More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union is mobilizing extraordinary financial and human resources to foster the recovery and resilience of member states. This is a huge responsibility for policymakers at all levels. As EU commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and chair of the ESIR expert group on the economic and societal impact of research and innovation, respectively, we contend that these EU and national programmes should be reinforced and coordinated to account for the needs of all Europeans.
The temporary recovery instrument NextGenerationEU will provide €750 billion (US$913 billion). Horizon Europe will initially invest €123 million from a budget of €95.5 billion to fund research into viral variants. Sustainable social recovery must leave no one behind, otherwise social, political and economic instability could stem from disenfranchisement and inequity.
Resilience must increase by design, not disaster. The EU’s “protect, prepare and transform” approach will ready our communities for future health and environmental shocks (see go.nature.com/352gb2s). Policy initiatives such as the European Research Area, the European Education Area, the Digital Education Action Plan, the New European Bauhaus and Horizon Europe aim for such resilience. This will involve collaboration across government, finance and industry.
Nature 594, 496 (2021)
The authors declare no competing interests.