Spain has only spent 23% of the European funds planned for 2021 and 2022 | Economy

The President of the Government appeared in Congress last Wednesday together with the First Vice President, Nadia Calviño.
The President of the Government appeared in Congress last Wednesday together with the First Vice President, Nadia Calviño.JJ Guillén (EFE)

The Government has spent months insisting on the cruising speed that it has managed to print to the management of European funds. The opposition and various experts, however, criticize the slowness and delay for the aid to arrive at street level. Given this, the lack of information on the actual execution made it difficult to make an assessment. So far, when the Executive has included in the Stability Program sent to Brussels the exact amount that it has already paid: 12,187.56 million, only 23.4% of what was budgeted for 2021 and 2022.

By exercise, last year 11,000.56 million were disbursed (45.5% of what was planned) and in this year 1,187 million (4.2% of what was contemplated in the public accounts). Although this figure can be misleading: it does not mean that this amount as a whole has reached the companies. In reality, the amount that has been transferred, for example, to one of the State agencies that will distribute it, is also included. That is, it is in a stage of the process very close to the final destination. “This money is already listed as paid when it is transferred to the IDAE [Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía]to or state companies such as Adif”, explain government sources.

Raymond Torres, Director of the Funcas Situation, assures that he is not surprised by the amount disbursed, although he expected greater speed so far this year: “In percentage terms it is going slowly, but in volume I think that a very important effort is being made when it comes to of large quantities. These 12,000 million, if compared, represent almost half of the annual public investment before the pandemic.

To meet these payments, Spain budgeted 52,156 million in its accounts between 2021 and 2022, if the latest changes made are included. An amount higher than what he will receive in that period from Brussels: the Commission has transferred 19,037 million to him —above what has been spent so far—. Spain has also requested the second semi-annual disbursement for an amount of 12,000 million euros. And in the second part of the year it plans to ask for 6,000 million more. In total, it will have received about 37,000 million euros. In other words, the Government was optimistic when preparing its public accounts and opted to advance funds so that the effect of European manna on the economy would arrive as soon as possible. However, in the end, the Executive has delayed the impact to this year, an oxygen cylinder that will not be felt strongly, at least, until the second part of the exercise.

Distribution of payments

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Elvira Rodríguez, deputy general secretary of the PP, results in this delay and the delay in stimulating activity, as the study services of various institutions have already warned. For example, the Tax Authority (Airef) and the Bank of Spain. “It’s going late, that’s why Airef has lowered the impact of the funds. In addition, they will have a lower drag effect on the economy due to inflation: with the same money you can buy less,” says Rodríguez.

In the Stability Plan it is not specified which State administration has executed each part of what has been paid. In other words, the amount that the central government has spent and how much is executed by the autonomous communities is unknown. The document does break down the total transferred to the regions until April 21 (13,345 million), but not what amounts of this amount are in each part of the process —authorized, committed, executed…—.

In this way, with the public information available, it is impossible to determine how the recorded expenditure is divided. “Logic says that the autonomies have had to pay four out of every ten euros, which is the approximate percentage that corresponds to the management. But it is not known if this coincides with reality, since the rate of spending is very heterogeneous”, maintains a source from the Administration. On this issue, the Government does not provide this information at the moment. The document that serves to report to Brussels on fiscal and financial policy for the next four years also adds other large figures to certify the progress of fund management. For example, what has been authorized to date amounts to 30,316 million and the money committed rises to 25,538 million, which is almost half of what was budgeted for 2021 and 2022.

The business school Esade and the consulting firm EY published an analysis on the execution of the funds on Tuesday. The study reflects the acceleration that occurred in 2021 in the management of these resources after a hesitant start: “[Hubo] some very modest beginnings, but accelerating at the end of the year, ”says the text.

Among the tenders —without counting the subsidies and what is allocated to strategic projects—, “within public entities, the one that has acquired the leading role to date has been Adif, which has tendered nearly 2,500 million euros, around half of the total European funds tendered so far”, is quantified in the report. That is to say, a public company with a great investment capacity is the one that is pulling the spending, while the private sector is finding it more difficult to enter and benefit from the distribution.

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