Spain is the first EU state to receive European funds approval from Brussels
Spain today, Friday, December 3, became the first EU member state to have their recovery fund approved by the European Commission in Brussels. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the EU announced the massive €10,000 million package.
This action now has to be approved by the other member states before the money can be released, which must be done within the next four weeks. If the committee does not rush the four-week deadline, the funds could theoretically arrive before the end of this year.
Posting a short message in Spanish on her official Twitter account, she wrote, “Spain has made sufficient progress in the implementation of its national NextGenerationEU plan. Therefore, it will be the first EU country to receive a payment, worth 10 billion, once the other Member States authorize it”.
Pedro Sanchez’s government was the first one to make a formal request to receive EU funding. After signing the technical document with the Community Executive that stipulates how to verify compliance with each commitment, Spain was in the running to be among the first to benefit from the huge fund that is available.
The approval of the request was linked to meeting 52 objectives of its recovery plan since February 2020. Most of these had already been achieved by the end of June 2021. As Brussels pointed out, this has allowed the European Commission to approve the application without exhausting the period of two months it has to evaluate it.
Laws on climate change and energy transition, were among the objectives, along with the reform of the minimum vital income system. Also included were regulations to reduce temporary employment in the public sector, the SME digitization plan, and the 5G promotion strategy.
There was also the adoption of the digital tax on financial transactions, labour measures such as the regulations to reduce the gender gap in wages, and the law on teleworking. Other elements of the pension reform, such as the separation of pensions, sources of funding for Social Security, and the modification of the maternity supplement were included.
Except for the advance of €9,000 million received in August – which was only linked to obtaining the green light for the recovery plan – the rest of the disbursements will take place semi-annually, until 2026. This will happen once Spain proves that it has met the objectives agreed with Brussels for each one of them.
“The goals achieved demonstrate important steps in the implementation of Spain’s recovery and resilience plan, and its broad reform agenda”, said the European Commission, as reported by elindependiente.com.