Correspondent in Brussels
As expected, the European Commission has announced that it has given its approval of the recovery plan for the Spanish economy, also coinciding with the official visit to Madrid of the president of the community executive Ursula von der Leyen.
In a statement published by the Commission itself, Von der Leyen claims to be “delighted to present the positive evaluation of the European Commission on the recovery and resilience plan for Spain worth 69,500 million euros». According to the president “this plan will profoundly transform the economy of Spain, it will make it greener, more digital, more resistant. We have endorsed this plan because it is ambitious, forward-looking and will help build a better future for Spaniards. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President, believes that the plan has been approved because “proposes projects in all areas of common European interest, such as clean energy, sustainable transport or digital connectivity “and warns that from now on” we will work with the Spanish authorities to ensure that the plan is fully implemented. ”
The fact that the plan presented by Spain was one of the first to be approved reveals the extent to which the Commission is concerned about the fragility of the Spanish economy, the fourth most important in the euro zone and capable of having systemic negative effects over the rest of the countries.
What the Commission has approved is technically a proposal for a decision to disburse 69.5 billion euros in grants to Spain under the RRF. The Council (member countries) will now have four weeks to ratify this Commission proposal, which would allow the almost immediate disbursement of 9 billion euros (13% of the total) as pre-financing. Afterwards, the Commission will have to authorize future disbursements based on the satisfactory fulfillment of the milestones and objectives established in the Council’s Execution Decision, as progress is verified in the implementation of the investments and reforms.
The Commission assures that the plan sent by the Government contains a “significant” part of the reforms that have been demanded of Spain, although in all the most delicate aspects, the concrete ones will depend on the result of the social dialogue between unions and employers. According to the Brussels version, ‘the plan includes a pension system reform with the aim of preserving its suitability and sustainability in the medium and long term and supporting a longer working life. The final design of the reform is subject to the outcome of the social dialogue process ”.
On employment and labor legislation, the Committee says that the Government has proposed to it «Various labor market reforms, including a stabilization and flexibility mechanism that would allow companies to cope with adjustments in the event of economic crises, based on the existing short-time work scheme. The plan also includes a set of measures planned to address the challenge of duality and precariousness of the labor market. The plan foresees actions to reduce temporary contracts in the public and private sectors. The final design of various labor market reforms is subject to the outcome of the social dialogue process. In addition, the plan includes measures to improve active labor market policies ”.