On 29 October 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó, Antoni Comín i Oliveres and Clara Ponsatí Obiols of the Non-attached Members, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On October 26, President Von Der Leyen informed Spanish Regional Ministers that every Member State would decide what share of EU Recovery Fund projects goes to SMEs. She also committed to putting regions and cities at its centre.
This is consistent with Commission document SWD (2020)0205 that states ‘Member States should detail the processes and structures set up at national, regional and local levels to ensure complementarity and coordination of the management of various Union sources of funding in line with Article 22 of the Proposal’. It also opens the door for regional and local participation in the decision-making process for the allocation of funds. However, the Spanish Government states that regions and cities will only take part in the implementation of projects, not their selection.
Taking all this into account,
1. How will the Commission ensure that regions and cities take part in the decision-making process for allocating the EU Recovery Fund?
2. What legal and organisational framework will the Commission put in place to ensure that grants from the EU Recovery Fund are allocated to the most competitive projects on the basis of objective criteria, and that SMEs get a fair share?”
On 16 February 2021, President von der Leyen responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The proposed Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) provides that the Commission and the Member States concerned, in a measure commensurate to their respective responsibilities, shall foster synergies and ensure effective coordination between the various EU funds and instruments, and for that purpose ensure close cooperation between the institutions and bodies responsible for its implementation, involving regional levels where appropriate.
The Commission encourages Member States to involve regional authorities in the drafting and implementation of the Recovery and Resilience plans to ensure ownership and to reflect their competences in some key areas, in line with their national legal framework. Member States are also encouraged to describe any consultation and contribution of relevant stakeholders to their plans.
The Commission takes note of the Spanish government’s intention to engage with the Sectoral Conference of European Funds.
The Commission will ensure that support allocated to reforms and public investments, including those that benefit small and medium-sized enterprises, will follow the various criteria of the final Regulation. Member States need to fully respect state aid and procurement rules. This will ensure transparent and competitive allocation of the support.”
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