Spain receives first €9-billion share of EU Covid recovery funds

Spain receives first €9-billion share of EU Covid recovery funds
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at a press conference in June. Bernat Armangue / POOL / AFP
Spain said Tuesday it had received its first slice of funds amounting to €9 billion from the European Union's multi-billion-euro coronavirus fund.

Spain along with Italy will receive the lion’s share of the €750 billion ($885 billion) earmarked by Brussels to relaunch Europe’s economies that have been devastated by the Covid-19 epidemic.

“This first share represents 13 percent of the €70 billion in subsidies which Spain will receive” between now and 2025, the Spanish government said in a statement.

Spain is expected to receive a second tranche of €10 billion later this year with 80 percent of the payments expected between 2021 and 2023, the statement added.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s leftist government expects to create 800,000 new jobs with the aid of the EU funds.

It predicts the cash injection should add two percentage points to economic growth per year.

EU member states last month formally approved recovery plans submitted by 12 countries — including France, Italy and Spain — paving the way for the first instalments to be paid.

Further payouts will depend on whether national governments deliver on reforms and commitments that the money spent will meet pre-set targets on advancing Europe’s green and digital investment priorities.

Spain’s economy was one of the worst performers in the eurozone last year, contracting by 10.8 percent as its key tourism sector was battered by the pandemic travel restrictions.

The government expects the economy will expand by 6.5 percent in 2021.


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