Brussels approves third payment of 6 billion to Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Brussels €6 billion
ASSSA

MADRID – Spain has reached the 29 milestones and targets to qualify for the third disbursement of €6 billion from Brussels for the Spanish recovery plan. This amount is added to the 12 billion euros that Spain received last July. 

That was the second payment. The first payment amounted to €10 billion and was made at the end of 2021, and by August of that year, €9 billion in pre-financing had already been granted to the country to get out of the pandemic. To date, Brussels has approved €37 billion, 53% of Next Generation funds for Spain. If the schedule is met, this disbursement of funds would occur on March 28. 

Related post: Spain will receive almost 8 billion euros extra from the European Recovery Fund 

For example, according to El Economista, Spain appears to be taking the lead in the use of recovery funds in the EU. The country was the first to receive both the first and the second tranches. This disbursement was related to the completion of 20 reforms and eight investments over the course of 2022, corresponding to 23 milestones and 6 targets. 

Reforms 

The first includes the reform of the Bankruptcy Act, the reform of the system of social security contributions for the self-employed, the law on measures to prevent and combat tax fraud or the law on the comprehensive vocational training system. 

Fund control system 

This payout is particularly important as the European Commission has found that Spain has satisfactorily fulfilled “additional” commitments related to the implementation of an automated system for checking funds, the controversial Milestone 173. 

The relevant milestone is part of the application for the first tranche of aid. It requires the implementation of a system of auditing and control of European funding. The other requirement attached to these additional commitments is to improve the collection of data from the beneficiaries of foreign companies that do not have power of attorney in Spain. 

Following the commitments, the Ministry of Finance has concluded agreements with the General Council of Notaries, the Association of Property Custodians and the Ministry of Justice. This allows the ministry to gain access to information about beneficial owners of foreign companies. 

In addition, Spain has issued a ministerial decree authorising the competent authorities to collect data on beneficiaries directly from applicants. In addition, it has published guidelines to strengthen the process of collecting data from contract beneficiaries. On the other hand, as regards the second commitment, Spain has developed the Minerva computer tool which will analyse potential conflicts of interest. 

European budgetary control mission to Spain 

Spain is entitled to receive up to €69.5 billion in transfers under the recovery plan and is entitled to a further €7.7 billion in additional grants and €8.6 billion in loans. The European Parliament will send a mission to Spain via the Committee on Budgetary Control on 20 February to study the government’s management of the Next Generation funds. In concrete terms, the members of the European Parliament will ask the government to account for the first payment. 

Criticism 

The mission will be led by Germany’s right-wing MEP Monika Hohlmeier. She has already accused the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, of transferring the responsibilities for managing the funds to the Autonomous Communities. The German MEP maintains a critical position in the management of this funding in Spain, even though the European Commission has always assumed that it is developing normally. 

Related post: Six Ibex companies receive 420 million euros in European recovery funds 

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