The European Commission has today adopted a positive preliminary assessment of Spain's payment request for €10 billion of grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU. This is the first preliminary assessment of a payment request from a Member State approved by the Commission, and marks an important landmark in the implementation of the Facility.
On 11 November 2021, Spain submitted to the Commission a payment request based on the achievement of the 52 milestones selected in the Council Implementing Decision for the first instalment. They cover reforms in the areas of sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, decarbonisation, connectivity, public administration, skills, education and social, research and development, labour and fiscal policy, as well as Spain's audit and control system for the implementation of the RRF. The submission of the first payment request by Spain followed a period of close cooperation between the Spanish authorities and the Commission on the preparation of the evidence to demonstrate the satisfactory fulfilment of the milestones included in the payment request.
The milestones fulfilled demonstrate significant steps in the implementation of Spain's recovery and resilience plan, and of its broad reform agenda. They include important measures like the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition (enshrining climate neutrality by 2050), the reform of minimum income support, measures to support the digitalisation of SMEs and boost digital skills, and reforms reinforcing the capacity to carry out and follow up on spending reviews.
As most of the milestones linked to this first payment request had already been achieved by the end of the second quarter of this year, the Commission was able to conclude its assessment more rapidly than the two months period foreseen in the RRF Regulation.
The Spanish recovery and resilience plan includes a wide range of investment and reform measures in thirty thematic components. It is worth €69.5 billion in grants, 13% of which (€9 billion) have already been disbursed to Spain in pre-financing on 17 August 2021.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Spain's fulfilment of the milestones required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC's opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission's assessment. Following the EFC's opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Spain would take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by Spain based on the fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms. Member States can submit such requests twice a year.
The amounts disbursed to the Member States will be published in the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard by the end of the year, which will show progress of the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans in a transparent manner.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today, we reach a new milestone in the implementation of our Recovery Plan NextGenerationEU. In our view, the first Member State - and that is Spain - is ready to receive a payment from NextGenerationEU. So as soon as this is also approved by Member States, Spain will receive 10 billion euros. This is because Spain has made good progress in implementing NextGenerationEU. And more will come. With our Recovery Plan, we are helping modernise our economies and create good jobs for Europeans.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: “Today marks a significant step forward in Europe's recovery, with the delivery of the first set of reforms and investments by a Member State. I congratulate Spain on having successfully achieved the first 52 milestones set out in its recovery and resilience plan. These include important reforms to strengthen the resilience of the Spanish economy and equip it for the future. Pending review by Member States, Spain is now set to receive 10 billion euros, which should greatly help to roll out the many green and digital investments foreseen in the Spanish plan. Thanks to the close cooperation with Spanish authorities and their reform efforts over the past months, the Commission has been able to conclude its assessment in record time. We are off to a positive start. The RRF is moving forward!”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “Today's positive preliminary assessment is a recognition of Spain having adopted a very broad range of reforms: measures to enhance education and training for all Spaniards, support the most vulnerable households, boost digital skills and the competitiveness of SMEs, and chart a course for a 100% renewables-based electricity. In these uncertain times, today we send a signal of confidence in the implementation of Spain's ambitious plan to achieve stronger, more inclusive and more sustainable growth.”
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