Latvia's recovery plan endorsed by von der Leyen in Rīga

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said June 22 she was "happy to endorse Latvia's recovery plan" as part of a wider European Union effort to kickstart the economy and wider society in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in Rīga, von der Leyen promised the package of measures would transform European society.

Speaking alongside Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, von der Leyen said: "Next Generation EU is not only there to recover, it is much more than that. It will reshape our economies and societies for future generations."

"We are equipping our societies to be stronger, to be more resilient," she said.

"The Commission has today adopted a proposal for a decision to provide €1.8 billion in grants to Latvia under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF)," a Commission statement said.

However, it's not quite as simple as handing over the cash in one chunk. The European Council will now have four weeks to adopt the Commission's proposal. The Council's approval of the plan would allow for the disbursement of €236 million to Latvia in pre-financing. This represents 13% of the total amount requested by Latvia.

The Commission will authorise further disbursements only if and when Latvia meets the milestones and targets outlined in its recovery and resilience plan.

Ursula von der Leyen in Rīga

The Commission's assessment finds that Latvia's plan devotes 38% of its total allocation to measures that support climate objectives, and 21% to measures that support the so-called "digital transition". The plan includes investments in basic and advanced digital skills and in the digitalisation of public administration and measures to improve digital infrastructure through the deployment of very high-speed broadband.

"The plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to Latvia's economic and social situation, thereby contributing appropriately to all six pillars referred to in the RRF Regulation," the Commission statement said.

For instance, Latvia has proposed to provide €95 million to digital upskilling for improving digital skills with an aim to increase the share of people aged 16-74 with at least basic skills to 54% in 2026.

The assessment also finds that none of the measures included in the plan significantly harms the environment, in line with the requirements laid out in the RRF Regulation.

The control systems put in place by Latvia are considered adequate to protect the financial interests of the Union. The plan provides sufficient details on how national authorities will prevent, detect and correct instances of conflict of interest, corruption and fraud relating to the use of funds, the Commission said.

You can find more about the complex criteria involved at this Q&A resource.

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