How to make the best use of the Resilience and Recovery Fund

The first results of the Recovery Watch research project were presented to the Italian public in Rome on 15 December


“Assessing to improve” was the aim of the 15 December meeting held in Rome. Together with Forum Disuguaglianze e Diversità (FDD), FEPS presented the latest results of the Recovery Watch publication series. We made comparative analyses between the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) of different countries on four key social outcomes: the implementation of care policies with a gender perspective, the early childhood policies, the impact of climate measures on the labour market, and the attention paid in the implementation of the Plans to the specificities of locations and of the social dialogue.

David Rinaldi, Director of Studies and Public Policies at the FEPS, presented the four Recovery Watch studies revealing significant shortcomings in the NRRPs implementations. “This is not just a matter of how much money is spent in due time,” said Fabrizio Barca, Co-coordinator of the FDD, “but a matter of the social and economic effects of this spending.” 

There are now four steps that can be taken to fix the problems found:

  1. raise the quality of place-by-place monitoring;
  2. ensure that the infrastructures built under the NRRP are being used;
  3. strengthen the role of all the aggregations of municipalities (from metropolitan cities to project areas in inland areas) in connecting the various interventions together;
  4. effectively strengthen the administrations in charge through high-quality, competitive examinations.

Alessandra Faggian is Director of Social Sciences at the Gran Sasso Science Institute. She presented ‘How place-sensitive are the NRRPs?’, a research comparing the implementation of the Plans in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Analysing how these countries adopted the policies to the specificities of their locations through the dialogue with social partners, civil society and local administrations.

The countries have yet to establish the necessary conditions to ensure an informed, open and broad consultation on the definition of needs (both social and territorial) and on the challenges to address.

The recommendation for the European Commission is to ensure that there is actual participation in the implementation phase to compensate for the lack in the NRRPs’ construction one.

Laeticia Thissen, Policy Analyst for Gender Equality at FEPS, is the author of the study on eight National Recovery and Resilience Plans from a gender and care-led approach.

The national plans studied all address care, although to a significantly lower extent than other priorities and by mirroring pre-existing care regimes. Most Plans fail to take an intersectional and cross-border dimension of care. However, according to Thissen, a commitment to building stronger and more united social systems of care should be at the centre of the NRRP.

A total of 264,000 posts need to be created in childcare services and schools in Italy by the end of 2025 in order to receive three billion euros in funding. That money would be added to the 1.6 billion euros already in place for existing projects. Francesco Corti, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), presented an analysis of the measures contained in the Recovery and Resilience Plans of five member states (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Slovakia). He focused on the effect of the NRRP on the creation of new nurseries. Italy, like Spain, uses the Recovery and Resilience Facility to increase the availability of services (measured in the number of new places created) and to reduce internal disparities between regions.

However, the target is not reached, even when considering private positions in addition to public ones. This is especially the case in the southern regions, with Campania and Sicily in the lead.

The last study concerned the strategies for a just climate transition by Maria Enrica Virgillito, Associate Professor in Political Economy at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. She underlines that the climate transition must be a process that guarantees employment stability, environmental sustainability and economic equality in achieving the objective of climate neutrality.

Among the countries analysed in the study, those performing better are Sweden, Germany and Spain because they have already implemented industrial and mitigation/adaptation policies for the labour market in the years preceding the Plans.

The RRF is a program put in place in order to have a coordinated response to crises across Europe. It is only if this coordination is put in place effectively and if European citizens can understand its importance that we can then justify the surplus of additional public debt and make the exercise permanent. If not, it will prove to be counterproductive.

Watch the full event seminar (ITA)

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