On Friday, October the 7th, the Minister for Finance Jānis Reirs met the Executive Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Valdis Dombrovskis to discuss the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) and the payment received from the EC in the amount of EUR 201 million* for the first nine implemented indicators of the RRP in the areas of inequality reduction, rule of law and digital transformation.
“Latvia receives the first payment of the Recovery and Resilience Plan in the amount of EUR 201 million. Latvia has implemented several reforms to receive the payment, including improvement of the minimum income calculation methodology, improvement of the infrastructure for broadband internet in regions and distance education, as well as easing the regulatory requirements for the construction of rental housing. The next stage will focus on reforms and investments in the field of energy by ensuring energy independence and reducing emissions,” emphasizes V. Dombrovskis.
The first payment received from the EC will ensure further flow of funds for investments foreseen in the RF Plan, for example for activities to increase energy efficiency, digitalisation of companies and state administration, roads of national and regional significance, railway infrastructure improvements, greening of the transport system of the Riga metropolitan area, as well as the health sector, by strengthening the hospital preparedness for epidemiological crises and promoting the availability of quality health services.
“Currently, it is essential not to slow down the pace taken, which means that the responsible ministries should be able to implement the next 49 reform measures defined in the Recovery and Resilience Plan already by the summer of next year, for the implementation of which Latvia intends to submit the largest payment request to the EC in the amount of EUR 503 million,” says J. Reirs. At the same time, he also emphasises that the implementation of the RRP is very important to strengthen the national economy in these difficult conditions for the global and Latvian economy, besides, the RF funds will also make a significant contribution to dealing with the current issue of ensuring Europe’s energy independence.
According to the EC requirements, the claimed payment is only transferred to the budget of each state on the condition that certain targets and indicators specified in the RRP have been met. In order to receive the entire Recovery and Resilience Facility financing of EUR 1.82 billion, Latvia has to achieve 214 targets and indicators in total by the end of August 2026, which are divided into six annual payments from the EC.
Latvia plans to submit the largest payment request in the amount of EUR 503 million to the EC in 2023 for 49 indicators, nine of which have already been fulfilled, for example, regulations advanced by the Ministry of Economy have been adopted, promoting the availability of housing in regions that meets the requirements of modern life. It is one of the current priorities for the state, given the lack of private investment in the construction of multi-apartment rental houses and, at the same time, the demand for affordable rental housing, resulting in a lack of affordable housing alternatives for households.
With the first nine milestones achieved, Latvia has actively implemented its RRP reform programme, including taking the necessary steps to develop the minimum income support system, adoption of the law on balancing the rights of tenants and landlords, implementation of the rules for improving the competitive environment and reducing the risks of corruption in public procurement, as well as adoption of amendments to the law to combat money laundering. Also, steps have been taken to organise the network of general secondary education institutions and reduce the digital gap for socially vulnerable students in distance learning.
*For Latvia, 13% is deducted from each payment claim, thereby discharging the RRF pre-payment of EUR 237.4 million paid by the EC to Latvia in September 2021. Accordingly, although the first payment claim is for an amount of EUR 231 million, the amount paid in budget revenue for Latvia is EUR 201 million.