The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the EU into its worst-ever recession and risks increasing inequalities, notably between regions. Thanks to a bold and innovative policy response, including a common instrument to finance national recovery plans (Next Generation EU), growth is rebounding, but ambitious reforms will be essential to heal the scars of the pandemic and succeed in the green and digital transitions. This Survey has three main messages. Firstly, increasing public and private investment is key to speed up the recovery. Improving European interconnections and fostering cross-country collaboration in innovative industrial projects should be priorities. Secondly, the transition towards climate neutrality and a circular economy will enhance well-being while improving European industrial strengths. Better pricing of carbon emissions, new regulatory tools and more R&D funding will all help reinforcing the transition towards a greener economy. Finally, to avoid the rise in regional inequalities, poorer regions need to improve their productive specialisation. For that purpose, cohesion and rural development policies need to be revamped to gain in efficiency, notably by supporting more effectively innovation.
SPECIAL FEATURE: REGIONAL CONVERGENCE
OECD's periodic reviews of the European Union's economy. Each review examines recent economic developments, policies, and prospects, and provides a series of recommendations.