“National Case Studies on the Implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plans of the Next Generation EU Funds 2024”

The productive transformation working group of transform! europe in collaboration with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, is launching a

Call for Papers.


“National Case Studies on the Implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plans of the Next Generation EU Funds 2024”


Conceptualisation and Coordination: Roland Kulke & Steffen Lehndorff


transform europe has published several case studies in recent years on how the EU and its Member States handled the Covid-19 pandemic economically.

Our first cycle of studies covered the period of 2020 and 2021, when the EU stopped the application of the state debt, and state aid rules. The results were that our governments, now free from neoliberal rules of the EU did mostly just more of the same. We found no EU country which used the financial freedom to break with old path dependencies and to invest into a social and ecological transformation.

The second cycle covered the genesis of the national program, which the governments had to submit to the EU Commission to received grants and loans from the Next Generation EU Funds. These “Recovery and Resilience Plans” were at the end a mixture of national ambitions and plans of the EU Commission. The result of the influence of the EU COM was that at least some money had to be invested into climate policies and into the digitalisation of the national economies.

A third inspiration for this call for papers is our project on the “Mapping the Political Economy of the EU Peripheries”. In the conference transform europe organized in April 2023 we discussed the polit-economic reasons of peripheral and central economies. While on the one hand we find long-term developments like the existence of the so-called “Blue-Banana”, also recent investment decisions of the powerful private enterprises like from the German automotive sector determine the production and therefore power-geography of the EU. On the other hand, governments have power to influence the economic development of their national economies. We discussed for example the Baltic example where we can witness strong differences in economic development, based on different strategic decisions taken by the national governments. This example proves the relative ability of national governments to influence the national paths of development and offer an empirical rejection of the argument that the status of a peripheral economy is permanent.

The question that arises for our project is whether the Member States and the EU are using the enormous amounts of money in such a way that they provide decent jobs for the popular classes and adapt our economies to the climate catastrophe that is already underway and enable life within the “planetary boundaries”.

We would like the authors to pick their own country and to answer the following questions:

      1. How much of the grants and loans have already been used?
      2. Will the countries be able to use all the resources to which they are entitled? What are problems of the EU-Member States to use the resources properly?
      3. What has the money been spent for so far, and what are the plans for future spending? Do we have news on how successful the supported projects (incl REPowerEU) are in terms of the two pillars of the NGEU funds: offering a “greening” and “digitalisation” of the economy? How successful are these two pillars implemented? And is there specific knowledge on which companies get involved? (are these primarily from the USA, or from where?)
      4. Is the disbursement of the funds linked to criteria of ‘decent work’ (in the broad sense: further training and qualification, minimization of temporary work, collective bargaining etc.) or to agreements on securing locations, to secure workers and regions against the profound disruptions in industry and the labour markets?
      5. Which neoliberal reforms (conditionalities) are being pushed through nationally by the programs, linked to the European Semester? Do we know who wrote these “reforms” into the RRF plans? Was it the EU-COM or the national government? Are we seeing major neoliberal reforms?
      6. Can we recognize positive developments in the national economies, changes towards new economic sectors and job opportunities? Is there a breakout from well-trodden paths? Especially for economies of the periphery: can you see genuine advantages for the economic development? In other words: to which extent do we signs that peripheral economies are coming closer to the economic centre (i.e. via integration into value chains).

Which countries are we looking for?

We would prefer to get applications for Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark or other Nordic countries. But we are also open for other suggestions.

Technical issues of the studies:

      • Fee: 700 Euro per country study
      • The studies must be written in English
      • They should be around 30.000 characters long (10-12 pages)
      • The chapters should be organised according to the questions above to facilitate the comparability between the studies.
      • For the writing process please refer to our publication guidelines which we will send to the authors
      • To apply, submit your application with a short CV by email to kulke@transform-network.net (putting in subject: “APPLICATION: NextGen National Case Studies 2024”)

Proposed timelines:

16th February: Announcement of the authors after a selection of the submissions

27th February to 3rd March: Zoom meeting of all authors to discuss ideas and exchange on the beginning work (the date will be decided via doodle, which that authors will receive on 16th February). March and April would be the time for first research.

6th May: Authors will send their first drafts, formulated bullet points are enough to the coordinators.

22nd May: coordinators will send comments to the authors.

23rd June: authors send first fully written drafts to coordinators; incl. having used the style guide of transform europe.

16th July: coordinators send last recommendations to the authors.

4th September: authors submit the final texts to the coordinators.

September/October: final editing of the texts, proofreading and graphical setting.


Presentation and use work results:

We hope to discuss results of the work at the EuroMemorandum Conference in September and at the annual European Forum (2024 in Budapest) which will take place early winter 2024.

We also want to have, after publication of all studies, a public online event.

Furthermore, the results of this project will be fed into a larger economic conference in spring 2025.