The mission of a European Parliament delegation in Madrid to examine the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Fund has begun.
It might criticize the Spanish Minister of Economy, who bears responsibility for the excellent handling of EU funds, according to Euractiv.
The European Parliament visit causes tense relations with the Spanish government. The Spanish media are already comparing it to “men in black” missions, which refer to EU experts visiting to check the execution of EU financial programs.
A third tranche of the EU recovery fund for Spain
The hot mission of the European Parliament comes after the European Commission endorsed the third tranche of the EU recovery fund for Spain, worth €6 billion. It follows its confirmation that Madrid had accomplished the 29 objectives associated with it, including pension reform.
EU member states now have a month to ratify the payment. If approved, this funding will increase the total subsidies obtained from the Next Generation EU fund by Spain to almost €37 billion. So, Spain is the European nation with the highest payments to date.
Unlike the previous EU mission in October 2022, which commended efforts to reach all EU objectives, Madrid’s current circumstances are not as bright this time.
Criticism of Spain’s handling of the plan
In February, the mission’s head, German MEP Monika Hohlmeier (CDU/EPP), criticized Spain’s handling of the plan, explicitly naming Economy Minister Nadia Calviño (PSOE/S&D).
Hohlmeier, chair of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee, accused Calviño of “passing the burden for the success of the plan to the Spanish regions”.
In this context, she highlighted that the EU mission intends to “examine the execution of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience plan, including milestones and targets and in particular the governance, audit and monitoring mechanisms in place”.
The German MEP said that the mission “will be carried out in a non-politicized and fact-based manner” and that all meetings during the three days in Madrid would help to obtain a “deeper” understanding of the plan’s measures and investments.
According to Calvio and Montero, the implementation of EU funds in the Recovery Plan increased by more than 13% in 2022, a year of “amazing progress” and “strong acceleration” with projects allowed for € 25.143 billion.