The EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility: A Next Phase in EU Socioeconomic Governance?
Research Cluster on Empirical Legal Studies into Institutions for Conflict Resolution—ERI, Utrecht University, The Netherlands / Department of Private, Business & Labour Law—PBLL, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Abstract: The European Semester (Semester) was implemented a decade ago. Ample research has addressed the Semester’s development, including some major changes in processes and content (Verdun & Zeitlin, 2018). The Covid-19 crisis seems to mark the next stage in the evolution of the Semester. It connects the Semester with the wider Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and links its country-specific recommendations to conditional financial support. Thus, the next stage of the Semester suggests a stronger and more deliberate interlinkage of different EU tools that jointly guide national socioeconomic policies. It should support both national public investment and reforms while focusing on meeting the EU priority of moving towards a climate-neutral, digitalized, and resilient Europe (De la Porte & Dagnis Jensen, 2021). This article addresses the question of what room the new-style Semester gives to the involvement of national-level actors, such as national parliaments. Therefore, it expands existing analytical frameworks in order to assess the RRF in connection to the Semester, focusing on the degree of obligation, enforcement, and centralisation. Jointly, this outlines the room the RRF gives to the participation of national actors in the Semester. The article concludes that although the national parliaments are not mentioned in the Regulation establishing the RRF, they could claim a role both in developing national plans for accessing financial support as well as in amending and approving reforms.
Keywords: European Semester; European social policy; national parliament; Recovery and Resilience Facility