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Brussels approves a third payment of European funds that will see Spain more than halfway through its recovery plan

Spain is again the first country to receive approval from the European Commission for another part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan. And what does it mean? Well, Brussels supports the reforms that the government has implemented to receive the third disbursement of European funds, which amounts to 6,000 million euros. With this amount, which must now be officially approved by the 27, the Spanish public treasury will receive 37,036 million euros, which represents 53% of the total transfers planned until 2026.

In this regard, Brussels considers approved the 28 measures that Spain had to implement in the first half of last year in order to comply with the 24 stages and five goals included in the recovery plan. Among the reforms needed were the bankruptcy law, which, among other things, establishes a second chance procedure for companies; vocational training; reform on self-employed income quotas; measures to combat tax fraud; Achievements in R+D+i projects in the automotive sector; or strengthening the fight against forest fires, in addition to actions to improve access to a minimum living income, projects to promote equality in sports or cultural impulses.

In addition, the European Commission considers that the follow-up was carried out at step 173, which corresponds to the establishment of an integrated information system for the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, in which the plan itself and information on its application and monitoring will be uploaded. Objectives were closed except for issues such as the audit summary and data on aid beneficiaries. The issue was stalled by the first issue, and the right-wing encouraged the possibility of freezing European funds for Spain, something the European Commission has always denied. In any case, after receiving a positive assessment of the institution, the matter is now resolved.

Only Spain and Italy requested a third part of the recovery plan. There are countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria or Poland that have not even received pre-financing due to the delay in submitting their plans. Spain has been the most preferred partner in all phases and the only one with a third payment guarantee.

The government made the request on November 11 and agreed to extend the Commission’s original deadline for the Christmas break by another month. “We are working intensively, as always, with the Spanish authorities. They have the privilege and also the problem of being the first in the process of the Recovery and Resilience Fund, because they are already in their third request for payment,” Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said at a press conference featuring the Macroeconomic. Forecasts project Spain to grow by 1.4% in 2023, four-tenths above the estimate made a few months ago and the European average.

However, the disbursement will not be automatic, as the remaining member states now have a month to analyze the reforms. With this “ok” from the Commission, Spain becomes the most advanced country in the implementation of the recovery plan agreed in 2021 in the fight against the pandemic, having completed 121 milestones and tasks out of a total of 416. In monetary terms, once. The payment will be released, Spain will receive more than half of the amount provided for in the recovery plan. The PP questions the government’s actions with distorted data since the launch of the mechanism, despite the good progress that the European institutions confirm.

“Spain has taken another important step on the road to recovery,” says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, marking reforms to advance the ecological and digital transition: Congratulations, Spain! Keep up the good work, the commission is with you.”

The Commission’s approval of the third amount comes a few days before the European Parliament’s mission to Spain to oversee its implementation. Heads the delegation German conservative MP Monika Hollmayer, which questioned the management of the government. “I don’t know where the money is,” the parliamentarian said recently after interceding on behalf of a corruption-tainted childhood friend who made $48 million selling masks during the pandemic. he The executive responded with a letter to the mission In which he recalled that the dissemination of the recovery plan had repeatedly received the approval and even congratulations of the European Commission. “It is subject to the highest standards of audit and control,” Vice President Nadia Calvino and Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero said in the letter.

Once approval is given to disburse this money, the government faces, yes, reforms at the request of those who oppose it. When the government presented the first part of the pension reform, the European Commission issued a full package of 12,000 million, but expressed doubts about the sustainability of the system and warned that it would evaluate all changes regarding the payment of the fourth tranche. : “It would be necessary to address the risk of a significant fiscal hole created by the measures taken.”

More than a month after the scheduled date, Social Security Minister José Luis Escriva is negotiating with various groups – the European Commission, parliamentary groups and, especially, the minority partner; And social agents – two issues that remain unresolved: calculation of pension over the years and what is the highest salary. As for the contribution of those who have the most, the minister opened a “solidarity quota” or “surcharge” for higher wages, a measure that the ministry has already increased in Brussels, as reported by El País.

But the main obstacle in the negotiations is the calculation of pensions, which the government has taken as part of the recovery plan for Brussels. Escriva failed to convince the government’s parliamentary partners (nor Unidas Podemos) of his proposal to extend the pension calculation years from 25 to 28. Nor to the trade unions, which are demanding a political majority to negotiate on this issue, which is not coming and is blocking the closing of the reform.

The doubts of the European Commission were in the intergenerational capital mechanism (MEI) approved in the first block of the reform, which consists of an additional quota intended for the pension piggy bank. Brussels called for the stabilization of this instrument after 2032, the date when the government wanted to re-analyze the state of the pension system in order to agree on its continuity. It is intended to be extended until 2050.

Source: El Diario





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