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Parliamentary questions
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26 April 2021
Answer given by Mr Reynders
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000099/2021

The Commission is aware of the tragic situation that has affected the inhabitants of the Cañada Real, including children.

The Commission has been monitoring the emergency measures taken to fight the COVID-19 crisis, including in Spain, and their impact in particular on the rule of law, on fundamental rights, on EC law and on the rights of the child. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and civil society organisations have gathered evidence(1) that shows that the pandemic has been particularly tough on children, notably those living in vulnerable situations (for example: children in care, children with disabilities, children in poverty). This monitoring will continue until all emergency measures are lifted.

The European Parliament, the Commission and the leaders of the EU Member States agreed on the EUR 1.8 trillion recovery plan that will help Member States to rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe(2).

Under the EU’s Cohesion policy, the programme(3) Madrid European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 allocates EUR 60 million to social inclusion, co-financed at 50% by the European Regional Development Fund (EUR 30 million)(4). It supports physical, economic and social regeneration of the urban and rural vulnerable communities by resettling population from several areas, including Cañada Real and Río Guadarrama(5). As mentioned in the reply to the Written Question E-000098/21, the programme Madrid European Social (ESF) 2014-2020 includes measures to support the most deprived populations. In the 2021-2027 period, Spain should dedicate at least 5% of its European Social Fund Plus allocation to tackle child poverty.

The EU Strategy on the rights of the child addresses the issue of COVID-19’s impact on children and the EU Child Guarantee — the situation of children in need and their access to basic services(6).

(1)Some examples: Implications of Covid-19 on fundamental rights : https://fra.europa.eu/en/themes/covid-19 ; Child advisors assessing the impact of COVID-19: https://www.childrightsconnect.org/the-child-rights-connect-child-advisors-mobilise-in-response-to-covid-19/; Covid under 19: https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforChildrensRights/NewsEvents/COVIDUnder19-GlobalChildrensConsultation.html ; Averting a lost COVID generation — A six-point plan to respond, recover and reimagine a post-pandemic world for every child: https://www.unicef.org/media/86881/file/Averting-a-lost-covid-generation-world-childrens-day-data-and-advocacy-brief-2020.pdf; Protect a Generation: the impact of COVID-19 on children’s lives: https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/node/18218/pdf/vr59-01_protect_a_generation_report_en_0.pdf; Children’s voices in the time of COVID-19: Continued child activism in the face of personal challenges: https://www.wvi.org/publications/report/child-participation/childrens-voices-time-covid-19-continued-child-activism ; Growing up in lockdown: https://www.eurochild.org/resource/growing-up-in-lockdown-europes-children-in-the-age-of-covid-19/
(3)Last version of the report includes data for 31 December 2019. According to the latest information available (31 December 2020) operations selected in the priority axis for social inclusion amount to EUR 62.9 million, out of which EUR 22.5 million has already been claimed to the Commission for reimbursement.
(4)Under the shared management system that applies to the European Structural and Investment Funds, Member States are responsible for the selection and implementation of projects to be co-financed. The list of operations funded is available to the public ( https://www.dgfc.sepg.hacienda.gob.es/sitios/dgfc/en-GB/loFEDER1420/porFEDER/Paginas/FicheroExcel.aspx ).
(5)The latest implementation report for the programme shows that, at the end of 2019, 185 homes were purchased/renovated for the vulnerable populations of ‘Río Guadarrama-Las Sabinas’, Sector 6 of ‘Cañada Real Galiana’ and ‘El Gallinero’ This number should increase to 439 by December 2023 (end of the implementation period for the Operational programme).
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