The EU has already unblocked the first anticovid aid for sixteen states

Plenary of the European Parliament. / REUTERS

The Netherlands and Bulgaria are the only ones that have not yet sent their recovery plans to Brussels

Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia. Those are the four countries that passed the last procedure yesterday to be able to receive European funds. The Ministers of Economy and Finance, in a virtual and informal Ecofin meeting held yesterday, gave the go-ahead to these four recovery plans, bringing the total of those already validated to sixteen. On the 13th, at another ministerial meeting held in Brussels, in addition to the project in Spain, the green light was turned on for those signed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovakia. .

“A year after the EU leaders reached the historic agreement on the recovery package, more than half of our Member States are now ready to initiate the reforms and investments necessary for our economy to adapt to the future,” he said. Highlighted Andrej Šircelj, Head of Finance for Slovenia, the country that holds the rotating presidency of the EU, at the end of Monday’s videoconference.

“In a matter of days or weeks” (depending on the cases and the speed of forging technical commitments) the money will start to flow. A first payment in the form of an advance that will require more than 51,000 million euros to cover all those elected and that Vice President Valdis Dombrowskis emphasizes that “we will have available.” “We have already made the necessary market transactions to cover these advances and we will be able to cover the refinancing needs in full.”

Guaranteed today is the provision of liquidity for the first twelve countries (the first payment amounts to 50,000 million) that obtained the approval of Ecofin. But the Latvian believes that there will be no problems in making the necessary transfers to the rest. “It all depends on the Member States” in reference to the completion of the necessary procedures to sign “credit granting agreements”. The transmission of payments could last until the fall, he added. In the cases of Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia, a written notification process is also required as a preliminary step due to the informal nature of the meeting of European ministers held yesterday.

The investment and reform plan presented by Spain aims to achieve the 69,500 million euros that correspond only to direct subsidies. Another 70,000 would remain outstanding in the form of soft loans from a fund for the whole Union amounting to 800,000 euros at current prices. The advance that Spain should receive shortly amounts to about 9,000 million euros. Before December it should receive another 10,000. And from 2022, new sections are established that will already require adjustments such as the reform of the labor market or the pension system.

Ireland and Czech Republic pass the first exam

Two community club members (the Netherlands and Bulgaria) have not yet sent their plans to Brussels. Those of Ireland and the Czech Republic have just passed the first filter when they were approved by the European Commission. The rest are still in the evaluation process carried out by the community executive technicians – they have up to two months to complete it – the analysis on Hungary and Poland being especially problematic.

Both have been filed for alleged violation of fundamental rights by homophobic initiatives and, in the case of Poland, also for refusing to comply with the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Poland, in particular, would have requested an extension of up to “four months” to make the necessary adjustments before Brussels issues its opinion. In recent weeks, the idea that the principle of conditionality that links the transfer of European funds to compliance with European standards on fundamental rights has gained momentum with the governments of Budapest and Warsaw.

The ministers also took stock of the package to combat money laundering recently adopted by the European Commission and which aims to “improve the existing EU framework, taking into account the new challenges related to technological innovation”.

A package that contemplates the start-up from 2026 of the European Authority against Money Laundering, which will be able to supervise the work of national agencies and impose sanctions of up to 10% of the turnover. Financial institutions and cryptocurrencies will be the first to be placed under the scrutiny of this new Agency.

The compendium of legislative measures against money laundering that the European Commission presented last week also includes the prohibition of cash transactions exceeding 10,000 euros.

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