“Why do they not publish the agreement of the Government of Spain with the European Commission to know the conditionality of the receipt of funds?”, Asked the president of the PP, Pablo Casado, this Wednesday in Congress: “If it does not make it public this week, we will go to the European Parliament and the European Commission to demand that it be published, and we will make it public for all Spaniards. It’s good to lie, man, there one thing and here another “.
Well, the agreement –Operational arrangement– to which Casado was referring will neither be secret nor contain conditionalities nor is it only for Spain. These are operational provisions for the 27 that detail the mechanism for monitoring compliance with the milestones and objectives of the reforms. And, as Spain is the one that is most advanced, they are being elaborated for the first time for the Spanish case but, as indicated in the regulation approved last February by governments and the European Parliament With the vote of the MEPs of the PP of Casado, all countries must sign them as a preliminary step to receive disbursements, which in the case of Spain are 140,000 million, between transfers and credits –This is how the one in Portugal is announced, for example-.
It is not a secret because Spain has already said that it will make it public –in addition to being listed in the BOE-, and does not meet new conditions because it is an instruction book to evaluate the reforms already agreed between Spain and the European Commission in the plan delivered on April 30, and for which Brussels has already disbursed 9,000 million euros. It will be published in the next few days, once it is signed by the Government and Brussels.
“The European Commission has agreed on the operational provisions with Spain”, explain the community spokespersons: “It is expected that the agreement will be signed by both parties (the Commission and the Spanish authorities) in the coming days. The operational agreements are bilateral, between the Member State concerned and the Commission, and establish criteria for monitoring the implementation of national recovery and resilience plans. ”
And they state: “As such, they do not include new requirements, but rather detail the implementation of the milestones and objectives described in the Council’s implementation decision. [por la que se aprueba cada plan nacional]”.
The sources of the European institution explain that “the Community Executive strives to achieve a high degree of transparency during the execution of the mechanism [los fondos] and, as such, believes that the operational agreements signed with the Member States should be made public. “And they add:” The Commission is discussing with the Member States the possible publication of the operational agreements once signed.
The first vice president, Nadia Calviño, clarified this Thursday: “I believe that soon we will be able to sign that agreement with the European Commission and make the request for the first payment and, at that time, the operational and technical document will be made public.”
“The guide is nothing more than a technical document that comes to instrumentalize the operation to what is already included in the plan, with operational monitoring elements, such as the frequency of monitoring milestones and objectives,” government sources explain: ” It is a document that will serve as the basis for all Member States, establishing, for example, aspects such as visits or follow-up meetings being quarterly. This is the kind of detail that can be found in the document. ”
“Spain is leading this process,” government sources continue, “we are the first to make the first disbursement request, to go through the process of drafting this operational document, which obviously brings new times that are difficult to foresee a priori. And, in this case, this is a document that serves as the basis for all Member States, it is not specific to our plan. In that sense, the detail and formalization of the document was important and we were the first “.
From here, Spain would request the new tranche of funds, which amounts to 10,000 million euros: “The procedure begins with the signature and with the subsequent formalization of the application, and we hope that it can lead to a rapid approval both by the Commission and the Council, since the milestones included in this petition are 52 milestones that are related to elements that include both the year 2020 and the first half of 2021, that is, already completed “.
According to the fund’s regulations, the European Commission has up to two months to evaluate the application, and then another month for the Council – the governments. In other words, the process can take up to three months, although the Government hopes it will be shorter. But what if the deadlines are not so rushed and the money, budgeted for 2021, arrives in 2022? “This is not a financial problem nor does it suppose any type of unforeseen event for the Treasury or for Spain in general. It is a matter of financial accounting, of when the income comes in and how it is accounted for in cash and in national accounting. It does not have more than that. “.
However, the Government recognizes: “It is a very important message that the disbursement arrives in this last quarter, and we are putting all efforts. The detail, the preparation of the different documents and the fact that this first disbursement request is related With milestones already met, it makes it possible to reduce deadlines, a framework within which both the Commission and the Council operate, and within that framework we are going to work to try to meet the deadline to reach the end of the year. “