SPAIN’S government says that €54 million of European money allocated in 2019 to fight pollution in the Mar Menor lagoon was switched elsewhere.
The admission came in a statement from the Ministry for Ecological Transition after Murcia’s president, Fernando Lopez Miras, said the money had been ‘lost’ and ‘diverted’.
Lopez Miras observed that it was ‘typical of Pedro Sanchez’s government’s inaction towards the Mar Menor’ and branded losing the money as ‘irresponsible’.
The Ministry said the EU Feder grant should have paid for the building of a ‘zero discharge’ collector in the northern shores of the lagoon.
It decided to abandon the project four years ago as they deemed it as ineffective in countering the lagoon’s deterioration.
Instead of spending the money elsewhere in the Mar Menor, the money was diverted to improving drinking water supplies and sanitation in the Sevilla area.
The Ministry’s revelation ran counter to comments made in November by a Ministry of Finance representative, Ana Isabel Vega Escudero, who said the Feder funds were intended to cover health spending increases caused by the Covid pandemic.
The Ecological Transition department says that a budget of over €484 million has been allocated for its priority plan to improve the Mar Menor with work now being executed.