Tuesday, March 28

European funds “forget” the rural environment: “Nobody helps us and we can’t do it alone”

The rural environment has “almost impossible & rdquor; access European funds from the Next Generation programme. The small municipalities lack their own means to prepare the projects and they also do not have the economic capacity not only to co-finance the projects but, in most cases, not even to pay for their writing. In addition, the aid promised by the State and the Principality in the form of cabinets and support offices “They neither exist nor are they expected”. This is how Asturian mayors of all political stripes denounce it, who believe that it will be the big city councils, the big companies and the private consultants and consultancies that will take away the rain of millions that will come from Europe (140,000 million, half in loans). “Some are going to make a fortune: the usual & rdquor ;, the councilors predict.

Jose Manuel Fernandez Mayor of Peñamellera Baja, from the PP, stresses that most of the funds do not respond to “real needs & rdquor; of rural municipalities. A fact that is added to the fact that project management is “very complex”. “Small town councils don’t have teams to manage these projects, so the only solution would be to outsource them. That is why we are being bombarded by companies, consultancies and consultants. Those are the ones that are going to cover themselves with European aid & rdquor ;, criticizes. But, in addition, the projects must be co-financed by the municipalities, which in most cases either lack liquidity or the municipal auditors do not endorse or allocate money or request credits for these purposes, Fernández points out.

“A lot of Next Generation, a lot of emptied Asturias, but we have the legislature in white” for the “disastrous management of the Principality & rdquor ;, says Fernández. See “very complicated” for small municipalities to benefit from covid funds, despite the fact that their needs are “many & rdquor ;. He also has no news that the Principality is going to present projects related to his council. He assures that “there is only money for issues such as creating ‘purple points’, ‘co-responsible’ programs with aid for the care of children up to 14 years old… Ideologized projects are being invented. For that there is a pasture of money, they throw you with it. But there is nothing to cover the pothole in the road. These extra-endowed aids would be fine if there was money for everything else & rdquor ;, adds Fernández.

José Manuel Fernández, mayor of Peñamellera Baja: “A lot of Asturias has been emptied, but we have had a blank legislature”

As for aid to private businesses, He assures that in his council he does not know of any that has presented a project. “The aid is not penetrating the population. All that money is going to be taken by the big companies that already had projects prepared in which they were going to spend 200 million and that now they will only have to spend 100 & rdquor ;. His request is clear: that the Principality and the State help small municipalities to “write and co-finance & rdquor; Projects.

Maximino Garcia Suarez, Mayor of Morcín, from IU, comments that the European help lines do not collect the “real needs & rdquor; of the small municipalities, which are also “very limited & rdquor; when drafting and co-financing projects. Projects that, in addition, are submitted to competitive competition, so that if they do not go ahead, the money invested in their drafting would be lost. “We can’t risk money and the project doesn’t come out because our budgets are very tight and developing it with our own means is very complicated,” he says.

García criticizes, above all, that the central government has not fulfilled its promise to create an advisory and support office for small municipalities to show them “the roadmap of where to go, what kind of projects can benefit us and how to run them”. His conclusion: “There is a lot of talk about the emptied Spain and we all agree on the discourse, but nothing is done & rdquor ;. Also in your case you are receiving a barrage of proposals from consulting companies to develop projects. “They are the ones that will do business with the funds & rdquor ;, he prophesies.

Maximino García, mayor of Morcín: “The aid lines do not collect our real needs & rdquor;

Víctor Lorido, mayor of Santa Eulalia de Oscos, of the PSOE, sees “very difficult” that town halls like yours obtain European aid. It only has a secretary and an architect who come two days a week, so “day-to-day matters eat up their time.” He does not know if his city council will be able to “take something”; first because “commissioning projects costs money” and it is not certain that they will succeed; and second because he does not know the conditions that will be required. So when the calls come out “we will all launch like crazy to present projects”. The low economic capacity is another handicap for small municipalities. “Our annual budget is about 800,000 euros, most of which go to salaries, agreements signed with the Principality, the residence for the elderly and lighting. So our ability to co-finance projects is low. And to use the remainder of the treasury you have to fight with the secretary & rdquor ;, he laments.

Víctor Lorido, mayor of Santa Eulalia de Oscos: “When the calls come out, we will all launch like crazy & rdquor;

Unwilling to improve income by raising taxes “to the few neighbors that remain & rdquor; (about 450 in the council). His request: that the Principality or the Ministry make an office available to small town councils to inform them of the possibilities of aid and to draw up projects. “If not, it will be the consultants and advisors that will take the money & rdquor ;, he predicts.

Felix Fernandez, mayor of Amieva, of Foro, judges “very complicated & rdquor; access European funds. “Neither do we have the capacity to draft projects with our own means, nor money to order them, much less to co-finance them & rdquor ;, he stresses. He criticizes that he is not receiving “any kind of help, information, or advice & rdquor; by the Principality. Like his colleagues, he calls for a counseling office.

Félix Fernández, mayor of Amieva: “We neither have the capacity to draft projects, nor the money to order them”

At the moment there is no project presented or in the process of being presented in Amieva, neither public nor private. “We are slowly changing public lighting through the Leader programme, which finances 100% of the cost. We could not do it with European aid because the project alone would cost us 6,000 or 7,000 euros, and on top of that we would still have to assume eighty percent of the investment. It is impossible for us & rdquor ;. It has “very clear & rdquor; that those who will benefit the most from covid aid will be “consultancies and advisory services and large companies & rdquor ;.

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María Díaz, mayor of Yernes and Tameza: “We have many needs and very little budget”

María Díaz Fidalgo, from the PSOE, is the mayor of the least populated council in Asturias, Yernes and Tameza, with 133 registered residents and just 50 residents all year round. The absence of help in the form of guidance or information from other administrations means that the City Council is only “starting to look” possible help. But he does not know for sure if he will be able to access any. The councilor highlights the low economic capacity of a council whose budget is below 300,000 euros, most of which go to current spending. “We have many needs and very little budget. Let’s hope something arrives from Europe & rdquor ;, he cries.