The European Commission today has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus to help kick-start reforms and investments outlined in Cyprus’ recovery and resilience plan.
This amount is part of a grant/loan under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), a fund provided by the NextGenerationEU. It is equivalent to 13% of a total of €1.2 billion earmarked for Cyprus, comprising €1 billion in grants and €200 million in loans.
The Commission will authorize more disbursements as the implementation of reforms and investments in Cyprus are met according to the plan.
Paolo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner for Economy, said: “This pre-financing of €157 million is the first injection of €1.2 billion in EU support for Cyprus through the Recovery and Resilience Facility. That funding will help Cyprus to implement important measures for the climate transition and to tackle the threat of forest fires, to boost the country's digital competitiveness and to strengthen education and training. I also welcome Cyprus' commitments to limit possibilities for aggressive tax planning.”
The RRF, under NextGenerationEU, aims to provide member states with a total of €723.8 billion in funding to support investments and reforms. It is part of an unprecedented response by the EU to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, foster green and digital transitions and strengthen resilience and cohesion in our societies.
According to Cyprus’ Recovery and Resilience Plan, the RFF will be used to fund investments and reforms in the following areas, including but not limited to:
• Securing the green transition: The Cypriot plan will invest €89 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, €87 million in promoting sustainable and green mobility, and €19 million to upgrade the country's capacity to combat with fire hazards: purchasing of firefighting aircraft, vehicles, equipment and providing related training.
• Supporting the digital transition: The plan will invest €133 million in the digitalisation of public services, building a secured, integrated and modern digital architecture to support the transition to a combination of digital public services. It will also invest €87 million to enhance access to communication infrastructure and supporting an inclusive digital transformation.
• Reinforcing economic and social resilience: The plan will invest €51 million on increasing the quality of education and training through reforming the teaching profession and secondary schools' curricula, establishing a modern vocational education and introducing a higher education graduate tracking system It will also introduce a withholding tax on outbound payments made to EU-listed non-cooperative and low tax jurisdictions and other measures to curb aggressive tax planning.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today's first disbursement of €157 million of NextGenerationEU funds to Cyprus is an important milestone. It is the first step in making the investments and reforms contained in the Cypriot recovery and resilience plan a reality. These measures will help to secure Cyprus's digital and green transitions by supporting energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, education and training and improving connectivity. I am particularly proud that a significant portion of the funds will be devoted to protecting Cyprus against the threat of forest fires. I wish you every success in implementing the recovery and resilience plan.”