Europe has finally decided that, yes, about 219 million euros of FEDER Eu funds granted to Andalucia between 1994 and 1997 seems to have gone missing.
Andalucia was one of the largest benefectors of EU funds during this time, receiving about 3.3 billion which went towards roads, motorways, hospitals, schools, farms, etc, in an attempt to drag the place into the late 20th century. As you can imagine, with so much cash coming in, quite a few people.. how should I put it? Filled their boots is the expression I was searching for.
Anyway, the EU tribunal has now fined Andalucia 29 million euros for a multitude of sins, including the awarding of contracts and payment of them without any work being carried out; contracts being awarded without proper process (ie, to the nearest primo), etc etc etc. Pais Vasco and Valencia are in similar boats. In all, 63 million euros must be returned this year by Spain to the EU. Although El Pais points out that the UK has to return a whopping 138 million euros.
Anyway, the Kingdom of Spain, which didn’t argue that the accusations were lies, decided to argue that the amounts calculated were extrapolations and therefore inadmissable in court. An argument which the EU supreme court this week cast out. And, apart from the 29 million euros in fines, the 219 million euros should, in theory, be returned in the future, via a reduction in future EU aid to the region.
Rather more amusingly, Andalucia has now said that Madrid must make up this shortfall. The reason being? Incompetent legal defense, it seems.