Commission sets new plan to support green and digital transition and EU recovery

The European Commission adopted yesterday a Communication on a new European Research Area for Research and Innovation. Based on excellence, competitive, open and talent-driven, the new European Research Area will improve Europe’s research and innovation landscape, accelerate the EU’s transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership,  support its recovery from the societal and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, and strengthen its resilience against future crises.

The Commission set out strategic objectives and actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the Member States, in order to prioritise investments and reforms in research and innovation, improve access to excellence for researchers across the EU and enable research results to reach the market and the real economy. Additionally, the Communication will further promote researchers’ mobility, skills and career development opportunities within the EU, gender equality, as well as better access to publicly funded peer-reviewed science.

Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said: “The EU is already leading innovation through its research and scientific excellence. We want to build on that and step up our efforts towards achieving breakthrough market-driven innovations that will contribute to a green digital Europe and will boost growth, job creation and our competiveness in the global scene. Today we are setting a new ambition for a European Research Area to facilitate cooperation and contribute to a more competitive European industry.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “We live in times when scientific activities require faster and effective collaborations. We need to strengthen the European Research Area. An area embracing all of Europe, because knowledge has no territorial boundaries, because scientific knowledge grows with collaborations, because knowledge is trusted if there is open scrutiny of its quality. It has also more chances to achieve peaks of excellence and support an innovative and risk taking industry to shape a resilient, green and digital future.”

Launched in 2000, the European Research Area has made major achievements over the past years – yet, today’s context prompts us to rethink how to strengthen its role, better define and implement its key objectives, as well as make it more attractive as a common space for creating valuable research and innovation. Moreover, Europe is currently facing significant societal, ecological and economic challenges that are aggravated by the coronavirus crisis. Research and innovation is therefore crucial in addressing these challenges, delivering on Europe’s recovery and speeding up the twin green and digital transitions. Continue reading “Commission sets new plan to support green and digital transition and EU recovery”

A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery

The coronavirus pandemic represents a major shock for the global and EU economies, with very severe socio-economic consequences. Despite the swift and comprehensive policy response at both EU and national level, the EU economy will experience a recession of historic proportions this year.

The Spring 2020 Economic Forecast projects that the euro area economy will contract by a record 7¾% in 2020 and grow by 6¼% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7½% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021. Growth projections for the EU and euro area have been revised down by around nine percentage points compared to the Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast.

The shock to the EU economy is symmetric in that the pandemic has hit all Member States, but both the drop in output in 2020 (from -4¼% in Poland to -9¾% in Greece) and the strength of the rebound in 2021 are set to differ markedly. Each Member State’s economic recovery will depend not only on the evolution of the pandemic in that country, but also on the structure of their economies and their capacity to respond with stabilising policies. Given the interdependence of EU economies, the dynamics of the recovery in each Member State will also affect the strength of the recovery of other Member States. Continue reading “A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery”

Commission adopts banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU

The Commission has adopted this week a banking package to help facilitate bank lending to households and businesses throughout the European Union. The aim of this package is to ensure that banks can continue to lend money to support the economy and help mitigate the significant economic impact of the Coronavirus. It includes an Interpretative Communication on the EU’s accounting and prudential frameworks, as well as targeted “quick fix” amendments to EU banking rules.

The rules put in place following the financial crisis have ensured that banks in the EU are now more resilient and better prepared to deal with shocks to the economy. Today’s Communication recalls that EU rules allow banks and their supervisors to act in a flexible, but responsible, manner during economic crises to support citizens and firms, particularly small and medium-sized companies. Today’s Regulation also implements some targeted changes to maximise the capacity of credit institutions to lend and to absorb losses related to the Coronavirus pandemic, while still ensuring their continued resilience.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People said: “We are supporting households and businesses as much as we can to deal with the economic fallout of the Coronavirus. The banking sector can do a lot to help here. We are using the full flexibility of the EU’s banking rules and proposing targeted legislative changes to enable banks to keep the liquidity taps turned on, so that households and companies can get the financing they need. I will soon also be launching roundtable discussions bringing together consumer and business groups with the financial sector so that we can address the most urgent needs of our citizens and companies.” Continue reading “Commission adopts banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU”