Can Europe “Build Back Better”? The European Union has called its economic recovery plan #NextGenerationEU, representing the bloc’s largest ever stimulus package at more than €800 billion in spending. The plan’s stated aims are to make post-COVID Europe greener, more digital, and more resilient. Will it be able to achieve those goals?

This was one of the topics that came up during our 100 European Voices focus groups with young people from across the EU. Young people felt there was not enough clarity about how the money would actually be spent, and told us it was important there was transparency, clear goals, and the way success is defined should move away from pure GDP growth to include sustainability and social wellbeing.

To get a policymaker perspective, we put this question to members of the European Parliament from all political groups. Expand the cards below to find out what politicians think of the EU’s response to the pandemic:

Radical Left
Dimitris Papadimoulis (The Left), Member of the European Parliament:
Patrick Breyer  (Pirate Party), Member of the European Parliament:
Liberal Democrats
Moritz Körner  (Renew), Member of the European Parliament:

I think the recovery plan is a useful instrument; we have to exit this crisis together and stronger. And we have to invest in, especially, our European priorities and digitalization and the digital transition, that’s a major step.

I think it could have been even more European, meaning there could have been even more money for European programs, and not only distributing to the different Member States, but I think it’s a good step, but it has to be spent in the right way. So, we have to make sure that it really is spent on our priorities and it’s not going into the wrong channels or dark channels.

Centre Right
Lena Düpont  (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:
Assita Kanko (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:
The EU is built not only on solidarity, but also on responsibility. That means: using the tax payer’s money wisely. These funds -a formidable sum- should be used for structural changes and investments, not for funding current budget deficits. Funds should be directed to real needs that resulted from the pandemic. The conditions for receiving EU-funds should be closely monitored and maintained. Real and tight control mechanisms need to avoid fraudulent use.
Gunnar Beck (ID), Member of the European Parliament:

Curious to know more about Europe’s recovery plan? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

Interested in how the EU could recover from the pandemic as part of a green digital transition? Read Friends of Europe’s report, “Connected Europe: A digital brand for a just transition”, which presents the results of a year-long pan-European study supported by Vodafone. The report explores how policymakers and industry can work better together to boost Europe’s connectivity and foster a transformation that is both sustainable and fair, and one that builds resilient communities, societies and economies. All while ensuring that citizens are at the heart of the debate.

What do you think about Europe’s Recovery Plan? Do you believe the EU will be able to “Build Back Better”? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

139 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    No… Almost of it ends in lobbies, corruption and spending it in friends, famally enterprises.

    • avatar

      José Lambrux Gonçalves et tous les coins de la planète.

  2. avatar

    Very good idea. Even the only way to tackle the problem and simultaneously promote development and reduce regional asymmetries. On the right track of an EVER CLOSER UNION.

  3. avatar

    une image avec une femme isolée et un enfant sur la bras …. c’est déjà la manipulation …. donc allez vous faire foutre !!! Cette enquête est réalisée par un collectif inter-disciplinaire de chercheurs de l’Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), de l’Université de Liège (ULiège), de l’Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Cliquez sur le lien. 63 questions, dont certaines auxquelles vous avez le droit de ne pas répondre. Cela ne dure pas longtemps.FAISONS TOURNER UN MAX Faisons-nous entendre.

  4. avatar

    What do we think ? Close the circus and stop spending people’s money ! You are all way out of line ! Why on earth you all have salaries a month whilst people not even earn in a year ! Creating chaos and difficulties and then ask people what they think ! Who do you think you all are ! This is not democracy ! Interfering in national issues of countries, not of the business of EU ! Making people slaves EU and submitting them to a totalitarian regime whilst you all self declared new elite party, fly all over the world, paid by the people from all over Europe ! I can predict your future, EU will cease to exist and it will not be a day to soon ! EU is nothing but a power and money grabbing bunch of clowns, pushing on a globalist agenda ! Freedom, liberty, that’s what people want ! Earning a decent living and raise their kids, is what people want and stick your rules…….. you all disgust me and I’m not the only one !

  5. avatar

    The EU is a crime against the taxpayer. The EU should prevent the Native Switch.

  6. avatar

    Lets see how many roads to nowhere & aeroports serving no- one are built.

  7. avatar

    I think nothing, I don’t know!

  8. avatar

    L’Europe mafieuse, tous des voleurs contre les peuples ! et depuis une vingtaine d’années ce grand cirque !

  9. avatar

    Oh, and sponsored and paid by all of us, you mean ! Get the hell out of people’s lives, all of you !

  10. avatar

    That the union leaves burst elsewhere that on my soil

  11. avatar

    Nous ne voulons pas de l’Union européenne. Ça c’est le plan du diable et nous en avons les preuves aujourd’hui.

  12. avatar

    Time to pull over this federal EU and replace it for a Confederal EU and for every country asùmuch rezpresentatifs chouse by the peopel and not bij the party

    • avatar

      Jurgen Vermylen, the EU is not even confederal. If anything it should become more federal. Belgium is a federal state. The party trying to make it confederal (that would be Kanko’s party) only sees that stage as a step-up to separation. That party happens to be in the anti-EU group of the EP, which is not conservative but archaic.

  13. avatar

    The main thing, Europe started to serve ECONOMIE for member states, and that worked. But EUROPE never became more as SERVING ECONOMIE and LOBBY WORLDWIDE … . No we did not make any social progress, as working-class, Europeans of the first generation landed up in extreme poverty not able to pay their energy-, school- or healthcare bills. More and more restrictions on social life, individual and local communities, and their rich cultural identities. Europe is far from ECOLOGY-minded as they even SUPPORT building new GAS-infrastructures (Belgium) to replace less ‘dirty’ energy providers. The list of mal-managements would become boring but has one thing in common … WASTE of EUROPEAN MONEY by lack of STRATEGY on, for sure, a NOT existing GLOBAL EUROPEAN REALITY VISION for us Europeans, and for them the rest of the WORLD. Waste of money, and time to make RECOVERY come true, within NO TIME !!!

  14. avatar

    Oui l’argent a surtout contribué à payer grassement les Eurocrates de tous poils et toutes tendances.☹️

  15. avatar

    Meeting in Brussel, meeting in Straatsburg. Just ridicule. See green deal.Pressing money makes our money less valueble.think about that.

  16. avatar

    How many people in parlement.×€.How many people in cabinet×€How long does it takes to take descicions=€?Tax benifits=€?

  17. avatar

    Cicero : “The budget should be balanced, the treasury refilled, public debt reduced, the arrogance of officialdom tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt.” 2000 years ago people were smarter than the EU.

  18. avatar

    ho que non trop pour les riches

    • avatar

      Een grote onmenselijke bende zakkenvullers die geen gevoelens meer hebben met Ursula bon der Leyen op kop die mensen wil verplichten om zich te laten inspuiten met een experimenteel gentherapie product, met heel veel smerige, ziekmakende zelfs dodelijke nevenwerkingen. De EU kost handenvol geld, geld dat tegen de bevolking gebruikt wordt.

  19. avatar

    What i think is that i, as a victim of partner violence, am standing alone, hè is protecties and the police ( belgium, 1800 Vilvoorde) has “ lost” my complaint, its”disamprared”!!!!,so they protector criminals!!!

  20. avatar

    L’union européenne ne sert qu’au multinationales ! Pour le peuple, c’est une véritable misère !

  21. avatar

    All the EU does: telling lies, fake news. Never enough for their own greed. Suckers: our money, our jobs, our wealth, our health, our LIVES. It has to stop, now.

  22. avatar

    That would be the first time spending our money well.

  23. avatar

    Since when does the EU care about its citizens’ opinion?

  24. avatar

    Give me my money back. Bunch of irresponsible thieves!!!!

  25. avatar

    I like miss Kanko, but here she does not even hit the ball, she misses the ball completely, the E.U. is totally irresponsible, is not based on solidarity, does not spend money wisely … and it is not more than a lie to impose the Fourth Reich of the New World Order agenda. And people should stand up against it. The idea of an European Union is great, but not one created and runned by psychopaths who want to establish their evil New World Order. Period. Here miss Kanko is just trying merely to be political correct, but she knows better, and a message to her, there is no time and space anymore to be political correct towards this big farce. It is time for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth … let all the masks fall off

  26. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    MEP Gunnar Beck’s comment was sweet, short and correct- if the enshrined European Monetary Union rules written into the 1992 Maastricht Treaty would stand firm & not subjected to:

    • The whim of the EU Commission to suspend such/any uncomfortable or hasty made rules of law & have them quickly rubber stamped by the Council & EU Parliament.

    Create another precedent & breach- contrary to the Stability and Growth Pact- which sets limits on government borrowings= keep public debt below 60% & public deficits below 3% of GDP.

    • Laws mean little, when the process of creating, legislating & suspending them becomes a circular process. Economies become “circular”- legislation become “circular”- even life becomes circular. Just like paradise!

    • Why not suggest to make the creation of the EU also circular? Start again with the EEC…..

    It will be a question of time when all these EU creations, suspensions & circularity will drive everyone in mad circles until nobody knows the difference between a beginning & an end, law and jokes. Suggestions:

    • Try the commercial & private banks to donate these funds- if their shareholders give their approval.

    • Did the voters consent to take on these huge liabilities? Are they aware that the EU future generations are being financially enslaved to repay these huge debts?

    • What will happen if one Convid-19 disaster follows the next? The first €800 Billion bailout follows the next trillion & the next….?

    Rather, EU to: “Plan to Recover” = raid all tax havens, recycle, circulate & green this funds!

    Introduce direct democracy & please save us all from heavily biased think tanks!

  27. avatar

    No, I don’t think it would work.
    … unless Union learns to take advantage of the diversity of its member states and to stop reducing them to the common denominator of the obedient subjects of the central bureaucracy.
    Less integration but more cooperation and more respect for autonomous countries and nations.- only this can save Europe.
    Free people want friends, not masters.

  28. avatar

    “Build Back”…? 🤣
    Europe is still not destroyed, in spite EU and EC attempts.
    But printing more and more money, may just kill our economy.

  29. avatar

    ” Seul un réel Amour des enfants dispense d’en faire… “

  30. avatar

    Quelqu’un parle Français ?

  31. avatar

    Sicjalismus! Step by step to surrender for Azja and America

  32. avatar

    Unrealistic. Pause eco transformation and restart economy before it flats out.

  33. avatar

    It is a serious threat to civil liberties and heralds the start of totalitarian dictatorship, being ushered in under the guise of completely illegal covid “health” measures.

  34. avatar

    SPEAK Project : Restorationplan Rest was deemed not viable years ago

  35. avatar

    To już trup padający pod wpływem nowego komunizmu.

  36. avatar

    DEBT..bankers create money and we work for it make as slave

  37. avatar

    It wont, only thing which can save this world is to stop private Banks from printing money

  38. avatar

    Politycy chcą połowę z nas wytruć a drugą połowę zamienić w niewolników. Taki ja tu widzę plan.

  39. avatar

    build back better? Marxistische propaganda in EU? Wie had dat ooit verwacht ⏳

    • avatar

      eerlijk gezegd: gezien de economische regressie en de groeiende graaicultuur bij de top.. zag ik dit wel aankomen. Had alleen niet gedacht dat ze het op zo’n groteske manier gingen doorduwen..

  40. avatar

    Pytanie po pierona mamy odbudowywać to dziadostwo.

  41. avatar

    some adults playing old games adding new rules, words describing them are under advisory

  42. avatar

    Gdyby europa inwestowała w biednych krajach Afryki Azji Ameryki Południowej 🤔

  43. avatar

    stop EU , WEF , WHO , UN unellected people who do non good for us only for them self , decentralize all back to small and power back to the people stop dictatirship from a small group of idiots who never been ellected

  44. avatar

    now you hear what we think. but it will not change a thing since plans are already in motion

  45. avatar

    for the small man , it will never work , for your top clowns it wil work

  46. avatar

    I’ll be blunt: I have no idea wether it can work or not, but here’s what I know:
    My country, France, has been struggling with debt for decades, until 2019 we were a little under 100% and it was no fun.
    Now, after (during….) Covid, we are reaching the 130%.
    I know the coming half century will be tough.

  47. avatar

    I am moving to the UK. I prefer the banking mafia than the medical mafia US-German war on EU and US citizens.

    • avatar


    • avatar

      You won’t like it.

  48. avatar

    Eruit met Europa !
    Allemaal zakkenvullers en smeerlappen : geheim leger om opstanden neer te slaan met toelating om te doden…

  49. avatar

    You all are psychopaths and should be taken to loony bin!!!

  50. avatar

    The only hope for Europe is the disintegration of the European Union and the return to the community of sovereign, cooperating states. The time of this communist colossus is passing. If Europe does not fall apart, poverty, hunger and enslavement will await.

    • avatar

      Have you enjoyed being fed EU subsidies for over thirty years now?
      Asking for a friend.

    • avatar

      Julien: really? Maybe you didn’t know yet but 🇵🇱 feeds Germany as from each 1€ Poland get from EU 85¢ is going back to Germany. Günther Oettinger know what he is talking about as he was European commissioner. Plus all the EU benefited to have polish workers. So your opinion is delusional based on prejudice

    • avatar

      I am not German, you go deal with Berlin as much as you want.
      You guys talking about being delusional is quite rich.

    • avatar

      Julien I don’t care who you are. You said that we been fed by EU over thirty Years so I’m explaining to you that’s is not a true. Full stop. I’m fed up with people who thinks that Poland is 3th world and only take money from EU when is simply not a true.

    • avatar

      It is absolutely true full stop, where you reinvest the money afterwards has nothing to do with where it comes from.
      Never said that Poland was third world, or else show me where.
      Besides, to claim that Polish workers have been a blessing for the rest of the EU members is also most questionable, it has deprived local workers from their jobs in favor of lesser paid workers, lowering everyone else’s wages.

    • avatar

      Julien you have basic problems with economy so is no point to have any future conversation with you is just waisting my time. 🤦‍♀️ Nice to see how blessed is UK now. Night night

  51. avatar

    With € 800 billion you could feed the starving from hunger in the whole world and provide them with clean drinking water. But that’s not your goal..

  52. avatar

    I can’t say what I think about the EU because it will result in violating the community standards. In short, we should solve it the same way the French did it in 1789.

  53. avatar

    How can we expect democratie from a system with non elected leaders?

  54. avatar
    catherine benning

    What Recovery Plan are you seriously suggesting we think about?

    Please, may I put this question to all ‘European’ leaders offering this so called recovery? It is very important to the future of democracy for the European tax payer, and its entire citizenry, to have a genuine grasp on what it is you are planning for their future..

    When did you ask the people of Europe to give you permission to open our jurisdiction to the world population to enter their borders under the guise of refugees or asylum seekers?.. When did you make it a top revelation in your platform for leadership? Advising that should you be voted in you planned to adhere to ‘UN’ unelected grovellers, to accept their wish to fill Europe with an entirely different culture and ethos by keeping millions of these people within our borders? And if you did so, how many votes did you receive giving you permission to fill our population with world economic refugees the way you have?.. Those entering ‘en masse’ are illegal, meaning criminals, paying violent traffickers a fortune to deliver them to our cities so they can have this ‘better life’ they feel we owe.. It appears ‘elected’ groups across the Western World have some idea we owe the rest of the world this better life and, additionally, insist Europeans accept a reduced lifestyle in order to meet ‘your’ charitable standards, outside your voters wishes..

    How many millions do you plan to let in? Already our countries have been turned into an unhygienic, stinking pit, of illiterate, culturally unacceptable, individuals, to create the kind of violence in an uncivilised society not endured by European people since the middle ages.. Who gave you the votes to do this to us whilst expecting to remain in comfort at our cost? Democracy doesn’t work on you taking leadership by hiding truthful plans from trusting people, whilst you intend to carry out ‘Globalist’ hidden policies in front of our eyes. And now, don’t even bother to hide the fact you are behind this ‘invasion’ of our once clean, civilised and well run areas, telling us we must accept this betrayal by you, whilst we continue to pay your too big salaries…. Have you collectively lost any sense of honour or decency to the people you duped in favour of the “Ausländer.” Who are you representing in those padded seats?

  55. avatar

    My proposition is let countries govern themselves. If there should exist, and I don’t think there should, some higher power than countries self governance by the people, it should be focused on upkeeping human rights not spending even more of taxpayers money, and as we can see, the money spending seems to be the entire point of this, I don’t even know how to call it, “European Project”. I’m very pessimistic about the future of this continent and the freedom of its people, with political struggles like these.

  56. avatar

    Very good idea. Even the only way to tackle the problem and simultaneously promote development and reduce regional asymmetries. On the right track of an EVER CLOSER UNION.

  57. avatar

    No… Almost of it ends in lobbies, corruption and spending it in friends, famally enterprises.

  58. avatar
    Koen Van de moortel

    Why do you ask people to react, if you censure the reactions you don’t like???

  59. avatar
    Koen Van de moortel

    “Build back better” is the totally crazy and insanely expensive phantasy of psychopath Klaus Schwab. The Europeans never asked for it!

  60. avatar

    yes the2030 i bay electric car with no tax road .

  61. avatar

    The laws must quite clearly be wrong and be changes asap

  62. avatar

    L’Europe a le grand tort de croire qu’elle est accessible en communicant uniquement en anglais.
    En Belgique, terre d’accueil de ses institutions, il y a 3 langues officielles et l’anglais n’en fait pas partie…
    Cherchez l’erreur!

  63. avatar

    Recovery Plan cannot focus only on economic, the US Center for Disaster and Philanthropy has report that: “Serious mental health needs have emerged throughout the pandemic, there are also increased reports of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and child abuse…” This means mental health recovery should be at top priority for a healthy recovery of the economy. I wonder why EU does not take this opportunity of the Beijing Olympics to relieve psychological tension, as sports have proven to be able to serve this purpose. It is written the Olympic Spirit is to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play – Olympic Spirit strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. The Olympic Spirit “seeks to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled times in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.” A healthy recovery of the economy needs a healthy mind of citizens, as we have already seen that the America has been under chaos, I believe this does not reflect only the deteriorating economic situation but the disappointment to the government and also the psychological pressure brought about by two years of Covid attack and dying of so many people. Would politicians stop thinking of your narrow self-interests and think of the people whom you have promised to serve. Playing politics by fueling conflicts and radicalize citizens and governments would never do any good for Europe’s recovery. The whole world has already been under torture of the pandemic for two years. The Christmas, the New Year and the Beijing Olympics ought to moments to celebrate enjoy.

  64. avatar

    So, you have ‘plans’. But, wgat I see is that you’ll support big industries with big money. What will have the people? Peanuts, because they will have to pay the use of the investment… So, it will be build with OUR money ( our taxes ) and we’ll have to pay again to use it… Like you still have to pay a rent for your own house…
    800billion. Ok…
    I have another idea.. Give every registrated European a debt-card with €1750 on it. ONLY to spend on local market!
    You’ll help the people, you’ll help the commerce, and tru their taxes, you’ll help the countries…

  65. avatar

    Not a euro has been used yet. Imagination isn’t policy

  66. avatar

    EU is a money and power grabbing circus. With unelected self declared new elite ! We are sick and tired of the interference in the lives of Europeans and EU destroying our continent. We will stay Europeans long after EU will have cease to exist ! Give the people referendums and you will all pack your expensive ridiculous bags for good ! We don’t want your world order ! We want peace and leave farming to these who know what their talking about ! You want to be more green, get a shovel and plant a tree. And stay the hell out of our pockets. Now, send in the clowns ! Oh and this ad sponsored by European people more likely !

  67. avatar

    ‘Historic chance’ to implement EU agenda 2030. 😠

  68. avatar

    Wat denk je zelf over een hoop uitgebluste politiekers die daar enkel zitten om hun zakken te vullen.

  69. avatar

    whe will engage upon europe and take back our sovereignty. pretending that the nuerenberg code does not exist can not be tolerated.

  70. avatar

    Ask Heiko VDL ( Husband of…’….)

  71. avatar

    Europa is een groene dictatuur geworden. Hoog tijd om die af te schaffen.

  72. avatar

    totaal back better wil alllereerst zeggen : alles afbreken, en daar zijn ze goed mee bezig met hun ondemocratisch totalitair WEF plan…

  73. avatar

    Voor de elite wel, voor de gewone burger is Europa de hel en het word alleen maar erger, ze geven niks om een mensenleven

  74. avatar

    Sue l’union s’en aille crever ailleurs que sur mon sol

  75. avatar

    Why did the EU first spend 22.000.000/year since +/-2008 on gain of function of corona viruses?! Forbid the use of existing good working medecine. I see you are a mother. In case you did a similar thing to your child, you would go to prison for the rest of your life.

  76. avatar

    Just give us our freedom back!

  77. avatar
    Machteld Lucia Johanna

    Build back better is sovjet union 2, so no thanks and go away with ur communist propaganda 🖕

  78. avatar

    EU sold its citizens to the WEF with the devil as president!! Criminal and power-addicted geriatric specimen bulging with money . EU, break it down .

  79. avatar

    We need to get rid of this EU and go back to what it was originally, an European Economic Community.

  80. avatar

    The EU should be dropped like….nothing else🤮🤬🤮

  81. avatar

    A bunch of euro licking whiteboard criminals playing ping pong with the population of Europe and not caring about the population 💩💩💩💩💩💣💥

  82. avatar

    We’ve had enough of the EU, europarasites have no democratic legitimacy …

  83. avatar

    You killed my dream of a truly democratic and humanist Europe, it’s a shame what Europe has become (sold to lobbies) ! They don’t want to protect their own people they want enslavement. Now my dream is to get rid of this neo-totalitarian European state : EUxit !

  84. avatar
    Jean Philippe

    I do not believe in the EU anymore!

  85. avatar

    Oh you mean build back totalitairian by enslaving people, dehumanizing them and putting them on a social credit system ? Yea thats way better, but for who ? 😉 you can build back better your way but im building my own 😉 im my own leader.

  86. avatar

    Before thinking about building better and other funky memes, maybe start with managing better. Al this years in power just piled up more crap

  87. avatar

    Dat Europa is een samenraapsel van bandieten,enkel uit op geldgewin uit de inwoners.Wat heeft dat ons al gebracht……juist ja….niks als miserie.

  88. avatar

    Europa? De grootste schande wat ze ooit hebben opgericht.

  89. avatar

    It sucks like whole europe. No need to thank me.

  90. avatar
    Agnes Anna

    Too fast, too big, the balance between social and the economy is lost … Poverty is growing in the capitals all over Western Europe while the EU administrations seem to have their focus on ‘WORLD POWER’ and ‘COMPETING’ ‘WORLD ECONOMIES’. The input of nations is bigger than their SOCIAL PROTECTION capacities, as SOLIDARITY is supposed to be one of the main cornerstones … Too fast, too big, industries over peoples . . .

  91. avatar

    Europe is not able to do anything…parvenus en hasbeens met duizenden bijeen.

  92. avatar

    Corona pass is Against Human Rights

  93. avatar
    Cat Mag

    You are breaking apart… liars . Rotten to the bone .

  94. avatar

    What does that word “back” represent? The fact that everything has to teared down first?

  95. avatar

    Money wasting and useless organisation..
    With mediocre and bad politicians from their countries at the forefront.

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More debate series – 100 European Voices: Young People Debate Europe’s Recovery Plan View all

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.