How did the Commission assess Czechia's recovery and resilience plan?
The Commission is assessing the recovery and resilience plans based on eleven criteria set out in the Regulation itself. The 11 criteria require an assessment of whether:
-the measures have a lasting impact;
-the measures address the challenges identified in the country specific recommendations or a significant subset of them;
-the milestones and targets which allow for monitoring the progress with the reforms and investments are clear and realistic;
-the plans meet the 37% climate expenditure target and the 20% digital expenditure target;
-the plans respect the do no significant harm principle;
-the plans provide an adequate control and audit mechanism and set out the plausibility of the costing information.
The Commission has summarised its assessment in the proposal for the Council Implementing Decision. The accompanying staff-working document provides detailed documentation on the assessment.
Does Czechia's recovery and resilience plan effectively support the green transition?
The Czech plan's contribution to the green transition amounts to 42% of its total allocation of €7 billion. This exceeds the minimum of 37% required by the RRF Regulation.
The measures in the plan designed to support Czechia's green transition include €1.6 billion to increase the energy efficiency of residential and public buildings, nurseries and social care facilities. It provides €500 million to boost renewable energy production through supporting solar energy for businesses and the acquisition of biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar energy systems for households. The plan also includes investments worth €1.1 billion to support sustainable mobility through the modernisation of railway infrastructure, the acquisition of low-emission vehicles for public transport and the expansion of electric charging infrastructure.
Further investments aim to support recycling infrastructure, the circular economy and improved water management systems for businesses, as well as climate adaptation measures in forestry and water management.
Does Czechia's recovery and resilience plan of Czechia effectively contribute to the digital transition?
The Czech plan's contribution to the digital transition amounts to 22% of its total allocation of €7 billion. This exceeds the minimum of 20% required by the RRF Regulation.
The measures in the plan to support Czechia's digital transition include €650 million to support the digital transformation of businesses through digital innovation hubs, the use of top digital technologies and the deployment of very high-capacity networks and 5G networks. An investment of €310 million will support the transition to digital education, which includes revamping the IT curricula, providing digital equipment to 7000 schools and digital training to teachers, as well as new university programmes in fast-growing digital fields. A further €275 million is provided for upskilling and reskilling programmes targeting digital skills and skills for Industry 4.0 that will help the labour force adapt to the need of the digital economy. Additional funding of €450 million is earmarked for the digitalisation of public services, ranging from digitalisation of construction permits and spatial planning to healthcare and justice.
Does the recovery and resilience plan represent a balanced response to Czechia's economic and social situation?
The Commission considers that the plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to the economic and social situation, thereby contributing appropriately to all six pillars referred to in Article 3 of Regulation.
The plan provides for measures to improve the business environment, reinforce access to finance for SMEs, stimulate research and innovation performance, increase employment and link skills to jobs, and enhance the efficiency of the public administration and the justice system. Targeted interventions are designed to strengthen social cohesion by addressing inequalities in education as well as challenges related to labour market participation of women, and skills development. It includes policies for the next generation through reforms and investments across all levels of education aim at enhancing the digital skills of pupils, students and teachers, while other measures focus on strengthening support for disadvantaged schools and pupils at risk of failure or increasing the availability of early childhood education and care.
The plan includes, to a medium extent, measures for the implementation of reforms and public investment projects that represent coherent actions. The plan could have better exploited the whole potential of some investments through more far-reaching complementary reforms. This applies, in particular, to measures to support renewable energy sources, low-emission mobility as well as digital and sustainable transport infrastructure, where investment is not accompanied by relevant reforms.
Do the reforms effectively address all or a significant subset of the relevant country-specific recommendations issued to Czechia in the context of the European Semester?
Czechia's recovery plan includes an extensive set of mutually reinforcing reforms and investments that contribute to effectively addressing all or a significant subset of the economic and social challenges outlined in the country-specific recommendations addressed to Czechia by the Council in the European Semester in 2019 and in 2020.
The plan contributes to addressing the structural challenges identified in the country-specific recommendations, with investments and reforms in the fields of healthcare, skills and education, green and digital transition, transport, supporting businesses and research and innovation.
The process for granting of construction permits will be reformed and digitalised, significantly reducing its length. Measures to promote e-government and anti-corruption are expected to improve the business environment. The growth potential and competitiveness of the Czech economy should also be supported by R&D investment, which should target public-private cooperation, access to finance and non-financial support for innovative firms, notably SMEs, improvement of the innovation ecosystem, and it should also focus on industrial, environmental, transport, cultural, digital and healthcare areas.
The Council recommendations related to labour market, skills and education are expected to be addressed through requalification schemes, company-based training life-long-learning opportunities, new childcare facilities, digital competences for teachers, an updated curriculum fostering digital skills and literacy and IT equipment for schools, as well as measures focusing on inequalities in education.
Healthcare recommendations are expected to be addressed through reinforced cancer prevention and rehabilitation care, development of an eHealth portal fostering integrated care practices and support to education in healthcare.
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