Embarrassing appearance for the Spanish Government after the fiasco of the trains that turned out to be unsuitable for the tunnels. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will have to explain in the Eurochamber the future of the loan that was granted to Renfe in 2019 with the commitment that 31 trains would be operational for Asturias, Cantabria and Vizcaya in 2024 at the latest.
The Transport Committee of the European Parliament has decided to include this item on the agenda for the appearance of a representative of the EIB, chaired by the German Werner Hoyer, on March 2, according to what the Ciudadanos MEP, José Ramón Bauzá, promoter of giving these explanations. The parliamentary commission is chaired by the French Karima Delli, from the Green group.
"I want a clear explanation of what happened and to know the EIB's assessment of the execution of the loan granted to Renfe for this project," Bauzá told EL MUNDO. "I am concerned that future investments in our country could be at risk after the mismanagement carried out by the Government itself," says the former Balearic president. The first vice president, Nadia Calviño, maintains for her part that there is nothing to fear after having come into contact with the EIB.
Bauzá's intention is for the EIB to explain the future of this loan, how it will be reviewed and under what financial conditions, which may be different as the interest rate environment has changed compared to four years ago.
This newspaper already published on February 7 that the EIB will review the loan knowing that the planned trains do not fit through the tunnels. In an official response to this newspaper, the bank assured that they had already been made aware "that Renfe is working with the train supplier, since they need to be redesigned to run on all the lines.
It is not unusual for the EIB to grant a loan extension for failure to meet deadlines, but the decision depends on a re-examination of the case. "If necessary, a project can see its completion date extended if it is considered that said extension is justified," they said in the EIB. They reiterated this position after the first vice president assured days later that she had contacted the Luxembourg institution and had told her that "there will be no problem."
The EIB is a key financial arm of the EU and provides soft loans for projects consistent with Brussels policies. The modernization of the transport service on the Cantabrian coast met the requirements. In Renfe they do not consider a credit renegotiation necessary as the deliveries of funds have been linked to the achievement of objectives.
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