The European Commission has approved a strategic document that includes the broad lines of action and investment priorities of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (FEMPA) and the Just Transition Fund (FTJ).
As a result, Spain has been approved for financial allocation of EU aid, adding the set of instruments, of 36,6 billion euro. An agreement that is complementary to the objectives and milestones included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), which promotes the transformation of the country’s production model.
Of these 36,6 billion euro, 35,5 billion correspond to EU cohesion policy funds, where Spain is the third largest beneficiary in the 2021-2027 period, only behind Poland and Italy. This allocation is divided into 23,4 billion euro from the ERDF, 11 billion from the ESF+ and 869 million from the FTJ. To these amounts are added 1,1 billion euro assigned to Spain for the FEMPA.
As a whole, the Association Agreement represents a total investment of 59,7 billion euro. The sum of the funds included in the Agreement represents an increase of 15% compared to those obtained in the 2014-2020 period.
This investment is organised around five major policy areas, in which support for research, digitization, support for SMEs, energy efficiency, the green transition and investment of a social nature are particularly relevant:
Political Objective 1 will have close to 8,3 billion euro of European aid to strengthen research, support companies and promote the digitization of our economy.
Political Objective 2 allocates more than 9,9 billion euro to the improvement of energy efficiency, the deployment of renewable energies, actions to adapt to climate change, the implementation of a circular economy model and attention to biodiversity.
Political Objective 3 has an endowment of 1,2 billion euro, which focuses on the development of rail corridors, on guaranteeing rail accessibility to ports of general interest and on supporting the use of clean vehicles and improving the transport service public.
Within Political Objective 4, social investment is particularly relevant in the current period, with attention to employment, education, professional training, inclusion and the fight against poverty and child poverty. This translates into 12,3 billion euro of aid for social cohesion within OP4.
Lastly, Political Objective 5 contemplates European funding for urban and non-urban development actions through the design of integrated investment programmes, which stands at over 2,1 billion.
The result of all of the above is this Association Agreement, which consolidates the transformation of the production model, begun with the Recovery Plan, towards a modern, competitive, sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-neutral economy. In addition, it will serve to provide a support and protection network for families and the most vulnerable productive fabric.
As the Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, already explained in parliament, given the doubts generated by the opposition about this agreement, the Government maintained permanent contacts with the European Commission to coordinate the projects that would be financed with cohesion funds. Some conversations that took place within the deadlines set by Brussels, as the minister pointed out. This shows that, at no time, were the cohesion funds at risk.
Based on the strategic lines defined in the Agreement, the approval of the Programs financed with these funds is expected shortly, with the specification of the types of action that can be financed, in accordance with the following structure:
FEDER, will have a total endowment of 23,3 billion euro distributed in 19 regional programs and a multi-regional program.
FSE, will have 11,296 million euro, divided into 19 regional programs and 4 multi-regional programs: Multi-regional Program for Employment, Vocational Training and Education in Spain, Multi-regional Program for Youth Employment; Pluriregional Program for Inclusion and Fight against Poverty and Child Poverty, and the Pluriregional Program for Material Deprivation.
For their part, FEMPA, with 1,1 billion, and FTJ, with 869 million, will each have a single multi-regional program.