Next week, the European Commission will present the first evaluations of the recovery plans with which countries will access European aid against the pandemic, about 800,000 million euros in total. Two sources confirmed to elEconomista that Spain will be among the first to receive the go-ahead, among the 23 member states that have sent their drafts.
There will be more, like Portugal or Greece, but the choice of who will be part of the first block of elected, and the sequence, is a “very political” decision, explains a community source to this newspaper.
In addition, another source familiar with the process explains that the Commission is still giving the final touches to the plans with several countries, before submitting them to the Council (Member States) for final approval in July, so that the expected payment arrives that same month. of the first transfers.
It will be about 9,000 million euros in the case of Spain, of the 70,000 million non-refundable that we have, and another 70,000 million in loans that we will request later.
But before the cascade of approvals begins next week (the Commission wants to approve more than a dozen plans before the end of June), the European Parliament redoubled pressure on the Commission to ensure that investment proposals and capital reforms meet all the goals and requirements of the recovery fund.
In other words, at least 37% of the funds are dedicated to the ‘green’ agenda and at least 20% to digital transformation, and that the structural reforms presented by the countries address a “significant” group of national recommendations. issued annually by the Commission to the countries. In the Spanish case, Brussels has been asking for years to improve our labor market and the sustainability of pensions, among other points.
The resolution approved by the European Parliament asks the Commission “not to make political concessions” to the governments, and to distance itself when evaluating the documents, given that it was involved in drawing up the plans.
MEPs underline that the fund represents a “historic instrument” to transform the European economy and strengthen social cohesion after the pandemic.
They also insist that plans have to include milestones, targets and cost estimates that are “relevant, clear, detailed and adequately controlled.” This has been one of the most important points for the Commission as well, given that by meeting the milestones and objectives, the countries will access the disbursements.
In addition, the European Parliament expresses its “concern” because there is a risk that a “significant amount” of the loans offered by the fund, some 360,000 million euros of the total, remain unused, which would reduce the impact of the European stimulus .
So far, only seven countries have requested to use them, adding up to some 166 billion in total. Italy has asked to use all of its own, about 122.6 billion. Spain has said that it will ask for the 70,000 million that correspond to it from next year.
The resolution also asks the Commission to monitor compliance with the rule of law, fraud and corruption when governments use the funds. And it calls for more resources for the European Court of Auditors, the anti-fraud agency OLAF and for the new European prosecutor’s office to combat the misuse of the EU fund.