February 27, 2021

Calviño promises reforms and Brussels says that without them there will be no investments


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The European Recovery Plan It will be a unique golden opportunity for the Spanish economy, which, yes, will require reforms that will be closely monitored by the Commission. This was reflected yesterday in the Euroforo organized by Vocento in which the third vice president of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation agreed, Nadia calviño, in addition to the Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas; the Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Ricardo Mourinho; the former European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete; the former president of the Spanish Government Felipe Gonzalez; and the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán.

The head of ABC, Julian Quirós, gave way to the vice president and drew attention to the “concern of the business community” about the state of the plans for the arrival of European funds, which will deploy 750,000 million throughout Europe and 140,000 million in Spain. An initiative that, he noted, is “at the height of the well-remembered post-world war Marshall Plan.”

“It has to be a coherent investment and reform plan,” emphasized the vice president, who added that the Executive has been working on this document since the summer, which will be presented in the first quarter and that it includes the 30 priority spending areas for institutions to European countries “approve it in June and that in the second half of the year resources begin to be channeled.” A commitment to the division within the government on such demanded reforms as that of pensions or the measures to be adopted in the workplace, all of them expected from Brussels.

A conditionality referred to later by the vice president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, who took the opportunity to emphasize that countries must approve measures and agree on investment projects, and called for the PSOE and PP to agreed to do so, at a table moderated by the deputy director of the newspaper, Yolanda Gómez. “It is important that in each State there is a broad political consensus regarding the fund,” he emphasized, to later make the message clearer: “The two political families must share the responsibility of making this fund a success,” he said. Telematic way but before the former socialist president of the Government Felipe González and the former popular commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, who also pointed out that “the plans must be powerful, with political support. The plan requires the solidarity effort of all. This is not politics in lowercase. ‘

«Many times when I follow the Spanish public debate, it gives the feeling that it is a Spanish-Spanish debate. And no, “said Schinas, adding that” the recovery of Spain is a European matter. Europe needs Spain to get out of the recession. This is a challenge for Europe, not just a challenge for Spain ». Because the investments that the Government finalizes must also entail reforms demanded by the European Commission which, as Arias Cañete recalled, in his latest recommendations marked in red “to ensure the stability of the pension system, the reform of the labor market to avoid duality, improve professional training … ».

There will be no blank checks

«No one is going to sign 27 blank checks. It is what the member statesIt is our obligation to future generations ”, clarified Schinas, who added bluntly that“ there will be no investments without reforms ”. “The most reticent states reserved the option of, if they were not convinced by the plans, take them to the European Council in July,” warned the former commissioner and minister with Rajoy, Arias Cañete.

But not only the reforms suppose a complex Sudoku to solve, also the investments. The proposals for both took place yesterday in the auditorium of Vocento. “The most urgent thing in Spain is to reform public administrations”, claimed Felipe González. “We have a VET from the time of the industrial revolution,” Arias Cañete countered. Within the European plan, energy sustainability has a central role, which is why Galán is committed to “improving energy taxation; that whoever pollutes, pays ”, in addition to“ reconverting sectors ”. “In order to remain competitive, we must provide incentives for green and efficient investment,” said EIB Vice President Ricardo Mourinho.

Despite the calendar set out by Calviño, the vice president recalled that the accounts already contain an item of 27,000 million in 2021 for the Executive to go into debt and then cover it with the arrival of European funds. “That does not mean that we can not run it earlier. Thanks to the General State Budgets for 2021 we have an endowment from January 1 of public investment that is oriented to these 30 components, “he added in reference to the priority areas defined by the Government.

However, the Budgets for this year are also based on GDP growth which, including the impact of European funds, will amount to 9.8% according to the Executive, a figure that, even without the effect of EU resources , 7.2%, is far from what was predicted by the higher level of organizations. Without going any further, Brussels only expects for our country an advance of the economy of 5.6% in 2021 and 5.3% in 2022 according to the estimates published yesterday, before which the minister valued that «they confirm that in 2021 Spain will be one of the countries with the highest growth rate and the trend will continue also in the coming years.

Companies will play a key role in the proper use of funds, as confirmed by the economic vice president of the Government, highlighting that “the important thing will be the public-private collaboration in the execution,” within which large companies were included but also ” to micro-SMEs and the self-employed, who are the heart of our economy. The vice president also advanced that she hopes that the bill to promote business growth and improve the business climate can be taken out “soon” for consultation.

However, he did not reveal how the next measures that the Executive is studying to alleviate the financial burden of companies will arrive. «We have presented to the European Comission a broader time frame to give aid until December 31 of greater scope to accompany the productive fabric. Although the vaccination process is moving in the right direction, very complicated weeks lie ahead. Both companies, workers and citizens are reaching that final moment, “he added. “Large corporations have no problem presenting plans. SMEs have the greatest difficulty. And we have many SMEs ”, warned Felipe González.

However, the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, rejected that the plan is a “lifeline” for large companies. “It is an operation to transform, not save,” he stressed. “We are going to leave our future generations a terrifying debt, but we must also leave them a future. You get out of the crisis by investing more and well and working more and better. Companies know how to do both, “he said. Therefore, he urged to streamline administrative procedures to use European resources. “I would be very sorry if due to bureaucratic processes we lose the train,” warned the manager.

This year, in short, will be “key”, in Calviño’s words, both for the long-awaited vaccination campaign and for the opportunity to make good use of European funds, at a time when Spain, as recalled by Arias Cañete, had not yet spent in 2019 even 50% of the remainder of the Multiannual Financial Framework previous. “We have to make 2021 the year of recovery,” said the economic vice president, to then sentence: “Let’s stay with this purpose.”

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