By Andrew Atkinson

Spain has received a €9 billion instalment, phase one of the EU’s coronovirus recovery plan.

“We’re conscious of the modernisation and achievements that EU funds have created for Spain over the decades – bringing us more in line with more developed countries,” said Economy Minister Nadia Calviño.

Spain submitted a detailed plan focused on green, digital and gender equality solutions, when the country applied for Next Generation EU funds.

The funds were signed off and €70bn was approved in direct aid, and an additional €70bn as a loan.

“These are extraordinary opportunities as to what could be achieved with EU grants – if the money is used properly,” said Calviño.

“Steps taken by Spain from the beginning of the pandemic to protect the productive fabric of the country and the most vulnerable members of society mean a very different scenario, from that of the previous financial crisis and a quicker, more effective exit from it,” said Calviño.

President Pedro Sánchez said: “The initial instalment of €9b – 13% of the total non-refundable sum agreed – will allow Spain to put into effect the huge transformations that its economy needs”.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “This disbursement of Next Generation EU funds launches the implementation of Spain’s recovery and resilience plan.

“The ambitious plan will provide a crucial push to make the EU Green Deal a reality, further digitalise the economy and make Spain more resilient than ever.”