Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Platform Is Born Against Opacity In European Funds

Spain will receive over the next five years a total of 142,000 million euros from NextGeneration EU funds for post-covid reconstruction and (a part of) citizens want to know who takes them, why they and not others and what they use them for.

This Wednesday the Open Generation EU platform was presented in society , formed by a group of researchers and activists who demand more transparency from the Government in the management of these funds and to guarantee an “auditable process for citizens” so that they do not remain only in large companies and “reach SMEs, the self-employed and the social economy.”

“We want to be able to know for whom these funds are going, for what, and to be able to control whether the objectives set in the [Recovery and Resilience] Plan are being met,” said Sandra Vicente , one of the platform’s spokespersons.

From Open Generation EU they denounce the lack of resources in control bodies, such as the Independent Office for the Regulation and Supervision of Procurement ( OIReScon ); that it only has 12 workers to supervise all the public contracting derived from the arrival of those 142,000 million.

In this sense, the speakers recalled that the Council of State published a report in which it assured that there were clear deficiencies in the guarantees of control and transparency in the law that will regulate the management and allocation of funds.

For this reason, they have urged the Government to provide more resources to the transparency portal and the administrative litigation courts , in the event of possible complaints of violation of the criteria for the allocation of said funds.

“It is a lot of money, they are going to ask us for a lot of reforms in return and it is the last opportunity to undertake the social, ecological and economic transformation,” added Emma Avilés , another of the spokespersons.

The Open Generation EU spokespersons have warned of the risk that part of the management of European funds ends up falling on private consulting firms, thus deriving a significant part of public resources to pay for these services.

An example of this, as they have stated, is the 1.5 million euro tender that the Ayuso Administration announced on May 5 so that, in just two days, the consultants will apply to advise the Community of Madrid on the management of EU funds. “If these funds are to modernize the public administration, why do we outsource it to private consultancies,” Avilés asked himself.

Congress has a vote pending
Open Generation EU has been presented in society this Wednesday, although it has been working with different political groups in Congress in recent months to introduce amendments and modify the royal decree approved by the Executive that will govern the governance of the funds.

As a result, Más País and CUP have already registered their amendments; while ERC, Bildu and C’s have transferred to them that they will do the same with theirs shortly.

However, the spokespersons have criticized that the Bureau of Congress has not yet set a date for voting on these amendments to modify the current rules for the management and governance of European funds.

And they warn that, if said vote is postponed for a longer time, the allocation and implementation of said funds will be carried out with a royal decree approved by the Government, but without the supervision of the parliamentary groups.

Open Generation EU is a platform that has the support of 27 civil society organizations , such as Intermón Oxfam, Ecologistas en Acción, Xnet, Political Watch and the Public Debt Audit Platform (PACD); among others.

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