Can grants be the place where ecology, economics, technology and active citizenship meet?

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic crisis management, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres stated that with crisis comes opportunity : “it is clear that we cannot simply rebuild the world as it was. Instead, we must build a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy that leaves no one behind,” he said. Transforming an unprecedented crisis into a historical opportunity may seem a complex mission, but it is definitely not an impossible one.

In what follows, I analyze how the “world after Covid-19” is being reconsidered and rebuilt from a grant perspective. It is now crystal clear that the roadmap for a responsible digital economy is at the core of the EU economic recovery plan following the pandemic. The numerous funding measures currently being deployed in the EU, along with the strategic roadmap the EU is following, are not only means to counteract the consequences of the pandemic in the short-term, but also key instruments to prepare EU countries to respond to the various challenges of the years to come. I will focus particularly on how the European Commission is now making the challenges of the digital and green transitions its top priorities.

Climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and irreversible natural resource depletion are emerging as critical concerns specifically for policymakers, national governments, citizens and businesses in the EU. As a result, we are now seeing varied funding opportunities being created to support the development and upscaling of innovative solutions to support the success of the double green and digital transition. More broadly, the EU’s funding orientation is aligned with the 2030 Agenda on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. The deployment of NextGenerationEU, a new recovery funding portfolio aimed at repairing the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, with a total budget of a more than €800 billion, will help rebuild a post-Covid-19 Europe.

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