Netherlands gets European Commission approval for €4.7 billion in Covid recovery funds
The Netherlands has won the support of the European Commission for its request to receive 4.7 billion euros from the European coronavirus recovery fund. The Commission praised the Dutch subsidy application and its underlying plans.
The Netherlands was the last EU country to request relief from the massive fund. The application was delayed as the formation of the fourth Cabinet of Mark Rutte dragged on for months after the elections last year. The recovery plans and associated claims from almost all EU countries have now been approved, and many Member States have already received their first grants. Only Hungary has not reached an advanced stage.
The Dutch government has proposed 49 measures in its recovery plan, for which it wants the 4.7 billion euros in subsidies. Almost half of the money will go to measures that benefit the climate. More than a quarter will be spent on projects to accelerate digitization. Money will also go towards reducing the damage caused by nitrogen emissions, housing, healthcare, labor market shortages, and combating tax avoidance and the fight against money laundering.
The European Commission particularly liked the Dutch plans regarding the switch to sustainable energy. These help not only the climate, but also to rid the EU of its reliance on energy from Russia, which has been trying to strong-arm Europe with gas supplies held up since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
The governments of the 26 other EU countries still have to approve the Dutch application. That is not expected to be a problem, then Dutch government believes. Once the other countries agree, the payouts can begin. The first disbursement is expected early next year. The money will be paid out in tranches as soon as the Netherlands achieves targets from the recovery plan.
The chairman of the Committee, Ursula von der Leyen, personally conveyed her favorable opinion about the Dutch recovery plan. To this end, she has agreed with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag in Rotterdam.
The EU recovery fund, worth almost 800 billion euros, was hastily created after the outbreak of the pandemic to help the European economy weather the crisis. The fund consists loans and subsidies, but the Netherlands is already able to borrow money cheaply, and thus only applied for subsidies.
The Netherlands has not made it easy on itself by waiting so long, European Union sources said. Countries only have until 2026 to spend the money, so time is short, and the extensive shortages on the labor market will make it difficult to quickly implement some plans.
On the other hand, the Netherlands could learn from Member States which moved faster, and take into account the latest state of the economy and the world.
Reporting by ANP