In the framework of their project Deploying Good Practice: Influencing EU Funding for Inclusion, ECRE and PICUM have revised their recommendations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027) in light of the Commission’s Recovery plan ‘Next Generation EU‘. The policy note focuses on the REACT-EU instrument, which is supposed to increase the amount of funding dedicated to Cohesion Policy including social inclusion.

On 27 May 2020, the European Commission presented its Communication ‘The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe’ which introduces a financial recovery plan for the economic crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic to be incorporated into the upcoming MFF. This weekend, a Summit of the European Council will seek an agreement on the MFF based on the Commission’s proposal and a compromise drafted by the European Council President Charles Michel.

The resources from REACT-EU will ensure the transfer of funds to the European economies which have been the most affected by the crisis, in order to boost employment and growth. As the exact allocation of funds will be decided within the next MFF, it remains unclear to what extent this proposal will provide an opportunity to enhance the inclusivity of refugees and migrants, among the vulnerable groups most affected from the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Despite the need for a quick funding response to the pandemic aftermath, it is essential that the funds and their operational programmes are accurately designed in order to ensure adequate spending in social inclusion, with dedicated percentages feeding in instruments such as the ESF+ and FEAD. In addition, to make sure that the funds are able to reach out to those groups that are suffering the most from the crisis, it is important to allow civil society organisations to be involved in the programming for REACT-EU in accordance with the partnership principle, and to avoid discriminatory approaches in the use of funds by applying the ex-ante conditionalities of the funds.

Securing sufficient funding to civil society promoting a culture of respect and diversity is also an essential investment in times of crisis which are particularly at risk of populist trends.

For further information:

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.