Austria's plan for the EU Recovery Fund
The cabinet has approved the final version of Austria's national plan for deployment of the European Recovery Fund in time for the end of April deadline and submitted it to the EU Commission. The Austrian Recovery & Resilience Plan 2020-2026 follows the European Commission's guidelines. The measures planned take as their point of reference the country-specific recommendations to Austria as well as the objectives of the recovery and resilience facility, and at the same time implement parts of the government's programme. As allocation of a part of the fund will be based on economic development between 2019 and 2021, there are currently only provisional estimates as to the extent of the financial support for Austria. On the basis of European Commission forecasts in autumn 2020, Austria will be entitled to some EUR 3.46 bn of grants. The final allocations will be fixed in June 2022. Austria has, as a precautionary measure, notified projects totalling EUR 4.5 bn to Brussels.
The focus of the Austrian plan is on climate protection and digitalisation. In these areas, Austria has surpassed the EU targets appreciably. Thus, for example, some 46 per cent of investment will go into climate protection. In addition, Austria will be investing in education, research, the economy and sustainability, and in so doing will help strengthen the regions and municipalities. Over and above this, reforms in these four areas will boost the impact of the investments.
Two-thirds of the measures are new investments which have not formed part of Austrian national budget planning to date; a third of the RRP measures were already included in the 2021 Federal Budget and the Federal Budgetary Framework Act through to 2024.
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented: "We will get back every euro we are entitled to. Austria has submitted an ambitious and forward-looking plan, and the measures contained in it will help us with our national recovery. With its clear focus on greening and digitalisation, we will develop existing strengths further still and implement the common governmental programmes in a systematic manner. We have achieved a sensible blend of the various proposals put forward by the provincial governments and stakeholders, the economic and political targets for recovery and the priorities specified by the EU."