MADRID – On Friday, the European Commission (EC) gave the green light for the payment of €10 billion in European funds to Spain. The approval came after verification that the country has met the goals of its recovery plan related to this payment.
“Spain has made sufficient progress in implementing its national NextGenerationEU plan. Therefore, it will be the first EU country to receive a payment worth 10 trillion, once the other member states approve it,” said the EC president, Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter.
The Member States of the European Union now have four weeks to approve this preliminary assessment by the Commission. Once they approve it, Spain will be able to receive the money. The amount will then be added to the €9 billion advance it received in August.
Spain was the first country in the EU to request a regular payment from the Community Recovery Fund last month. From this fund, it will receive €69.5 billion in direct transfers until 2026. Spain can once again receive the same amount of loans, which the country has not yet requested.
The €10 billion disbursement was conditional on the achievement of 52 targets of Spain’s recovery plan since February 2020. Half of those targets had already been met by the end of the first half of 2021. That is why the EC was able to approve the application relatively quickly, according to the institution.
“Europe positively appreciates the fulfillment of the first 52 milestones,” said Spain’s President Pedro Sánchez. “We are moving towards a fair, sustainable, and inclusive reconstruction. Excellent news!” he added in a tweet published shortly after the announcement of the concession.
The First Vice President of the Government and Minister of the Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, said in a statement on Linkedin that the granting of the funds “confirms once again the trust and good cooperation with the European authorities”.
The first country out of 27 to receive the money
Achieved objectives include the law on climate change and energy transition, the reform of the minimum vital income system, the new interim law to reduce temporary work in the public sector, or the strategy to promote the 5G network.
“The goals achieved show important steps in the implementation of Spain’s recovery and resilience plan and its broad reform agenda,” the European Commission said, recalling that the disbursement request was preceded by “close cooperation” between Brussels and Madrid.
“In these uncertain times, today we are sending a signal of confidence in the implementation of Spain’s ambitious plan to achieve more solid, inclusive and sustainable growth,” said the European Commission’s Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni.
The step Spain must take to actually receive the money is for the EU’s Economic and Financial Committee to approve the Commission’s report within four weeks, after which the Commission approves the final disbursement. Theoretically, the funds could be in before the end of this year.
EU disbursements are made every six months once Spain demonstrates that it has achieved the targets agreed with Brussels.