The European Parliament gives final approval to the main tool of the EU’s anti-crisis funds, to the 672,000 million that will be managed by the governments through the recovery and resilience plans – 582 votes in favor; 40 votes against and 69 abstentions. Of course, as the economic vice president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, recalled in the debate, countries must undertake “as soon as possible” the ratification of the European fund in their national parliaments so that money can begin to “flow” to companies and citizens.
Thus, MEPs have ratified this Wednesday the regulations of the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF), the main pillar of the anti-crisis plan with 672,000 million between transfers and loans – of the 750,000 million that make up the anti-crisis funds: the difference, 78,000 million They go through European Commission programs included in the EU’s multi-annual budgets 2021-2027–. However, Brussels will not be able to raise funds in the markets with the issuance of debt until all countries have ratified the decision on own resources – taxes – and the new spending ceiling of the EU’s multi-annual budget. So far, only six countries have: France, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Portugal.
“It is essential that the Member States ratify the Own Resources Decision as soon as possible so that the Commission can start its financing operations”, said Dombrovskis: “We have to get the RRF up and running as quickly as we can because European money must start to flow to Member States to support recovery, businesses and citizens, and to restart economies in a sustainable and resilient direction. ”
“February 18 could be the date of publication in the official EU gazette of this regulation”, recalled the Community Vice President.
The approved regulation establishes some conditionalities included in the guidelines published by the European Commission, updated after the negotiations for the regulation. In the new guidelines, the Community Executive states: “Member States must accompany each payment request with the necessary information so that the European Commission can assess compliance with the disbursement conditions, and the Commission may request additional information if necessary. If the objectives and goals are not met satisfactorily, payments will be suspended and, eventually, the financial contribution could be reduced. ”
“The Member States”, says the Community Executive, “will also accompany each payment request with a management statement confirming that the funds were used for the intended purpose, that the information presented with the payment request is complete, accurate and reliable. and that the established control systems provide the necessary guarantees that the funds were managed in accordance with all applicable regulations, in particular the regulations on prevention of conflicts of interest, prevention of fraud, corruption and double financing in accordance with the principle of sound financial management, and a summary of the audits carried out, including the scope of these audits in terms of expense covered and period of time covered and an analysis of the weaknesses found and the corrective actions taken “.
Thus, the European Commission states, “it may suspend disbursements at any time if serious irregularities are evidenced (that is, fraud, corruption, conflict of interest). In this case, the Commission may request access to more detailed information registered by the State. member, including data on the final beneficiaries of the projects or investments necessary to achieve the objectives and goals, and carry out, if necessary, additional controls or an audit “.
“We are asking for a strong commitment to make reforms, and more details on objectives and goals. I think we are in the right direction with Spain, but of course we still have to work together for a few days and weeks,” said Finance Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, after the last Eurogroup
As Dombrovskis explained, 18 countries have already sent the community authorities a complete or almost complete draft of their plans: “However, there is a lot of work ahead. Even the countries with the most advanced plans are working to translate the investments and reforms in operational objectives and in complying with other requirements of the regulation. The plans should not be a mosaic of small measures with little impact, they have to reflect a clear strategy “.
The socialist Eider Gardiazabal, rapporteur of the European Parliament in the negotiations of the anti-crisis fund, has argued in the debate: “This plan involves a double response, firstly recovery. And, on the other hand, transformation: it is about taking advantage of the unprecedented. This plan will allow progress to be made in a few years, which in other circumstances would have taken decades. ”
The head of the PP delegation, Dolors Montserrat, stated in plenary session that “Europeans live in an uncertainty that needs a quick and effective response.”
“It is an unprecedented economic injection. These funds belong to Europeans, they are not owned by any government, we are not going to allow populist governments to use them to squander uncontrollably by creating clientelistic networks, they are to create jobs, jobs and more jobs. “Montserrat has said:” We will be vigilant so that not a single euro is wasted. ”
The Citizens MEP and vice president of the Renew Europe group, Luis Garicano, has defended the recovery and resilience mechanism: “Today we approved the rules that will allow our countries to rebuild their economies. If we do not remedy there will be a wave of insolvencies. regulation requires reforms and investments. ”
“It is a historic day, we are going to launch the famous Eurobonds, shared debt to make transfers”, said the MEP of Catalunya en Comú and Vice President of the Greens, Ernest Urtasun: “The years of the troika are behind us, all the who were denouncing austerity can claim victory. ”