The EU threatens to freeze Spain’s recovery funds until it details what it is being spent on

The European Commission know for Government Spanish it You will not receive any other money from the fund Recovery until the new mechanism is put in place to control these expenses which was among the objectives of the recovery plan with which it promised to comply. According to Bloomberg, citing a high-ranking community official, the message was conveyed to him by a team of European experts – known as Men in Black – who visited Madrid in September. Once the news was published, the Commission issued a statement saying that any statement that it had “frozen” the recovery funds to Spain would be “unfounded” but confirms the premise that the government must still fulfill its commitment to improve oversight of spending these funds as promised in January Last December, and that she will check whether she complied when she receives the request for the third tranche of aid, which has not happened yet.

Spain is the first country to receive European funds To rebuild the economy after the pandemic, the second in the allocated funds. According to the schedule agreed with the commission, the government should have requested six billion of the third installment of funds before October 1, but it did not take this step and did not justify the delay after saying that the delivery of the previous section was at the end of July , that is, relatively recently. The Commission notes that the schedule for applications and expenditures is a “guidance” and in fact is not usually strict with dates as long as the government in question justifies it. However, in a recent response to questions from ABC, the community CEO remembers that Operating Agreement With the government of Spain only two applications can be submitted for funds each year, so if you don’t process it before the end of the year, you simply miss the opportunity.

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Brussels had already warned Spain about weaknesses in its control system in the initial assessment that made way for the first batch of 12,000 million euros in European funds that were authorized to Spain last December (9,000 million in advance released before). In the document, he urged the government to amend the planned control schemes to ensure transparency and operability of information related to funds and, in particular, to identify the true beneficiaries of investments, which he understood was not guaranteed. In order by Hacienda design.

The committee’s censure refers to milestone 173 in the government’s recovery and resilience plan that has been accepted in Brussels. Last December, when it was announced that it had agreed to comply with the Spanish program – without which it would not have been able to receive any transfer – the Commission left a tagline in its report stating that Spain “committed to further developing its system to improve its functionality and efficiency. Among the Measures referred to by the same committee, “improve data collection on the end beneficiaries of foreign companies not registered in Spain, both for contracts already concluded and for future contracts”, including “bilateral monitoring with all participating companies and with the official registry in the Member State where they reside” companies. The government is also said to be committed to “improving access to beneficial ownership information for oversight purposes by establishing dedicated controllers within the Ministry of Finance”.

As the commission said on Friday, when approval was given to comply with the milestones of the Spanish recovery plan in order to start payments, it was also agreed to grant Nine months of government overtime To implement these elements of the new audit regime, something that states that it is “not an unusual practice” and that it has already been done with other countries.

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The Finance Ministry avoids specifying whether or not Brussels’ demands could delay the payment of 6000 million for the new delivery of funds not yet requested, saying only that the dialogue with the Commission is “flexible and continuous.” And they realize in Brussels that “Spain is working in cooperation with the tax authority to improve the information system”

defend the government

The Treasury justifies the problems with meeting deadlines agreed with Europe as a “complex process” and that its decentralized nature in Spain “adds complexity to the system”. According to informed sources, the committee gave nine months last December to correct the discovered vulnerabilities, which, according to this requirement, were supposed to be resolved by September at the latest. However, in June, the Treasury already notified the Independent Communities that the Coffee app, a repository designed to dump all information on the degree to which European funds have been implemented, the actual payments made and the recipients of them, will not be available on the site. At least until the end of this year because of the complexity of the system.

As published by ABC, the Treasury then attempted to implement an initial information reporting system through Excel tables to attempt to comply with the commitments reached with Brussels in media matters, even if this was not done through the technology platform provided to it, generating a phenomenon Exceptional management. Mess.

So far, its own government deposited Hopes of rebuilding the economy to pre-pandemic levels and thus meet the expectations on which general state budgets are based for next year, although the general perception is that these funds take time to arrive or simply do not reach the real economy. In the budgets of this year, it was planned to spend 28,000 million of these funds, but the few implementation data leaked by the Ministry of Economy allow us to doubt the implementation of this.

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