Post Covid 19 Recovery Plan

Why is this topic a priority for the EU?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the EU’s economy and society in general. To help repair the damage it has caused, the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU leaders have agreed on a recovery plan that will lead the way out of the crisis and lay the foundations for a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe. 

The EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 (referred to as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF) coupled with NextGenerationEU, a €750 billion temporary recovery instrument, will be the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget. A total of €1.85 trillion will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe. NextGenerationEU will be channelled through the MFF, particularly in the years 2021-2023. It will help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start the recovery and prepare for a better future for the next generation. 

The NextGenerationEU instrument will have three main pillars:

  1. Supporting Member States to recover, repair and emerge stronger from the crisis
  2. Boost private investment and support ailing companies
  3. Reinforce key EU programmes to make the single market stronger and more resilient.

NextGenerationEU will specifically support COVID-19 recovery through the Recovery & Resilience Facility in the form of loans and grants, REACT-EU (an extended crisis response initiative), and a new health programme called EU4Health.

Relevant EU Policies and Objectives 

Recovery and Resilience Facility

The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU with €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU Member States. Its aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

Key Points:

  • Ireland received €853 million in grants under the Facility in 2021 and 2022. 
  • In order to access these Facility funds, member states were required to prepare and submit national recovery and resilience plans in April 2021.
  • Plans must include support for the green transition and foster digital transformation.

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations?

In February 2021, the Department of the Taoiseach held a public consultation on Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Businesses, representative bodies, and members of the public were asked to submit their ideas and proposals. The Wheel made a submission which highlighted that the plan for Ireland must include allocated funding for the community and voluntary, charities, and social enterprise sector’s recovery from COVID-19. Ireland's final recovery and resilience plan is published here.


EU4Health is the EU’s funding programme for 2021 – 2027 to build resilient health systems and promote innovation in the health sector. By investing €5.1 billion, it will become the largest health programme ever and will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs. EU4Health aims to make the EU population healthier, support the fight against cross-border health threats and boost the EU's preparedness and capability to respond effectively to future health crises. 

Key Points:

  • EU4Health will have a particular focus on actions like disease prevention programmes, addressing health inequalities and health promotion in an aging population 
  • The programme’s other health priorities include the fight against cancer, reducing the number of antimicrobial-resistant infections and improving vaccination rates
  • EU4Health will also support the establishment at EU level of stockpiles of essential medical supplies and equipment, which complements the work being done under the rescEU programme

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations?

EU4Health will provide opportunities for civil society organisations to access funding to engage in activities which address the programme’s objectives. Other EU funding programmes will provide additional investments in the health sector to complement EU4Health including the European Social Fund Plus and the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. Civil society organisations will be able to access these funding streams through various calls for tenders and proposals throughout the 2021-2027 EU budget period.  


The REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe) initiative is an extension of the crisis response and repair measures delivered through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus. With a budget of €47.5 billion, it will be one of the largest programmes under the Next Generation EU instrument. 

Key Points:

  • REACT-EU will provide funding to support job creation, youth employment measures, and support for SMEs
  • REACT-EU’s scope will expand to fund investments in a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy
  • REACT-EU funding will be distributed among Member States according to their level of prosperity and the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations?

REACT-EU will provide additional funding to Member States through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). Civil society organisations may be able to access these funding streams through various calls for tenders and proposals throughout the 2021-2027 EU budget period or through engaging with initiatives delivered by these fund’s implementing bodies in Ireland.

Useful Links

Health threats: boosting EU readiness and crisis management

EU4Health 2021-2027 – a vision for a healthier European Union

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