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EU: What are the opportunities for the infrastructure sector arising the post-Covid recovery and resilience plans?


The infrastructure sector plays a key role in driving the global economic recovery, as witnessed by the massive worldwide investment plans in its favor, not least in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Next Generation EU is a great example. The massive EUR750 billion recovery plan, included in the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, has indeed allocated significant investment in the infrastructure sector – which accounts for 5% of EU’s GDP and employs more than 10 million people – to support the EU’s decarbonisation and digitisation goals.

In this framework, Italy will benefit from EUR40 billion allocated to “Infrastructure for Sustainable Mobility”, a sum to which React EU funds and national resources must be added, totalling EUR62 billion. The initiatives will range from the extension of high-speed railways to the development of ports, digitalization measures for road and motorway safety, and the protection and development of water resources. On the other hand, France will invest EUR4 billion in the infrastructure sector, by implementing measures aimed at modernising water systems and electricity grids, urban development, safeguarding biodiversity and the transition to green transport, accounting for more than 60% of infrastructure investment. Finally, Spain will allocate almost EUR 2 billion in the sector to complete works and upgrade the infrastructure system.

In addition to Next Generation EU, the EU has also set up a further tool, the so-called InvestEU, to address the drop in private investment in the infrastructure sector, which, according to a study carried out by the European Investment Bank (EIB), will shrink by around 40%. InvestEU seeks to mobilize public and private funding across different sectors through an EU budgetary guarantee amounting to EUR26.2 billion. Out of this amount, the largest share, some EUR9 billion, will be allocated to the sustainable infrastructure sector. The program aims to raise a total investment of more than EUR372 billion.

Since the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a new round of investment and development plans seems to have begun, in which infrastructure is the backbone of a long-term regeneration and transformation plan.

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