Addressing the challenges of the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in national Recovery and Resilience Plans: a preliminary assessment

January 14, 2023

This briefing paper provides an initial analysis of selected measures proposed by Germany, France, Italy, and Poland in their respective Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) and focuses on three areas, namely: competitiveness, business environment/entrepreneurship, and (re)industrialization. These areas were clustered by the European Commission (EC) in the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Scoreboard around the pillar “Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, including economic cohesion, jobs, productivity, competitiveness, research, development and innovation, and a well-functioning internal market with strong SMEs”.

The paper is divided into six main parts. The first provides the background for the analysis and presents the paper’s scope and aims, as well as its main findings. The subsequent four parts present selected measures proposed and/or implemented by Germany, France, Italy, and Poland in their respective RRPs in the above-mentioned areas, with a special emphasis on the associated risks. The study concludes with a set of recommendations resulting from the analysis of the chosen measures.

In accordance with the RRF Regulation and conclusions of the European Council of July 2020, funds from the RRF can be committed in the years 2021 to 2023 and spent up to 2026. The deadline for the implementation of reforms and investments is August 2026. Although targets and milestones set for the majority of the analyzed measures seem to be realistic and enhance the probability of completing the planned projects on time, activities planned by Poland have a rather long-time horizon. Considering that as of November 2022 Poland has not yet started the implementation of its RRP, there is a risk of some of the planned activities not reaching conclusion by this deadline.

The appearance of the “black swan” in the form of changes in the geopolitical and social situation across the EU related to Russia's aggression on Ukraine, together with the related energy crisis and the crisis of rising costs of living, means that the assessment of the needs presented by the EU MS in their respective RRPs can be seen from a completely different perspective.

The analysis has also shown that changes envisaged in the RPPs relating to the functioning of public administration must go hand in hand with adequate investments in people, equipment, training, and continuing education. There is a need to ensure adequate administrative structures and good planning capacity for the implementation of reforms and investments as well as high-quality laws on the basis of which reforms and investments included in RRPs are implemented.