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Spain does not reject conditions on EU fund transfers: foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya reacts during an interview with Reuters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Madrid, Spain May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain does not reject the setting of conditions on the disbursement of European Union funds to help countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic, nor strong governance to oversee their distribution, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Monday.

“Spain has clear ideas: We don’t reject conditionality,” Gonzalez Laya said in an interview with Cadena SER radio. “We need a basis that gives confidence to us and to our partners.”

EU leaders meet again on Monday to discuss the creation of a recovery fund and the seven-year EU budget. They are at odds over what strings to attach for countries it would benefit.

“We are at a time of great geopolitical confusion and mutation of our economies that force upon us deep structural changes,” Gonzalez said.

The 750 billion euros proposed for the recovery fund would be raised on behalf of them all on capital markets by the EU’s executive European Commission and then funnelled mostly to hard-hit Mediterranean rim countries.

A significant part of that money would be transferred as grants and not loans.

Northern countries led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte want to impose macroeconomic reforms on the countries receiving cash.

Reporting by Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Paola Luelmo; Editing by Alison Williams and Angus MacSwan