Garamendi calls for European funds to cover "50%" of SME projects

The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, has asked the Government to consider the possibility of increasing the financing of the projects that SMEs present to be subsidized with European funds to 50%. "Currently the financing of these funds is 30% for SMEs, which with the liquidity problems there have been with the pandemic means that the aid is not really coming," said the employer's representative in a event organized by elDiario.es on the EU-Next Generation Funds. “Spain is a country of SMEs and that is where this transformation approach should go the most”, he explained.

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Garamendi has given as an example the digital-kit, “which is a well-armed program”. This is the plan to distribute European aid for the digitization of SMEs and the self-employed, launched by the Secretary of State for Digitization in AI, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs. "In the Digital Kit, which is well designed, the help for this transformation is 100%", he insisted.

During the interview, the president of the CEOE has made other claims to the Executive, such as solving the "bottleneck" that occurs in the distribution of funds. This is, in his opinion, a consequence of the fact that these are managed 50% between the Government and the autonomous communities. “Of the 19,000 million euros that came in 2021, 11,000 were applied. There is a gap of 8,000 million”, he stated: “From the administrative point of view, of management, there is a bottleneck”.

To solve this, Garamendi has offered banking management as the backbone of the aid for its knowledge of the specific situation of the business fabric of each territory, recalling that it is a model that has worked well in other public financing projects such as ICO credits . This willingness to process European aid is a traditional request from the banking sector.

“The unions have shown a lot of responsibility”

The president of the CEOE has also referred to the situation of the social dialogue table. He assures that the employers will not continue negotiating a wage increase in line with inflation but asks that this not be interpreted as a rupture: "We have not broken anything, we have only verified that we cannot reach an agreement on this issue".

"There must be a wage moderation to prevent a second-round effect of inflation that would make it structural," he said, explaining that the employers have not put a figure to increase wages "for various reasons. The first because there are companies and sectors that are doing well and others that are not doing well. Homogenizing a figure is complicated because it may seem little to some and excessive to others”.

"The objective of the unions, which is legitimate but which we do not share, is that inflation be indexed in the agreements when precisely the opposite is recommended throughout the world," he continued. Garamendi assures that decoupling inflation from wages could lead to better conditions for workers, although he has not explained how: "We could achieve a higher rise in wages."

In any case, he recalled that the social dialogue table has achieved "important agreements" such as the rider law or the teleworking law. "There are many, very powerful agreements that we have made between workers and employers, with responsibility," she recalled, for which he has asked that the unions not open a conflict over wages. “It is legitimate for the unions to make their proposals and demands. I like the word “conflict” less, what I ask for is responsibility”.

"Until today the unions with which I have been lucky enough to sit, what they have shown is a great responsibility," Garamendi concluded.

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