9 May 2021

Europe Day statement: success of NGEU is European & national

After a difficult year, there is light at the end of the tunnel as society slowly reopens and industry gears up. The need for a well-coordinated European approach proved its importance once again.

The Next Generation EU (NGEU) was developed in that spirit of European cooperation and has the objective of supporting industrial development. Its success depends on the Member States and how they involve their national stakeholders.

With society reopening cautiously and more and more Europeans being vaccinated, it seems that we are moving towards the final stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although a sigh of relief is justified, this is not the moment for complacency. Quite the opposite, it is time to gear up.

For more than a year Europe’s engine, its industry, has been working at half its speed and under difficult circumstances. In the metal, engineering and technology-based industries, at some point, 6 million workers out of 17 million were on short-time work schemes. It needs no explanation that this production stop has (financially) drained companies.

Pathway to recovery

To create the right framework to recover, support is foreseen in the form of grants and loans as part of the massive €750 billion NGEU.

Companies need this support to deal with the consequences of the pandemic and to achieve the objectives of the green and digital transition. In particular since it became clear with the updated «Industrial Strategy» the twin transition is being accelerated. An additional reason to follow closely how companies are progressing.

Whether or not companies will get support from the NGEU depends on national governments. Have they submitted their National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRP)? When the NRRPs were drafted, did they consult social partners to provide solutions to companies and worker’s needs?

A European idea, deployed nationally

On Europe Day it is good to be reminded of the effort of pulling the NGEU together. A never before seen level of investment is provided at EU level, plans are developed on a national level, by preference in cooperation with social partners, with citizens and industry being the beneficiaries.

Against this background, Ceemet urges all Member States to submit plans that provide funds to what is the backbone of Europe’s welfare. In a globally competitive environment where competing nations see their economies resurge, Europe cannot be left behind.