Europe once again demands clear data from Spain on the recipients of EU funds

The Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament has once again demanded that Spain publish in a structured and accessible way information on the projects, payments and reforms linked to the Next Generation recovery funds, from which it received a third payment of 6,000 million at the end of March, having already received a total of 37,036 million. The commission, which made a visit to Spain last February, acknowledges that the national authorities have already published “almost all the information” on tenders in a non-aggregated manner.

The recommendation appears in the final version of the mission report of this European Parliament commission, a non-binding document to which the members of the mission have been able to propose changes since the initial draft was debated a month ago now. The text, published on the website of the European Parliament, which does not require to be submitted to any vote and has no further parliamentary runhighlights that the deputies who attended the mission encountered “difficulties” when it came to receiving, from the Spanish Government, the specific amounts disbursed up to now to all the beneficiaries in an aggregate manner, a fact that the European regulation does not require make public.

The report “asks the Spanish authorities to ensure that information on projects, payments and reforms is published in a timely, structured and accessible manner, including information on the final recipients of the funds, allowing for public scrutiny.” At the same time, it also points out that the Spanish authorities “they have published online almost all the information about tenders, from the calls to the concessions” and that the delegation “has found a lot of unaggregated information available,” but calls it “difficult for the public and journalists to find.”

The report also includes the information provided by the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, in a letter dated May 9 in which she provides aggregate data on disbursement commitments to final beneficiaries, although -the report highlights – “without specifying how much each recipient has actually been paid”. The text, on the other hand, maintains several recommendations that were already in the initial draft, such as increasing flexibility and reducing bureaucracy in the recovery plan while calling the administrative burden “a common complaint from interested parties”

“Legal uncertainty in ex-ante procedures on complex tenders and conflicts of interest (…) have potentially slowed down the implementation of the funds,” he says. He also acknowledges that the CoFFEE and Minerva systems for the control of funds are “operational and functional” despite some “delays” in their implementation.

In fact, the text underlines that both systems “have the potential to be strong internal technical tools for auditing and controlling central government spending”, although it also suggests that the Spanish authorities “facilitate their interoperability with other systems” and that they grant ” permanent access” to your data to the EU Court of Auditors and the National Anti-Fraud Coordination Service.

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