In December of 2020, the leaders of all European Union countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission agreed on a Recovery Plan to help repair the economic and social damage brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the EU’s long-term budget, together with the temporary NextGenerationEU instrument, a total of € 2.018 trillion will help build a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe.
The Recovery Plan for Malta
Europe’s recovery from the economic, financial and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is of vital importance to Malta’s economic interests, particularly given the importance of its tourism industry.
The European Commission’s estimates that Malta’s real GDP dropped by 7.8% in 2020, well above the EU and euro area average, stems from the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on tourism proceeds and the deep dent it made in domestic consumption.
In its Autumn 2021 Economic Forecast, the Commission stated that Malta’s economy is set to see a robust recovery in 2021 and to continue on a stable growth path in 2022 and 2023. Given the supportive fiscal policy stance, the general government deficit is projected to widen further in 2021 before decreasing in the next two years.
What’s in the Recovery Plan for Malta?
NextGenerationEU, the EU’s temporary recovery instrument, will support Malta by helping to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and by helping to make Malta’s economy more resilient. Maltese participating in a Eurobarometer survey published by the European Parliament on 10 September 2021, have expressed the most positive opinion EU-wide regarding NextGenerationEU. 78% opined that NextGenerationEU projects will help pandemic recovery, and 80% that these projects will help in being prepared for future challenges.
• Malta is set to receive €316.4 in Recovery and Resilience Facility grants. This financing will support the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Malta's recovery and resilience plan. The plan covers six areas, including sustainable transport, circular economy, clean energy and energy-efficiency in buildings, digital transformation of the public administration and the legal system, projects targeting the health and education sectors, as well as institutional reforms. It devotes 54% of its total allocation to measures that support climate objectives and 26% to measures that support the digital transition.
• There will also be €112 million available in 2021 under REACT-EU and €21 million from the Just Transition Fund.
• Malta will also receive €838 million in Cohesion Policy allocations from the latest long-term EU budget.
• The Commission recently disbursed €420 million in financial support to Malta under the SURE instrument. This financial support is provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms and will assist Malta in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment in the context of the pandemic crisis.
Delivering Malta’s Recovery Plan
Malta submitted its recovery and resilience plan 13 July 2021. On 16 September 2021, the Commission adopted a positive assessment of Malta’s recovery and resilience plan. Presenting the assessment, President von der Leyen said: “This plan excels by the fact that 54% of the plan will support our green objectives. This is one of the greenest plans that the Commission has approved so far.”
Upon adoption of the positive Commission assessment, Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “Today, we have endorsed Malta's recovery plan to create a fairer, more digital and sustainable economy. This plan strikes the right balance, with over half of the total allocation geared towards climate objectives by reducing the country's energy demand and waste. It includes investments to finance sustainable transport, improve energy efficiency of buildings and reform waste management systems. On digital, Malta will further digitalise its public administration and services, including healthcare and the judiciary. I also welcome the plan's focus on addressing judicial independence, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering. Malta partially addresses challenges related to aggressive tax planning, and we will work with its authorities to do more in the future.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “The implementation of the Maltese recovery and resilience plan over the coming years will help to transform the country's strong economic rebound into a phase of sustained and sustainable growth. Supported by €316 million in funding from NextGenerationEU, the plan contains an impressive range of measures to green Malta's economy, boost its digital competitiveness and further strengthen its health system. I also welcome the important commitments to safeguard judicial independence, strengthen the anti-money laundering framework and close off opportunities for aggressive tax planning.”
Malta’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021
Recovery and Resilience Facility: Malta submits official recovery and resilience plan
EU funding and tenders programmes and application procedures
NextGenerationEU: European Commission endorses Malta’s €316.4 million recovery and resilience plan.
What is in the Recovery Plan for Europe?
The long-term EU budget, which was topped up to meet the COVID-related challenges, ensures that more than 50% of the Recovery Plan is dedicated to modernisation, through research and innovation, climate and digital transitions, and preparedness, recovery and resilience.
This forward-thinking package, in line with the European Green Deal, will fight climate change. 30% of the EU budget will be spent on this priority. It will also pay specific attention to biodiversity protection.
NextGenerationEU will provide an additional €806.9 billion, of which €723.8 billion (in current prices) will be delivered through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in the form of loans and grants to support the reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. The European Commission has also implemented a new Technical Support Instrument (TSI) to provide tailor-made expertise for EU countries to design and implement reforms. Read more about the TSI and some of the reform projects being supported.
The European Semester, which is the framework to coordinate and monitor economic policy, has also been adapted as it is closely linked to the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and will ensure that reforms are an integral part of the recovery for each country.
To access funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Member States provide a national recovery and resilience plan, in which at least 37% of expenditure is allocated to climate and 20% to digital investments and reforms, and which must be implemented by 2026.