the third biggest category of expenditure (with 5.6% of expenditures) among nine categories of expenditure to which NextGenerationEU green bonds proceeds can be allocated.

2.6. Controls and audit in the implementation of the RRF

The RRF is a performance-based instrument. Payments by the Commission to Member States are based on the satisfactory fulfilment of pre-defined milestones and targets set out in the RRPs. For each RRP, the CID establishes the associated set of milestones and targets and the relevant amount for each instalment. As a result, the legality and regularity of the payments under the RRF is solely based on the satisfactory fulfilment of milestones and targets. Member States are the beneficiaries of the RRF funds, which, once disbursed, enter the national budget.

The RRF control framework is tailored to the unique nature of the RRF as an EU spending programme and is built upon two main pillars: on the one hand, the legality and regularity of transactions, which is the main responsibility of the Commission, and on the other hand the protection of the financial interests of the Union, whose responsibility lies mainly with the Member States but on which the Commission also carries out specific checks.

The Commission has further strengthened the robustness of the RRF control framework, including its audit work. The audit results and observations do not identify critical or high risks that would qualify the Declaration of Assurance provided by the Director-General of DG ECFIN in its Annual Activity Report 29 , which covers the RRF.

Controls over the legality and regularity of commitments and payments

The Commission’s control environment comprises two layers: ex-ante controls before the payment is made and ex-post audits thereafter.

When a payment request is submitted by a Member State, the Commission assesses in the ex-ante control the satisfactory fulfilment of each milestone and target indicated as completed by the Member State. To verify whether the milestones and targets have been satisfactorily fulfilled, the evidence provided by the Member State is assessed by dedicated Commission-wide country teams. The Commission may ask for additional information and may decide to carry out additional controls in order to obtain the necessary complementary assurance on the achievement of the milestones and targets before making the payment. If some of the milestones and targets have not been satisfactorily fulfilled, the payment can be partially suspended.

In 2022, the Commission assessed 13 payment requests including 366 milestones and targets and concluded that all milestones and targets had been satisfactorily fulfilled. Consequently, no suspension nor reduction of payments were needed in 2022.

The Commission also carries out risk-based ex-post audits on milestones and targets to obtain additional assurance that the information provided by the Member State was correct. In line with its audit strategy, for 2022 the Commission carried out seven ex-post audits on milestones and targets regarding the first payment requests submitted by France, Italy, Portugal, Croatia and Romania as well as the second payment request submitted by Croatia and Spain. Based on a risk-assessment, the audit work covered all 15 milestones and targets identified as ‘high risk’ and 12 identified as ‘medium-risk’. In 2023, a further seven audits are being carried out for payment requests from Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Spain. Based on the final audit reports issued so far, the Commission concluded that the audited milestones and targets have been satisfactorily fulfilled. Had the Commission considered ex-post that a milestone or a target as not satisfactorily fulfilled, it would have initiated financial corrections to recover the undue part of the payment made.

Controls to ensure adequate protection of the financial interests of the Union, in the manner prescribed by Article 22 of the RRF regulation

Each Member State must put in place and maintain effective and efficient control systems and take appropriate action to protect the financial interests of the Union. Each Member State had to detail its national control system in their national RRP, and such systems could be assessed by the Commission as either ‘adequate’ (A) or ‘insufficient’ (C). Had the arrangements proposed by the Member State been assessed as insufficient, the plan would not have been approved. When assessing the five RRPs approved in 2022, after adoption of the previous annual report, the Commission concluded that they had an adequate control system, like those of the other 22 RRPs. As it was the case in previous assessments, the Commission also identified some deficiencies in each of the five RRPs positively assessed in 2022 and required the Member States concerned to take additional remedial measures by adding specific milestones on audit and control in their respective RRPs. The corresponding milestones and targets are included in the Annex to the CID and must be fulfilled before any regular payment can be made. Upon receiving the corresponding payment request, the Commission assesses the satisfactory fulfilment of these specific milestones on audit and control and analyses the submitted management declarations and audit summaries.

In addition, and in line with its audit strategy, the Commission conducts system audits that draw upon information available within the Commission and audit summaries and management declarations submitted by the Member States, together with their payment requests. In the context of the system audits, the Commission checks the procedures in place in Member States to prevent, detect and correct fraud, corruption, and conflict of interest, as well as double-funding. This also includes risk-based checks on the systems to collect and store data concerning beneficiaries, contractors, subcontractors, and beneficial owners. The Commission is empowered to recover funds or launch financial corrections if fraud, corruption or conflict of interests have been identified and not corrected by the Member States or in case Member States commit serious breaches of the obligations included in the financing and loan agreements.

The Commission carried out 16 system audits in 2022 30  and another 11 in 2023 so far 31 , issuing where relevant recommendations with strict implementation deadlines, and will have audited all Member States at least once by the end of 2023. In the context of these audits, the Commission also checks that the Member States systems generally provide for, and check, compliance with EU and national rules, including specific elements of the public procurement procedure and state aid rules. Following up on recommendations by the European Court of Auditors, the Commission has intensified further its audit work to include, for instance, more targeted system audits when and where weaknesses or risks are detected.

In addition, the Commission is also conducting audits on the work done by the national audit authorities in the Member States. The objective of these compliance audits is to assess the reliability of the work performed at national level, both regarding audits on milestones and targets and audits carried out on the national control systems to ensure compliance with EU and national rules and the protection of the EU’s financial interests.

2.7. Outreach on RRP implementation and transparency

Inter-institutional dialogue and exchanges

The Commission has been closely engaging with the European Parliament and the Council since the beginning of the RRF implementation. The Commission continues to share without delay all RRPs and modified plans submitted by Member States, as well as all preliminary assessments of payment requests, with both the European Parliament and the Council on equal terms. This ensures a transparent flow of information with a high level of engagement between the institutions throughout the implementation phase.

As regards the European Parliament, the Commission is holding regular exchanges to discuss horizontal topics concerning the RRF. Since the setting-up of the RRF, the Commission has been invited to and participated in eleven high-level Recovery and Resilience Dialogues. Moreover, the Commission engages regularly with the Members of the European Parliament in the standing Working Group of the joint ECON-BUDG Committees and participated overall in 32 meetings. In addition, the Commission is invited on a regular basis to various other committees to exchange views on matters related to the RRF, including the REGI, CONT and ENVI committees. The Commission publishes all presentations delivered in the context of the standing Working Group, on a dedicated website 32 .

The Commission has also set up an informal expert group to exchange with Member States on the implementation of the RRF and is frequently organising exchanges of views and good practices. This group is an important forum to discuss among the experts from the Member States as well as the Commission cross-cutting aspects on the RRF. The topics discussed in this format show a great variety, ranging from financial matters to governance and audit and control, as well as issues related to specific policy areas. As an example, the 19th meeting in March 2023 was dedicated to helping Member States include and mainstream equality considerations in the REPowerEU chapter and the revised RRPs. Administrative capacity issues were also addressed at the 20th meeting in May 2023 and will be further discussed at another meeting scheduled for autumn 2023. The expert group facilitates and promotes the exchange of good practices regarding many elements of RRF implementation. The Commission publishes all relevant documents, such as agendas, minutes, reports, opinions, recommendations and others, on a dedicated website 33 .

To date, the Commission has organised 21 meetings of the informal RRF expert group. In December 2022, the Commission organised the first full-day physical meeting with all experts from Member States. In this 16th meeting of the group, Member States presented their good practices on three topics: (1) the role of the coordinating authority and the governance of RRF implementation, (2) the involvement of stakeholders in the preparation and implementation of RRPs, and (3) communication and visibility aspects of the RRF. Another physical meeting of the expert group is expected in Autumn 2023.

Communication and visibility requirements

As for other Union funds, Member States are under an obligation to ensure that the recipients of Union funding under the RRF acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the funding. In this respect, Article 34(2) of the RRF Regulation, as operationalised by Article 10 of the Financing Agreements between the Commission and the Member States, sets a number of communication and visibility requirements. These include setting up a communication strategy, displaying, where applicable, the EU emblem with the appropriate funding statement and establishing and maintaining a single web space. Despite these communication and visibility obligations, the results of a 2022 Eurobarometer survey 34 show that, while there is a good knowledge among EU citizens of the existence of the RRPs for their countries (with differences across Member States), there is insufficient awareness that the RRPs are funded (fully or in part) by the EU. This shows the need for Member States to step up their efforts. The Commission continues to be in discussions with Member States to ensure compliance with their obligations. Compliance with the communication requirements is also systematically part of the ex-post audits of milestones and targets carried out by the Commission. The Commission provides guidance to Member States through bilateral exchanges and through the INFORM EU network, bringing together communicators from Member States and the Commission across EU funds, including the RRF. In this context, the Commission also continues to provide support to Member States in their implementation of the communication strategies included in the RRPs. Eight Member States are currently participating in a multi-country TSI supported project on building capacities for effective communication of the benefits of the RRPs.

Interactive map of projects supported by the RRF

The accelerated implementation of the RRF and the efficient delivery on its objectives require an increasingly high level of transparency on its functioning and on the concrete use of the RRF funding by Member States. For this purpose, the Commission regularly publishes information on the website dedicated to the RRF 35 (including on the individual RRPs in the dedicated country pages 36 ) and has set up the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard 37 , providing real-time information on the disbursements and progress made by Member States, as well as additional data, indicators and thematic analyses.

To further increase the visibility and transparency of the RRF, the Commission has launched an interactive map of projects 38  supported by the RRF in each Member State. The map provides an overview of selected reforms and investments, points to their geographical location and offers information on their state of play. The map also includes links to online resources providing more detailed information, such as national RRF websites and, where available, the websites of the specific RRF-funded projects. The map was officially launched on 31 March 2023. It will be regularly updated and populated with additional implementation information. The first update took place on 24 May 2023, bringing the total number of projects showcased at that point to over 430 across all Member States. 

Map of projects supported by the RRF

Final recipients under the RRF

The REPowerEU Regulation strengthened transparency regarding the use of RRF funds through the inclusion of a new obligation for Member States to publish data on final recipients. In the context of the RRF, a final recipient is understood as the last entity receiving funds under the RRF that is not a contractor or a subcontractor, for example, citizens, regional or local authorities, or SMEs, and as such can be either a legal or a natural person. The new Article 25a of the amended RRF Regulation requires the Member States to create a publicly available and easy to use portal where they publish data on the 100 final recipients receiving the highest amount of funding for the implementation of measures under the RRF, and to update that data twice a year 39 . The Commission is then tasked to centralise and publish the data together with the links to the Member States’ national portals on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

For this purpose, the Commission provided guidance to the Member States to facilitate the publication of data on the 100 largest final recipients and ensure comparability, consistency and equal treatment, including in the context of the 20th and 21st meeting of the informal expert group for the implementation of the RRF. Member States should report on any measure included in the RRP where there has already been a disbursement to a final recipient, irrespective of whether the Member State has already submitted a payment request and received funding under the Facility, since Member States receive regular payments ex-post once the Commission has assessed that relevant milestones and targets have been satisfactorily fulfilled. To ensure consistency and coherence in the presentation of the data on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, the Commission has also asked the Member States to provide structured data via its IT tool for the RRF, FENIX, and a dedicated template.

To date, 15 Member States have provided data on the 100 final recipients receiving the highest amount of funding for the implementation of measures in their RRPs, and this data has also been published on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard 40 . In its guidance on RRPs in the context of REPowerEU published in February 2023, the Commission suggested the first information reporting exercise to happen in parallel to the April 2023 bi-annual reporting. Many Member States have followed this guidance and already published data on the 100 largest final recipients on their national portals. Of the 16 Member States who have provided data, the majority (12 Member States, namely Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden) have published the data on their national portals and submitted structured data to the Commission, while three Member States (Estonia, Finland, and Poland) have published the data on their national portal. As all Member States have the obligation to publish and update the data twice a year, starting from the entry into force of the REPowerEU Regulation on 1 March 2023, it is expected that the remaining Member States will follow and publish data on the 100 largest final recipients under their RRP in 2023. 

The Commission encourages Member States that have not yet submitted the data on the 100 largest final recipients to do so without delay in order to comply with the legal requirements of the Regulation and to ensure the necessary transparency on the recipients of RRF funds.

The analysis of the data on the largest final recipients in each Member State can provide valuable insights and lessons for the implementation of the RRF. The data allows for enhanced transparency regarding where the RRF funding flows and the impact of the RRF on the ground, and further complements the already available data on the implementation of the RRPs, for instance, regarding fulfilled milestones and targets and the disbursements per pillar.

The size of payments to the 100 largest final recipients varies significantly across those Member States where data is available. This is explained by the different Member States’ allocation and heterogenous nature of RRPs. The highest amount received by a listed final recipient is more than EUR 20 billion, while the lowest amount is EUR 2,450. The average value of all amounts received is almost EUR 49 million and the median value is significantly lower at approximately EUR 3 million. Within each Member State, a similar variety can be observed regarding how the RRF funding is spread across the 100 largest final recipients and the respective highest and lowest amounts received (see  Figure 11 ).

Figure 11: Spread of the largest final recipients per Member State 41 42

Source: European Commission’s own calculation based on the final recipients’ data provided by Member States

The majority of the ten largest final recipients are public entities, and the measures which they have received RRF funding for are spread relatively evenly across the RRF policy pillars. According to Commission estimates, on average almost two-thirds of the ten largest final recipients are public entities and approximately 27% are private entities (the nature of the remaining final recipients is mixed) 43 . Overall, the share of funds received by the ten largest final recipients in each Member State (in the 16 Member States where data is available) represents 12.7% of all RRF funds received by these 16 Member States. Looking specifically at private entities among the ten largest recipients, the share of funds they received represents approximately 1.9% of all RRF funds of those 16 Member States. In addition to these recipients, there are many more investments and schemes that target SMEs more specifically across all RRPs. An analysis of the associated measures which final recipients have received funding for can also provide a clear indication regarding which policy goals and broad sectors the funding under the RRF has supported. The available data 44  for the 100 largest final recipients shows that the associated measures are spread across the six policy pillars in a broadly balanced way (see 

Figure 12 ), reinforcing the notion that the RRF provides support to the Member States that represents a comprehensive and balanced response to the economic and social situation. The data available so far also show that the largest final recipients under the RRF have been mostly involved in implementing measures contributing to the digital transition, closely followed by investments in smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in social and territorial cohesion and green investments, showcasing the importance which Member States have attributed to spurring the economic and social recovery after the COVID-19 crisis as well as to preparing EU economies, societies and public administrations for the green and digital transitions, in complementarity with cohesion policy funds 45 .

The largest payments are linked to infrastructure projects, digitalisation and mobility, while final recipients have most often received financial support for measures in education and other investments in human capital. The largest sums of funding that final recipients have received in those Member States where data is available are related to investments in territorial infrastructure and services, e-government and digital public services, and sustainable mobility, representing policy areas where the investments are typically large and more expensive. When considering the number of associated measures instead of the sums received, it emerges that the 100 largest final recipients have most often received RRF funding for the implementation of measures in the areas of general, vocational and higher education, e-government and digital public services, human capital in digitalisation, and energy efficiency. This reflects the emphasis which many Member States have given in their plans to education and training measures and to upskilling and reskilling employees, the unemployed and the broader population for the digital transition, as well as to furthering the green and digital transitions.

Looking ahead, the Commission will continue to review the available data to be able to draw lessons learned for the implementation of the Facility. The data from the 100 largest recipients will also be used to feed the aforementioned interactive map on RRF projects.

Figure 12: Contribution of the amounts received and associated measures which the 100 largest final recipients receive support for towards the six policy pillars 46

Source: European Commission’s own calculation based on the final recipients’ data provided by Member States

RRF Annual Events

Annual Events are the key communication moment on the RRF implementation at national level. The requirement for the Commission and the Member States to hold joint communication activities on RRF funding is enshrined in Article 34 of the RRF Regulation and Article 10 of the Financing Agreements. These events bring together key institutions, stakeholders (including social partners and civil society representatives) and recipients of RRF support, among others, to discuss the progress in implementing the various projects proposed by Member States in their national RRPs. The European Parliament Liaison Offices (EPLOs) in the Member States, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) national representatives and the Committee of the Regions (CORs) are also invited to participate in these events.

By 1 September 2023, 22 Annual Events had taken place in as many Member States. Cooperation on RRF communication is well established between the European Semester Officers in the Commission Representations and the national administrations. Joint efforts in organising the Annual Events with high-level representatives of Member States and the Commission increase the visibility of the RRF. These events provide excellent opportunities for press engagement, thereby broadening the audience beyond the regular stakeholders and providing a much wider outreach. Indeed, most events have also been live-streamed with recordings of the events, as well as other communication material, available in the individual country pages on the website dedicated to the RRF and the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard. More events are envisaged later in 2023 and next year as the implementation of the RRPs, including the newly adopted REPowerEU chapters, progresses.

Consultation with stakeholders

Member States have adopted different approaches to stakeholders’ consultation in the context of preparing and implementing their respective RRPs. The RRP Regulation requires Member States to provide, as part of their RRPs, a summary of the stakeholders’ consultations conducted, including social partners, civil society organisations as well as local and regional authorities. The revised RRF Regulation requires Member States to provide a further summary of the outcome of the consultation process undertaken with stakeholders, including local and regional authorities, on the measures included in the REPowerEU chapter. The summary should also include a description of how the design of REPowerEU measures has taken into account the feedback received and an indication of how it will continue to be taken into account during the implementation. Overall, stakeholders shared with the Commission heterogeneous feedback on the consultation processes at national level, ranging from regular and granular consultations to more limited ones. Local and regional authorities often found their involvement in the numerous policy measures contained in the programmes to be uneven. This is partly due to the different pace of implementation of reforms and investments and the complexity and diversity of the measures contained in the RRPs in some Member States. In this regard, the inclusion of the REPowerEU chapter is indeed an opportunity to pave the way for greater involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including social partners, civil society organisations as well as local and regional authorities.

In the implementation phase, the Commission has been calling and continues to call on all Member States to engage actively and effectively with social partners, local and regional authorities and other stakeholders, in particular representatives of civil society organisations, through regular exchanges. The implementation of the RRPs is an opportunity to engage also on the broader economic, employment, social and sustainability policy coordination agenda and will contribute to commonly identify challenges and define solutions. Effective involvement is indeed crucial as stakeholder input and engagement will help ensure the soundness, success and timeliness of the planned reforms and investments. Moreover, the relevant actors involved, serving as a horizontal platform to exchange views on the implementation and ensuring close cooperation. In January 2023, the Commission published a Communication to strengthen social dialogue in the EU 47 , as well as a proposal for a Council recommendation on the role of social dialogue which was adopted by the Council on 12 June 2023. The recommendation calls on Member States to involve social partners in a systematic, meaningful and timely manner involved in the design and implementation of employment and social policies and, where relevant, economic and other public policies, including in the context of the European Semester.

Outreach to the press

The Commission has been communicating extensively on the implementation of the RRF with the press, ever since the RRF’s inception. The Commission has made sure to reach out to national correspondents and specialised journalists to ensure a wide coverage and broad understanding by the general public of the main issues pertaining to the RRF and its implementation on the ground, issuing over 200 press releases and press materials and organising numerous press conferences and technical briefings both in Brussels and in Member States, with the support of the Commission’s Representations. The Commission also provided extensive and timely feedback both in writing and orally to national and international journalists, addressing their sustained high interest in the instrument.

Additional RRF communication activities by the Representations of the European Commission in the Member States

Communicating on the benefits of the national RRPs is also a core communication task of all the Representations of the European Commission the Member States. Apart from the “annual events”, numerous other outreach activities are implemented in close cooperation with European Semester Officers and other teams within the Representations. In many cases also stakeholders, national and regional authorities and other external partners are involved in the communication efforts. At the occasion of public discussions and media events, the impact of the national RRPs on the economy and the life quality for citizens is widely discussed.

3.Contribution of the Facility to the RRF Objectives

Pursuant to Article 3 of the RRF Regulation, reforms and investments included in the RRPs should contribute to the six policy pillars 48 defining the scope of the Facility, while taking into account the specific situation and challenges of the Member States. The RRF Regulation also requires each Member State to dedicate at least 37% of its RRP total allocation to measures contributing to climate objectives and at least 20% of the total allocation to digital objectives, based on the ex-ante costing estimate of those measures. 

The Commission developed a methodology to report on the contribution of each plan to the Facility’s six pillars, where each (sub-)measure was tagged under one primary and one secondary policy area (according to a list of policy areas established by the Commission) which are associated to one of the six pillars, reflecting that a reform or investment can be related to several pillars. To the extent possible, the pillar reporting is consistent with other tagging exercises (climate, digital, social expenditure). The share of RRF funds contributing to each policy pillar is illustrated in  Figure 13 .

Figure 13: Share of RRF funds contributing to each policy pillar

Note: Each measure contributes towards two of the six policy pillars, therefore the total contribution to all pillars displayed on this chart amounts to 200% of the RRF funds allocated to Member States. The percentages shown for the contribution to the green transition and digital transformation pillars are different from the percentages shown for the contribution to the climate and digital objectives; the latter are calculated according to a different methodology (detailed in Annexes VI and VII of the RRF Regulation). The blue-coloured (bottom) parts represent those measures that have been tagged and assigned to the pillar as primary policy area, while the red-coloured (top) parts represent measures tagged as secondary policy area.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard

3.1. Contribution of the Facility to the green transition (i.e. Pillar 1)

The RRF will help achieve the EU’s targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The measures supported by the RRF are contributing to meet the EU’s climate ambition by promoting sustainable mobility, increasing energy efficiency and promoting a higher deployment of renewable energy sources. They will also ensure progress towards climate adaption and other environmental objectives such as reducing air pollution, promoting the circular economy or restoring and protecting biodiversity. A total of EUR 254 billion 49   or 50 percent of Member States’ total allocation to-datehas been dedicated to measures contributing to the green transition pillar, which can be broken down in 11 policy areas (see  Figure 14 ). 50

Figure 14: Breakdown of expenditure supporting the green transition, by policy area

Note: This chart shows a breakdown of the estimated contribution to the policy pillar according to a list of policy areas established by the European Commission. The percentage relates to the overall share of the plan tagged under this policy pillar.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

The reforms and investments that support climate objectives in Member States’ RRPs have exceeded the target of 37% of total allocation set in the RRF Regulation (Figure 15). Total estimated climate expenditure in the adopted plans amounts to EUR 204 billion, which represents about 40% of the total plans’ allocation as calculated according to the climate tagging methodology. 51  

Figure 15: Contribution to climate objectives as share of RRP allocation

Note: The RRPs had to specify and justify to what extent each measure contributes fully (100%), partly (40%) or has no impact (0%) on the climate objectives. The contributions to climate objectives have been calculated using Annexes VI and VII of the RRF Regulation, respectively. Combining the coefficients with the cost estimates of each measure allows calculating to what degree the plans contribute to the climate targets.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

Out of the 705 milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled 52 so far, 261 contribute to pillar 1, including 246 milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the 1 March 2022, i.e. since the last RRF annual report. Since 1 March 2022, the most progress has been made in the policy areas of energy efficiency (63 milestones and targets fulfilled in 52 measures since 1 March 2022), sustainable mobility (60 M&Ts in 47 measures), and renewable energy and networks (40 M&Ts in 30 measures) when considering primary and secondary policy areas Figure ( Figure 16 ). Most milestones and targets are the first step in the implementation of measures contributing to the green transition. A few examples of measures in the green transition pillar implemented since 1 March 2022 are presented in the box below. 

Figure 16: Number of measures in pillar 1 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area

Source: European Commission

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the green transition pillar

Reforms

ØSlovakia has approved legislation to improve waste management in the construction and demolition sector.

ØGreece introduced a reform to streamline and digitize the licencing framework for renewables and passed a law to implement the Guarantees of Origin system supporting renewable energy for households.

ØDenmark introduced a reform which entails higher taxation on greenhouse gas emission incentivizing lower emissions from Danish businesses as well as tax deductions fostering green investments.

Investments

ØBulgaria introduced investments to support green and efficient public transport services as well as a reform to further the green energy transition. The RRF provides EUR 110.5 million for the construction of a section of line 3 of the Sofia metro, for a total length of 3 km covering three stations, which will provide a clean, rapid and efficient public transport service to passengers with intermodal connections. The investment is expected to allow the transport of 7.6 million passengers per year on average as of 2026 and to lead to a reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Medical University Station on Metro line 3

Copyright: Bulgarian authorities

ØCzechia invested in sustainable transport by completing road and railway safety projects and by renovating railway bridges and tunnels.

ØCroatia has introduced investments to construct and renovate public water supply networks.

ØSpain has put in place mechanisms to support investments to deploy renewable energy sources in buildings and in industrial processes and to supported initiatives carried out by energy communities.

Sustainable Mobility

Measures supporting sustainable mobility represent around a third of the climate expenditure financed by the Facility, thereby constituting the most supported green transition pillar (31% of allocation or EUR 79.4 billion). These measures consist of, among others, investments in zero or low emissions vehicles, investments in the development of urban public transport, and investments in infrastructure for recharging. Investments in the modernisation of railway infrastructure, including the purchase of modern rail rolling stock, makes up the majority of the funding at EUR 42 billion. Some RRPs also include ambitious reforms aimed at establishing taxation regimes or changing the regulatory environment in view of enabling the roll out of zero emission mobility. The reforms tackle the overall regulatory framework and include strategies to support sustainable urban mobility and collective transport. The plans also include reforms introducing competition in port services and reform the maritime sector and inland waterways.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency accounts for 29% of the total expenditures under the green transition pillar (with a total cost of EUR 72.8 billion). Member States have included in their plans large investments in energy renovations of private and public buildings and investments in the construction of new highly energy efficient buildings. The majority of investments concern the energy efficiency of residential buildings (at EUR 31 billion), which typically targets a reduction in primary energy consumption of 30% or more. Beyond buildings, investments in other sectors will help to decarbonise the production processes in SMEs, larger enterprises and district heating systems, for instance by promoting the integration of cleaner and more efficient technologies for manufacturing processes and centralised heat production (at EUR 7 billion). To this end, some RRPs also include reforms to tackle barriers for energy efficiency, such as amendments to the regulatory framework or the harmonisation of support mechanisms through one-stop shops.

Renewable Energy and Networks

Overall, total estimated expenditure in clean power – renewable energy and networks – accounts for 14% of the total expenditures under the green transition pillar (at a total cost of EUR 35.3 billion). Many RRPs include measures dedicated to clean energy, such as investments in renewable energy generation, both in already mature renewable technologies as well as innovative solutions. Approximately two-thirds of the overall investment in this area will be spent on renewables technologies (EUR 24 billion), with the remaining amount allocated to investments in energy networks and infrastructure (EUR 11 billion). Increasing the share of renewables also requires an ambitious reform agenda. To this end, the reforms included in the plans aim to create a stable regulatory environment and appropriate synergies between public and private investment, simplify administrative procedures and to adopt new or prolong existing support schemes.

3.2. Contribution of the Facility to the digital transformation (i.e. Pillar 2)

The RRF provides a significant contribution to the digital transformation in the Union. Plans cover a range of measures, including deployment of next generation digital infrastructures and advanced technologies, digital skills development for the population and the workforce, and support to the digitalisation of enterprises as well as of public services. A total of EUR 144 billion will contribute to the digital transformation pillar, distributed across digital policy areas as shown in Figure 17 . 53

Figure 17: Breakdown of expenditure supporting the digital transformation per policy area

Note: This chart shows a breakdown of the estimated contribution to the policy pillar according to a list of policy areas established by the European Commission. The percentage relates to the overall share of the plan tagged under this policy pillar.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

The reforms and investments that support digital objectives in Member States’ RRPs have exceeded the target of 20% of total allocation set in the RRF ( Figure 18 ). To date, the total digital estimated expenditure in the plans corresponds to EUR 130 billion, about 26% of the total allocation of the plans, as calculated according to the digital tagging methodology. 54

Among the 705 milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled so far, 184 milestones and targets contribute to pillar 2, including 178 milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since 1 March 2022). The most progress has been made in the policy areas of e-government, digital public services and local digital ecosystems (85 milestones and targets fulfilled in 72 measures since 1 March 2022), human capital in digitalisation (40 M&Ts in 30 measures), and digitalisation of business (29 M&Ts in 20 measures) ( Figure 19 Figure 19 ). A few examples drawing from payment requests which have been positively assessed are presented in the box below. They focus on key areas linked to digital policy but other areas such as connectivity are also of importance.

Figure 18: Contribution to digital objectives as share of RRP allocation

Note: The RRPs had to specify and justify to what extent each measure contributes fully (100%), partly (40%) or has no impact (0%) on the digital objectives. The contributions to digital objectives have been calculated using Annexes VI and VII of the RRF Regulation, respectively. Combining the coefficients with the cost estimates of each measure allows calculating to what degree the plans contribute to the digital targets.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

Figure 19: Number of measures in pillar 2 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area

Source: European Commission

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the digital transformation pillar

Reforms

ØRomania adopted a reform to accelerate the national roll-out of 5G networks, in accordance with security regulations, and to provide broadband coverage for white areas (small rural municipalities, isolated localities, disadvantaged inhabited areas), tackling the rural-urban digital divide, reducing the administrative burden and streamlining procedures and fees, creating the prerequisites for equal access to digital services and internet access.

ØSlovakia approved the National Concept for Informatisation of Public Administration, which sets out the framework for digital reforms in line with the RRP. In particular, in the context of the cybersecurity reform, the National Concept will set the framework for standardisation of cybersecurity requirements while clarifying that further specific actions will be necessary to set the technical and procedural standards of cybersecurity.

ØSlovenia established the Informatics Development Council which shall act as a central forum for the public administration for the coordination at operational level related to information technology investment, standards and other technological developments in particular where compatibility of the systems is essential for their efficient operation and maintenance.

Investments

ØAustria introduced measures to support the digitalisation of schools and education to provide for a fair and equal access to basic digital skills. The RRF funds an investment of EUR 171.7 million to provide laptops and tablets to pupils at lower secondary level. This investment is accompanied by a reform aimed at improving the infrastructure in the various school buildings, in order to ensure an optimal use of the digital devices provided to pupils.

A school in Innsbruck (Tyrol, Austria) with computers supported by the RRF

Copyright: Representation of the European Commission in Austria/APA-Fotoservice/ Hetfleisch

ØDenmark developed and made available new digital solutions to make the healthcare system more connected following the COVID-19 pandemic. The solutions include the use of digital technologies and video consultations.

ØSpain invested in digitalising major cultural establishments such as the National Prado Museum, the National Museum Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Spanish National Library as well as other library assets from the state administrations or private entities, archive systems, inventories and records of historical heritage, including audio-visual heritage.

ØItaly awarded public contracts for all five connectivity projects that are part of the “Fast internet connections” investment. These public contracts aim at procuring the completion of the national ultra-fast and 5G telecommunications network throughout the Italian territory.

ØMalta started the implementation of secure digital solutions and tools to support justice sector users by simplifying processes, increasing the accessibility to justice (in terms of documentation but also remote testimony), and strengthening the efficiency of the justice system in line with the Digital Justice Strategy.

ØPortugal launched the Academy Portugal Digital, an online platform that allows users to assess their digital skills and receive personalized digital training courses.

E-government and digital public services

Measures supporting the digitalisation of public services and e-government represent more than a third of the digital expenditure financed by the Facility, this being the most supported digital policy area (37% of the digital transformation pillar or EUR 53 billion). These measures seek to modernise and improve public administration processes, in order to make them more user-friendly, citizen-oriented and interoperable and to boost the access to and uptake of digital public services by individuals and businesses. Many RRPs include reforms aimed at introducing or improving e-government solutions, such as eID deployment, at ensuring the interoperability of digital public platforms, as well as improving data collection and management. A number of RRPs also include investments aimed at integrating advanced technologies (such as government cloud) in government processes, as well as strengthening the public sector’s cybersecurity capacity. Measures aimed at the digitalisation of national healthcare and justice systems are also present in many RRPs. 

The digitalisation of public services concerns several policy areas and provides synergies with the five other pillars supported by the Facility. For instance, supporting the green pillar, some investments reflect the key role of digitalisation in making the EU transport systems more sustainable and resilient, for example through intelligent transport systems (ITS) technologies, urban mobility management tools, multimodal ticketing and multimodal passenger information systems and extension of the coverage of the European Rail Transport Management System.

Digitalisation of businesses

All RRPs include measures supporting the digitalisation of businesses, for a total of EUR 27 billion or 19% of the digital transformation pillar. Measures in this area include key reforms, the most important being those aimed at simplifying the administrative procedures for businesses and at creating the foundation of a digital business environment, with actions in the area of digital business creation and registration, trust and cybersecurity. These measures are expected to increase the level of trust on the adoption of digital technologies, with a positive effect both on their take up and on the intensity of their use. Reforms related to the digitisation of invoicing are also expected to have a positive impact on the digitalisation of businesses and increase transparency. A number of plans also include investments to support the integration of advanced digital technologies in firms’ production processes (e.g., automation, artificial intelligence).

Human capital

RRPs also include a wide range of measures to support the development of digital skills, for a total estimated cost of EUR 29 billion, which represent 20% of the digital transformation pillar. Most plans include measures to increase the digital skill levels in the general population and in the workforce. Some plans also include measures to foster advanced digital skills and to train ICT professionals, with the development of training modules in advanced digital technologies for higher education and vocational training. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for digitalisation of education, and a number of RRPs include relevant measures.

3.3. Contribution of the Facility to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (i.e. Pillar 3)

The 27 RRPs contribute to smart, inclusive and sustainable growth (i.e. Pillar 3) with more than 1500 measures for about EUR 214.6 billion. These measures concern diverse areas: from reforms to support the business environment or competitiveness, to support to SMEs, to research and development and innovation, or to the cultural sector ( Figure 20 ).

Figure 20: Breakdown of expenditure supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth per policy area

Note: This chart shows a breakdown of the estimated contribution to the policy pillar according to a list of policy areas established by the European Commission. The percentage relates to the overall share of the plan tagged under this policy pillar.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard

To date, 350 milestones and targets contributing to pillar 3 have been fulfilled, with 321 milestones and targets fulfilled since 1 March 2022. Progress has been made particularly in the policy areas of regulatory changes for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (85 milestones and targets fulfilled in 67 measures since 1 March 2022), research, development and innovation (49 M&Ts in 42 measures), and business environment/entrepreneurship (52 M&Ts in 37 measures) ( Figure 21 ).

Figure 21: Number of measures in pillar 3 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area

Source: European Commission

R&D&I under pillar 3

25 RRPs include measures related to the policy area of ‘research, development and innovation’ under pillar 3, for a total of EUR 38.1 billion. The amount of R&I investments under pillar 3 represents typically between 4% and 18% of the RRF non-repayable financial support of a Member State, with a few outliers below or above this range and an average of about 8%.

The R&I measures under pillar 3 have a wide range of objectives. The R&I reforms under pillar 3 aim to reduce the fragmentation of the scientific research systems, reduce the administrative burden to access public funding for R&I activities, support knowledge and technology transfer, remove barriers to academia-business collaboration, and improve the coordination between the different levels of governance for R&I and education. A large number of RRPs contain thematic R&I investments under pilar 3 which will allow mobilising R&I capacities in view of accelerating the green and digital transitions and enhancing resilience, in line with EU-level agendas (about 27% and 23% of the estimated cost of R&I-related measures has been tagged as contributing to green and digital objectives, respectively).

To date, 53 milestones and targets related to the policy area of ‘research, development and innovation’ have been fulfilled (out of a total of 705 fulfilled M&Ts), including 49 satisfactorily fulfilled since 1 March 2022.

It is important to highlight that some measures in pillar 1 and pillar 2 also contribute to research and development 55 . R&D&I investments as a whole (i.e. including those relevant measures tagged under pillar 1, pillar 2, and pillar 3) contribute to an estimated total of EUR 48 billion, which represents on average about 10% of the RRF non-repayable financial support of a Member State. 

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth pillar (‘research, development and innovation’ policy area)

Reforms:

ØSlovakia introduced amendments of two legislative acts for the transformation of the Slovak Academy of Sciences into a public research organisation, in order to enable multi-source funding and enhanced cooperation with the private sector to pursue joint projects and promote research and technology transfer.

Investments:

ØItaly awarded contracts to support the creation or strengthening of at least 30 research infrastructure/institutions of strategic relevance identified in the National Plan for Research Infrastructures 2021-2027 and the related innovation infrastructures.

The aim of the measure is to develop research facilities, support innovation and technology transfer processes as well as promote public-private partnerships.

ØSpain supported 68 companies (39 large and 29 SMEs) having R&I projects in sustainable automotive to increase the technological capacity of the companies in a number of fields including: development of energy storage systems with very low emissions and high recyclability, high-efficiency hydrogen mobility systems, autonomous driving and connected mobility or adaptation of productive environments with safe and robust systems for human-machine interaction in the smart manufacturing environment.

Support to enterprises (including SMEs, access to finance and financial instruments)

Most RRPs include measures which provide direct support to SMEs, for a total of EUR 45 billion which represent approximately 22% of the total estimated expenditure for pillar 3. In total, 159 measures provide support to SMEs, with 332 milestones and targets.

The scope of the SME measures included in the RRPs covers a wide range of areas, from improvement of the business environment and access to public procurement, to digitalisation of SMEs and improvement of their environmental sustainability. A number of measures also aim at improving SMEs’ growth and resilience through improved access to finance, reskilling and upskilling of their employees or strengthening their research and development capacities.

To date, 51 of the milestones and targets related to the measures supporting SMEs have been fulfilled (out of a total of 705 fulfilled M&Ts), including 49 satisfactorily fulfilled since 1 March 2022.

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth pillar (‘support to SMEs’ policy area)

Investments:

ØCroatia established a financial instrument to support investment by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, encouraging investment in new technologies, the purchase of modern machinery, equipment, and increasing production and service capacity, as well as green transition measures.

ØGreece launched the calls for proposals for funding a voucher scheme for investments targeted towards technologies and services to foster the digitalisation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (such as e-payment, e-sales and e-invoicing applications, tools for digital advertising, digital upskilling, cybersecurity systems, cloud infrastructures and services, etc.).

ØItaly established a financial instrument for financing start-ups, with the signature of the agreement between the government and the implementing partner Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

3.4. Contribution of the Facility to social and territorial cohesion (i.e. Pillar 4)

Member States have included a significant number of measures to support social and territorial cohesion, especially contributing to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, with its dedicated chapters on equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion. More precisely, the 27 RRPs adopted by the Council will support pillar 4 with around EUR 220.6 billion. The breakdown of expenditure within the pillar is shown in Figure 22 .

Among the 705 milestones and targets fulfilled so far, 253 contribute to pillar 4, including 237 fulfilled since the last annual report in March 2022. The most progress has been made in the policy areas of territorial infrastructure and service (106 milestones and targets fulfilled in 84 measures since 1 March 2022), social protection (58 M&Ts in 52 measures), and adult learning (41 M&Ts in 27 measures) ( Figure 23 ). It is worth stressing that 149 of the fulfilled milestones and targets under pillar 4 since the inception of the RRF support social objectives in the broad sense 56 , showing a strong commitment by Member States to deliver on the social dimension from the initial stages of the RRPs’ implementation. Such measures will also contribute to the achievement of the EU 2030 headline targets on employment, skills and poverty reduction.

Figure 22: Breakdown of expenditure supporting social and territorial cohesion per policy area

Note: This chart shows a breakdown of the estimated contribution to the policy pillar according to a list of policy areas established by the European Commission. The percentage relates to the overall share of the plan tagged under this policy pillar. The methodology for reporting social expenditure, as defined in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2105 , is fully aligned and integrated into the methodology for reporting expenditure under the six pillars. Under this pillar, the policy areas marked with an asterisk (*) are used for the social expenditure methodology.

Source: Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard.

Figure 23: Number of measures in pillar 4 with milestones and targets satisfactorily fulfilled since the last RRF annual report, per policy area

Note: The methodology for reporting social expenditure, as defined in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2105 , is fully aligned and integrated into the methodology for reporting expenditure under the six pillars. Under this pillar, the policy areas marked with an asterisk (*) are used for the social expenditure methodology.

Source: European Commission

Social protection, inclusion, social housing and social infrastructure

All RRPs include reforms or investments contributing to strengthening Member States’ social protection systems. More than 300 measures address a broad range of challenges, notably the ones highlighted in the relevant country-specific recommendations. The measures supporting social protection and social housing account for around EUR 28.8 billion. In particular, the measures focus on the effectiveness, quality and resilience of social protection systems. The majority of social protection investments under the RRF relate to upgrading, expanding or improving the social services network and facilities provided by public and private social institutions. They also include specific measures addressing, for instance, the inclusion of people with disabilities, increasing the adequacy and sustainability of social benefits, and improving the living conditions of older people in need of care. A number of Member States also include important investments to increase the supply of social housing and social infrastructure to disadvantaged groups, using mostly loans. Some Member States also included in their RRPs steps for the reform of the minimum income and pension systems to increase their adequacy and sustainability.

To date, 72 milestones and targets related to the policy areas of social protection and of social housing have been fulfilled (out of a total of 705 M&Ts), including 67 since 1 March 2022.

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the social and territorial cohesion pillar ('social protection’ and ‘social housing’ policy areas)

Reforms:

ØSlovakia consolidated the powers of supervision of social care to reduce fragmentation and improve efficiency of social care and improve quality of care in social services and households.

ØSpain adopted a reform of the social security contribution system for the self-employed to gradually shift the contribution system to be based on real income, to ensure that the self-employed are able to receive a more adequate pension income in the future.

Investments:

ØFor the creation of a new social mentoring service aiming at ensuring sufficient human capacity to carry out social services, Croatia trained 220 social mentoring professionals which will be able to provide more individualised and empowerment support.

ØFrance supported energy efficiency renovation in social housing by allocating grants to more than 20 000 social dwellings.

Employment support, modernisation of labour market institutions and adult education and training for target groups other than youth

The majority of Member States have included a comprehensive range of reforms and investments in their RRPs to promote job creation, and the modernisation of their labour markets. In total, measures supporting the policy areas of ‘non-youth employment’ and of ‘the modernisation of labour market institutions’ account for around EUR 11.2 billion. These measures directly address country-specific recommendations related to employment support and labour market enhancement. Employment and active labour market policies feature prominently in nearly all RRPs. The plans encompass investments and reforms aimed at increasing the labour market participation of women, young people, and disadvantaged groups, supporting job creation and the transition to emerging sectors and occupations. These measures are also designed to stimulate employment and enhance the performance, functioning, and resilience of labour markets.

All national RRPs include measures on skills and adult learning, often linked with active labour market policies. These include, for instance, national skills strategies, reforms to improve skills intelligence and governance, including recognition and validation of skills, as well as targeted investments in upskilling and reskilling for employees, the unemployed and the broader population. Reforms and investments related to adult learning, including continuous vocational education and training, and recognition and validation of skills, comprised in the national RRPs amount to around EUR 17.7 billion.

So far, 83 milestones and targets related to the policy areas of ‘non-youth employment’, ‘modernisation of labour market institutions’ and of ‘adult learning’ have been fulfilled, including 73 since the last annual report of the RRF in March 2022. Fulfilled milestones and targets relate, for instance, to the introduction of a voucher system for upskilling and reskilling programmes, targeted skills development programmes for the unemployed, updates of training curricula as well as the adoption of national skills strategies and action plans.

Examples of relevant measures with fulfilled milestones and targets under the social and territorial cohesion pillar (‘non-youth employment’, ‘modernisation of labour market institutions’ and of ‘adult learning’ policy area)

Reforms:

ØCroatia has introduced a voucher system used to finance participation in educational programmes that develop green and digital skills At least 25 educational programmes are involved. The system contains a skills catalogue that maps existing and needed skills in the labour market, as well as an IT application for managing and awarding vouchers.

The Croatian voucher system benefits employed and unemployed persons, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups (long-term unemployed, inactive or young people neither in education, training or employment (NEETs)).