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EU gives green light to Czech Covid recovery plan


Sign-off will begin €7 billion in investments, with research and innovation a major focus

EU finance ministers have informally approved the Czech Republic’s plan for its share of the bloc’s €750 billion pandemic recovery fund, from which the country’s government has allocated €322m to R&D and innovation.

Ministers said on 6 September that they planned to give final approval to the Czech government’s €7bn plan for spending and reforms, making the final sign-off a formality. The plan has already been approved by the European Commission.

The plan has six main policy areas, of which R&D and innovation is one. Within that area, it allocates €196m to health R&D in priority fields, including infectious diseases and cancer. A further €126m is allocated to supporting R&D in companies, of which about €19m is earmarked to help them do work aligned with the EU R&D programme, Horizon Europe.

A Commission assessment of the Czech research system found that public R&D funding was “adequate”, but that “fragmentation” of the public research sector was a source of inefficiency. 

“It is essential to underpin the public R&D investment by structural and comprehensive reforms, such as setting up an efficient governance and coordination mechanism for research and innovation policy at national level,” the Commission said.

Ministers also informally approved Ireland’s plan on the same day. Several countries have already begun to receive their share of the fund.