Fact-check: No, Brussels has not frozen EU recovery funds for Spain

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By Sophia Khatsenkova
The EU recovery plan is perfomance-based meaning countries have to reach certain milestones to unlock the funds
The EU recovery plan is perfomance-based meaning countries have to reach certain milestones to unlock the funds   -   Copyright  Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Over the past few days, Twitter users and certain news outlets have falsely claimed that the European Union has frozen the pandemic recovery funds for Spain. 

It seems to have started when Bloomberg published an article explaining that Spain missed a second deadline last month to implement a new auditing system required to unlock money from the EU’s pandemic fund, "putting at risk new payments from the €160 billion it’s eligible to receive."

EU pandemic recovery funds are disbursed on a "performance-based nature," according to the European Commission.

This means that countries have to show that they’ve fulfilled their promises when it comes to certain reforms and milestones when receiving this money.

In the event that the promises have not been met, the EU Commission can then decide to freeze the funds. 

Allegations of the freeze quickly became a talking point for numerous Spanish newspapers and politicians. Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the populist president of the Community of Madrid tweeted that the EU had already blocked the funds for Spain. 

But Nuyts Veerle, a spokesperson for the EU Commission, quickly denied these allegations. 

"Any claim that the Commission has frozen the funds for Spain under [the] Recovery and Resilience Facility is unfounded," she tweeted.

She added that Spain “has fulfilled all of the milestones and targets linked to all payment requests submitted to date.”

The last time Spain requested funds was back in April 2022

Veerle also clarified that the next time Spain requests money from the recovery fund, the EU Commission will review whether Madrid has fulfilled all of its promises or not.

Yet this did not mean the EU has already frozen that money. 

The Spanish government has not yet requested the third EU payment but is planning to do so before November 11.