The vital importance of Next Generation Funds and the New European Bauhaus
The pandemic and climate change have triggered an unprecedented reaction from the European Union, which will have a high positive impact on the construction sector and society as a whole.
According to recent statements by the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, "I want NextGenerationEU to drive a wave of European renewal and make our Union a leader in the circular economy. But this is not just an environmental or economic project, it must be a new cultural project for Europe."
But let's start at the beginning, what is NextGenerationEU?
NextGenerationEU is a temporary recovery instrument endowed with more than €800 billion that will help repair the immediate economic and social damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Post-COVID-19 Europe aims to be greener, more digital, more resilient and better adapted to current and future challenges.
The EU's long-term budget, together with NextGenerationEU, designed to boost recovery, will be the largest stimulus package ever funded in Europe. A total of "2.018 trillion" euros will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe. It is an overall budget prepared not only to deal with the realities of today, but also the uncertainties of the future.
According to von der Leyen, these changes would put the EU on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050 and the fulfillment of its obligations regarding the Paris agreement. In addition, complementary investments worth billions of euros in green technology and infrastructure are also planned.
How are the NextGenerationEU funds distributed?
The Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, is the central element of NextGenerationEU, with €723.8 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable and resilient; and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. Member States are working on their recovery and resilience plans to access funds under the Facility.
In addition the Recovery for Europe's Cohesion and Territories (REACT-EU): NextGenerationEU support also includes EUR 50.6 billion for a new initiative that extends the crisis response and repair measures implemented through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus. All contributing to a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy.
And what is the New European Bauhaus?
Sustainable architecture is one of the sources of regeneration that can contribute powerfully to the take-off at the national level and also at the European level, thanks to the implementation of new technologies, the development of less polluting materials and a new way of building with more efficient processes. Initiatives such as Next Generation EU are an example of how culture, sustainability and economy can and should go hand in hand to generate common spaces for growth in all these areas
Referring once again to the words of Ursula von der Leyen, "we know that the building sector can be transformed from a carbon source to a carbon sink, if organic building materials such as wood and smart technologies such as AI are applied. In this context we have to understand the new European Bauhaus, as a plan that includes different strands; a cultural and pedagogical strand to reduce the carbon footprint of the European Union in the coming years; a coronavirus recovery strand endowed with 750 billion euros from the European Union (of which 30% will be raised through green bonds), and finally a strategic strand to create a European Green Pact and a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. "That's why we will create a new European Bauhaus, a co-creation space where architects, artists, students, engineers and designers work together to make it happen."
How does it affect specifiers and Tecnopol?
One only has to take a short look at the long list of objectives, projects and infrastructures in which the different EU governments are filtering and managing the imminent start of the distribution of funds, following the pattern of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism and adapting them to local needs, to understand that such a large economic volume will affect positively in multiple aspects.
From the economic increase of the productive figures of different construction and technological subsectors, to the achievement of multiple objectives ranging from the fight to reverse climate change, technological evolution, modernization of the sector, the implementation of circular economy strategies, decarbonization, the enhancement of sustainable architecture, sustainable construction solutions and eco-efficient materials; and ultimately the search for a new generation of professionals committed to the essential objective of working in a sustainable way and with a global, innovative and integrative vision, to overcome future challenges.
Innovative companies such as Tecnopol are a valuable ally to project and collaborate in all kinds of new objectives that the future holds for us. The opportunity that is offered to all the agents of the sector must be interpreted with a broad view that goes beyond the mere business opportunity, and connects with the ability to give more sense than ever to our professional work and to be part of the present, of the solutions of the future.