How has the Region become an increasingly attractive destination for business investments? What differentiates it from other communities that aspire to the same?
The Region of Murcia is more than a destination. It is a paradise to live and an opportunity to invest. And this is something that many entrepreneurs who have chosen my region to undertake a project know because it is where we are easiest putting things, with less tax burdens and bureaucracy.
Among our potential as an investment destination are, in the first place, the privileged position in the Mediterranean arch, besides that here the costs of implementing productive activities are five times lower than the European average. We have three university centers that make our human capital highly qualified and we have internationally leading sectors such as agri-food, logistics and water technology.
We are the community in which it is easiest to invest, start up a business or expand it. Our region is a true area of economic freedom thanks to policies such as the elimination of Inheritance tax and donations, the next descent of IRPF, tax incentives for investments and the implementation of the most ambitious legislative reforms in Spain in terms of administrative simplification.
What are the business sectors that lead the economic dynamism of the Region? Has the community managed to convey the idea that it offers numerous and varied opportunities beyond tourism?
The agri-food sector treasures a large part of the regional economy but also highlights the dynamism of logistics or industry. We are leading the growth of PIB, industrial indicators or investment in R & D, and that is not coincidence but a direct consequence of the policies we are implementing.
As for tourism, it currently represents the eleven% of our GDP and we work to increase that weight. We have 300 sunny days a year and that is one of our main riches but not the only one. We have the best conditions to practice sports throughout the year, we have Caravaca de la Cruz which is one of the five holy cities of the world and a fundamental destination for religious tourism and our gastronomy gathers the best of the Mediterranean diet.
With the project "Lead Generation" they are detecting projects of companies from the United Kingdom that want to expand in Europe. Is the interest of British companies growing in the Region of Murcia?
In the regional government we have a double objective: promote and develop the creation and consolidation of companies and attract new business opportunities from abroad to be installed in the Region. Before the departure of United Kingdom of the EU, we decided to put in place a pioneering plan to placate the impact of Brexit on our economy. That is why we are designing specific plans to establish new business opportunities and, in addition, we are developing the program '' Lead Generation ''. Currently, a dozen industrial investments from the United Kingdom want to settle in our community.
Do you fear that the political instability that is experienced nationally and internationally can affect the good economic situation in the Region?
I'm sorry that it's already affecting. Investments need guarantees and serious and coherent governments. And that, to this day, we do not have it in Spain. We have a government that announces measures that the next day withdraw, plagued by ministers dotted with scandals, supported by political forces whose sole objective is to put an end to Spain. The uncertainty is not good ally of progress and progress and, for now, everything that revolves around the Government of Pedro Sanchez smells of doubt, uncertainty and hesitation.
Unfortunately, the Region is not being treated like the rest of the communities. Despite this, and convinced that the best social policy is to create employment, we are intensifying our work, giving guarantees and putting a red carpet to investments of companies, generators of employment.
You recently met with the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez. Do you trust that you unlock the important infrastructure projects that affect the community? What would it mean for the Region for the State to accelerate its investments?
I would like to say yes, that the Region of Murcia has an ally in Madrid, that collaboration and loyalty are reciprocal and that promised investments are being developed, but, unfortunately, the reality is not this one. We have been blocking for almost four months. And worst of all, this blockage is political, not technical.
A few days after arriving at La Moncloa, Pedro Sánchez kept our large projects in a drawer. The arrival of High Speed to the Region has been delayed, at least, three years, and this complicates the entry into the layout of the Mediterranean Corridor. Regarding water, the Government of Spain wants to close the Tajo-Segura transfer, creating an unprecedented insecurity in the Murcian countryside: only the Murcia Region exports 20% of the country's fruits and vegetables.
In relation to the International Airport of the Region, we hope that now there is no unexpected turn of the new Government, because thanks to the joint work between the regional government and the previous one Mariano Rajoy we get everything tied so that the next month of January is in operation.