The Basque Government urges the European Commission to include regional criteria in the addendum to the Spanish PRTR

2022 December 6

The Basque Government, as a regional authority, has submitted its contribution to the RRM mid-term evaluation report prepared by the European Commission, and has argued that further regionalisation of the RRM would have a very positive impact by boosting confidence in the common European project among economic agents and providing greater room for manoeuvre to carry out ambitious investment policies beyond state borders. It thus considers it essential that regional criteria be the basis for the addendum to the Spanish PRTR that the Government of Spain must present to the Commission for the awarding of the part of the RRM loans assigned to it, as well as the EU Repower resources.

The Basque Government has demanded that a structured and systematic dialogue be opened with the Regions and Nations with their own competences, in order to shape a multilevel governance model and properly fit these regions into the institutional architecture of the EU. “We share a commitment to the same challenges facing the EU, and we aspire to a review of the current governance model so that we can fully contribute our knowledge and experience in managing the policies that will drive Europe’s future development,” Azpiazu said.

The Basque Country has a RIS 3 smart specialisation strategy in place that sets out the country’s priorities. This recently updated strategy is based on an analysis of its business and research and innovation capabilities, existing infrastructure and equipment, and human capital, and ensures the participation of all stakeholders in both the definition and the implementation process. The Next Generation EU initiative and, in particular, the RRM, are key instruments for developing the growth potential of the European economy and should therefore be articulated in such a way as to ensure the exploitation of synergies and complementarities with the RIS 3 of the Member States and regions.

“The Spanish PRTR does not take into account smart specialisation strategies either in the definition or in the subsequent implementation, which has a clear impact in terms of efficiency in the distribution of funds,” the Basque contribution stated.

Likewise, the importance of the PERTEs [Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation] for the transformation of the productive fabric has been once again emphasised and the Basque executive has put forward 5 proposals:

  1. To facilitate administrative procedures:
  2. Do not require documentation or procedures that do not add value and only generate bureaucratic burdens. There is a generalised criticism in the Basque Country that for SMEs the processing of calls for proposals is an insurmountable barrier. b. To take advantage of calls for support from the regional administrations that are already underway (regular calls every year), which are much closer to the agents and which they are already familiar with.
  3. To relax requirements based on “state aid”:
  4. Especially in transformative projects in small companies. A certain relaxation of these criteria, as has already been done in exceptional cases, would be a great incentive for companies to venture into bolder and more ambitious projects.
  5. Flexibility in deadlines:
  6. Project execution deadlines are very restrictive. Transformative investments require significant processes of reflection and decision making, and it is not easy to adjust them to the time requirements imposed. When it comes to strategic projects, the important thing is the quality of the projects and not so much the execution time.
  7. The evolution of inflation and the concentration of demand in certain sectoral groups (sustainable energy, housing rehabilitation) is making it very difficult for both public and private investments to be made within the established deadlines.
  8. Agile adaptation of calls for proposals:
  9. To provide flexibility to change administrative procedures, when design errors are detected so that the entire process does not have to be started all over again. This is the case, for example, of calls for subsidies aimed at very specific groups or, in the Basque case, for investments already covered by endogenous funds.
  10. To adapt grant processes for which no demand is found, because needs have been overestimated.


  1. Reduction of required guarantees:
  2. Small and medium-sized companies also find it difficult to present the required guarantees, which is why it would be advisable to reduce them.

On the other hand, the Basque Government proposes that the part of the RRM funds earmarked for industrial decarbonisation be regionalised, in order to adapt the financing instruments to the characteristics of the European regions with an industrial tradition. Thus, for example, the ‘Basque Net Zero Industrial Super Cluster’ aims to accelerate processes and achieve this emissions reduction target.

In short, the Basque Government considers the addendum as an opportunity to advance in the regionalisation of the RRM as it constitutes an excellent opportunity to deepen in a regional adaptation that would result in a better fulfilment of its objectives.

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