EU recovery fund includes R&D and nuclear decommissioning

21 July 2020

At the end of a five-day special meeting of the European Council, EU leaders reached agreement today to jointly borrow EUR750 billion (USD862 billion) to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The EU's recovery fund, to be composed of EUR390 billion in grants and EUR360 billion in loans, will be attached to a new EUR1.074 trillion seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This brings the total financial package to EUR1.82 trillion.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel (Image: European Council)

The agreement followed the European Commission's presentation at the end of May of a wide-ranging package combining the future MFF and a specific recovery effort under its Next Generation EU plan.

"We are slowly exiting the acute health crisis. While utmost vigilance is still required on the sanitary situation, the emphasis is now shifting to mitigating the socio-economic damage. This requires an unprecedented effort and an innovative approach, fostering convergence, resilience and transformation in the European Union," the European Council said today. The plan is an "ambitious and comprehensive package combining the classical MFF with an extraordinary recovery effort destined to tackle the effects of an unprecedented crisis in the best interest of the EU", it added.

The first part of the conclusions deal with the recovery effort, which is "significant, focused and limited in time", it said. The second part looks at the 2021-2027 MFF.

Under the heading Single market, innovation and digital, the plan includes, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project (ITER). The "financial envelope" for the implementation of ITER in 2021-2027 will be a maximum of EUR5000 million. The financial envelope for the implementation of the Horizon Europe programme for 2021-2027 will be EUR75,900 million.

"There is a need to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union's science and innovation base. The effort in research, development and innovation will therefore be based on excellence," the Council said.

Under the heading Security and defence, the plan includes support for the decommissioning of the following nuclear power plants: EUR490 million to Ignalina in Lithuania in 2021-2027 with an EU contribution rate of 86%; EUR50 million to Bohunice in Slovakia in 2021-2025 (50%); and EUR57 million to Kozloduy in Bulgaria for 2021-2027 (50%). In addition, EUR448 million has been allocated for nuclear safety and the decommissioning of the EU's own installations.

Announcing the new deal on the recovery package and the European budget, President of the European Council Charles Michel said: "We negotiated about money. But, of course, it is about a lot more than money. It is about workers and families, their jobs, their health and their well-being. I believe this agreement will be seen as a pivotal moment in Europe's journey, but it will also launch us into the future. In fact, it is the first time, the first time in European history that our budget will be clearly linked to our climate objectives. The first time, the first time that the respect for rule of law is a decisive criteria for budget spending. And the first time, the first time that you are jointly re-enforcing our economies against a crisis."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News