Transparency & Accountability • 08 Jul 2021
Launch of RecoveryWatchBack to overview
Today together with European Network of Corporate Observatories (ENCO), Observatori del deute en la Globalitazció, Observatoire des multinationales (France), ReCommon (Italy) and Corporate Europe Observatory we launch the platform RecoveryWatch which aims to investigate how big business is influencing recovery plans at national and EU level and is seeking to capture recovery funds for corporate interests.
National governments and the European Union have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with unprecedented levels of public support to the private sector, first to help businesses cope with the health crisis and restrictions, then in an effort to boost the post-pandemic ’economic recovery’. Huge amounts of public money have been channelled to corporations through different mechanisms, complemented by favourable regulatory and legislative changes – often involving a scaling-back of regulations.
From the beginning, large corporations and financial institutions have sought – with a certain degree of success - to influence and frame the official response to the pandemic and the recovery plans and to capture public funds for themselves and for their own agenda.
The multi-billion EU’s recovery funds – and its centerpiece, the Recovery and Resilience Facility - are said to be one of the largest public investment plans in history. The funds will be distributed through national recovery plans developed and implemented by member states. In theory, EU and national plans should be aligned with the Green Deal and with Europe’s climate objectives. In practice, big business still has privileged access to decision-makers. There is a danger that EU recovery funds could serve to consolidate vested corporate interests, be used as an opportunity to impose their controversial industrial agenda (through greenwashing) and generate important negative social and gender impacts.
A battle has been brewing on the shape and direction of the “recovery”: How strongly this historical public support should be tied to climate and economic justice conditions? How much should go to public services, municipalities and the nonprofit sector rather than to the private sector? Who will ultimately pay the bill and will we see austerity politics return with a bang?
Given the unprecedented amounts of money involved, accountability and protection of decision-making processes from corporate capture are more important than ever. The development of recovery plans and the distribution of the funds should be a matter of democratic debate rather than an affair negotiated behind closed doors between politicians, officials and corporate elites. This is what we aim to contribute to through RecoveryWatch.
About Recovery Watch
RecoveryWatch is an initiative of the European Network of Corporate Observatories (ENCO), which aims to investigate how big business is influencing recovery plans at national and EU level and is seeking to capture recovery funds for corporate interests.
Participating organisations include Observatori del deute en la Globalitazció, Observatoire des multinationales (France), ReCommon (Italy), Corporate Europe Observatory and Counter Balance (EU).
RecoveryWatch provides a common framework and umbrella for articles, research and publications on the design, implementation and social and environmental impacts of post-Covid recovery plans, on the ultimate beneficiaries of the recovery funds, and on the controversial projects that may be funded as part of the plans. This will include both national-level research and UE-level research on cross-cutting themes.
We work in close collaboration with other organisations and networks, both nationally and at EU level, and the initiative is open to new contributions and participants.