Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy. The European Union’s €800 billion NextGenerationEU recovery instrument, along with its €1.2 trillion seven-year budget, is central to the Union’s response to the global pandemic. The aim of NextGenerationEU is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, more digital, more resilient and fit to face the future.
The recovery and resilience facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU, making more than €700 billion available to member states in the form of grants and loans, with Ireland in line to receive almost €1 billion in grants over the lifetime of the facility.
In order to access this funding, Ireland has developed a national recovery and resilience plan, with a total value of €990 million, which sets out the reforms and investments to be supported by the facility. The overall aim of Ireland’s plan is to contribute to a sustainable, equitable, green and digital recovery in a manner that complements and supports the Government’s broader recovery effort. The plan is based on 16 investment projects and nine reform measures covering three priorities: advancing the green transition; accelerating and expanding digital reforms and transformation; and social and economic recovery and job creation.
Ireland submitted its draft plan to the European Commission on 28 May 2021. On 16 July 2021, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to Dublin to present the Commission’s positive assessment and draft Council implementing decision to the Taoiseach. On 6 September 2021, I joined the Minister for Finance at the ECOFIN meeting at which Ireland’s draft plan was considered and the required Council implementing decision was then adopted by written procedure on 8 September 2021. Now that the decision has been adopted by the Council, the plan will be the subject of a financing agreement between the Commission and Ireland.
The next phase is the implementation of projects over the period 2021 to 2026, with milestones and targets to be achieved so that EU funding can be drawn down. An implementing body is being established in my Department to drive progress and delivery of the projects.