Once the Council of the European Union gives its approval to the plans that the Commission has ratified in the first instance this Wednesday – starting with Spain, and then visiting the rest of the Member States – the institution’s clock will begin to tick. another way, with another dynamic.
It is known that the Commission will not evaluate projects, because its mission is to monitor that the milestones and reforms sent to Brussels are met, commitments, some of which, like Spain, have yet to be developed, as is the case of the Perte and the reforms.
A more severe role
The pre-financing or advance of the funds has already been paid -9,000 for Spain out of an annual item of 27,000 million that have been reflected in the General State Budgets of 2021-, regardless of the plans, the role that the Commission will play from now on It will be of absolute control and demand, having previously defined mechanisms for auditing expenses, establishing clear rules.
From the moment the funds are executed, the Commission puts into operation a mechanism of controls, which are the ones that will allow the funds to reach the member states or not. It should be remembered that this item for Spain, that of subsidies of 72,000 million – our country has not yet requested any type of loan, as neighboring Portugal has done with 2,700 million – has to be executed by the end of 2023.
Thus, from minute zero, the first examination of aid compliance will take place every two months – biannually, there will be six controls of this type per year.
The next of the controls will be more imperative, and will come to the sixth month from the execution of the projects (two controls per year). In this case, if within six months, the control body detects that the development of the projects does not correspond to the milestones and reforms, a percentage reduction in the allocation may be produced by the European institution.
More severe will be the control that reaches 18 months, at which time the Commission may run into projects that deviate from the stated objectives, and then, it may require the recovery of the money delivered to date. Outside of these specific controls, there is also the control of the European semester.
Spain is the only country in the European Union that has not established a particular control as other member states have done, either by implementing an independent authority for the distribution and control of funds, or by developing existing mechanisms such as the distribution of funds from cohesion.
The Recovery and Resilience funds have the approval of the Commission, but the approval of the Council is still missing.
From minute zero of the receipt of the funds, a bi-monthly control of the funds is established.
The semi-annual control will be the first important audit examination, since the result of the analysis may lead to cuts in aid.
At 18 months
Undoubtedly the control that the Commission exercises at 18 months will be crucial. Here, Brussels can recover the money of concrete aid.