The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, today called for the consensus of all the political, economic and social forces of the country to
bring to fruition the investments of the ‘Next Generation EU’, the so-called European manna. In the coming-out of the
approval of the plan presented by Spain, with criticism from the business and political world for the process obscurantism As a backdrop, Sánchez has alleged that “We are gambling the future” and that the one approved is a “country plan”, which includes the contributions of “social agents and high-level forums” from different sectors. Sánchez has also announced that he will convene in July the conference of the presidents of the autonomous communities – who have already criticized the lack of information by the Government – so that “there is the greatest possible consensus.”
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for her part, highlighted the “crucial moment” that we go through and has asked that “we look to the future with hope and confidence.” In an attempt to mark distances with the management of the previous crisis that generated a strong detachment of many citizens with the community authorities, the German leader has indicated that the Spanish plan
“It was designed here and will be developed here”. «The Spanish are going to be the owners of this growth. Reforms and investments will make Spain emerge stronger from this plan“, has said. Von der Leyen has pointed to the modernization of the labor market and the promotion of youth employment as levers of this new growth. And it has been blunt: «This is the beginning of a hard journey. We are facing a challenge and a historic opportunity.
Today’s signing is the official staging of the
‘ok’ of the recovery plan presented by the Government of Spain, and opens the door to a powerful investment package of up to 140,000 million euros, half in credits and the other half in grants, which seek to transform the national economy in just six years. The step taken today will be followed by many others, as is customary in the community bureaucracy. The document now goes to the Council, which will have a month to analyze it, although this is expected to occur in the Ecofin meeting on July 13.
Of course, the figures have not finished matching the Government’s forecasts. Spain will receive a first advance before the end of the year of about 19,000 million euros, far from the 27,000 million budgeted by the Executive Budgets. “It has been difficult to put all the pieces together. We are very grateful to the Commission. It seems to us enough», Said Sánchez. From now on, Spain will have to meet milestones, in the form of reforms and investments, which will ultimately mean the “hard journey” referred to by Von der Leyen. The first disbursement will amount to about 9,000 million.
Today the staging was thought out to the last detail and loaded with strong symbolism. Neither the order in which the countries have received the approval of the Commission, nor the scene where the historic moment has been photographed, nor the way in which Von der Leyen has traveled, releasing a Covid passport that holds the hopes of recovery of a dying tourism sector, they have been casual.
Portugal, which holds the biannual presidency of the European Council, was the first country to present its investment projects to Brussels and
It was also today the first community partner to receive free access to funds. The chosen place has been a pedagogical center oriented to the sciences and that responds to the intention of this country to revolutionize innovation and education, to which it will allocate 16,000 million euros of European manna.
The ‘minigira’ of the German responsible has led her to make a stopover in Spain right next. Von der Leyen landed in Madrid in the afternoon and went together with President Sánchez to the headquarters of Red Eléctrica de España (REE). This is a reflection, on this occasion, that about 40% of the investments reflected in the Spanish plan will be oriented towards the ecological transition. Before the end of the week, the head of the Community Executive will also visit Greece, Denmark and Luxembourg to announce the approval of their recovery strategies.
Portugal, Spain and Greece were, along with Italy, the countries hardest hit by the previous financial crisis and its management – they came to be called the PIGS-. Now, its position in the front row to receive historic investments in terms of volume and mode of financing, are an example of the profound change that the political climate in Brussels has experienced. “Europe is going to be by the side of Spain in every step of the way to implement this plan,” he said. Von der leyen. For his part, President Sánchez highlighted how Von der Leyen “has always shown, and especially in the hardest moments, to be by the side of Spain.”
It should be remembered, however, that the so-called ‘frugal countries’ have already recorded their reluctance to implement these million-dollar investments without sufficient controls and that they have in their power the so-called ’emergency brake’, which they can activate in case of that the conditions linked to the funds are not met. In this case, it is about the activation of structural reforms, and not the fulfillment of macroeconomic milestones, which marks conditionality.
The community leader’s trip took place a day after the European Union captured the first 20,000 million euros in bonds with which it will finance the recovery fund. It is a historic issue, both in terms of its proportions – yesterday’s issue will be followed by as many to collect 800,000 million euros – as well as its structure, as it is guaranteed by the common budget. This means that it is endorsed by all European countries although, later, not all nations will benefit equally. Italy and Spain, in fact, will do so much more than other neighboring countries.
Sánchez has pointed out, in this sense, that we are facing “a historic day, because of what they represent in terms of economic resources, but it is also for Europe” and that the approval of the first plans “opens the door to a new way of understanding the Union, cooperate together and respond to challenges.
In Spain, however, the unlocking of funds comes in an atmosphere of misgivings and contained joy. Criticism of the Government for “obscurantism” and “Lack of transparency” with which the process has been managed come from the business world, the financial world and also the political world. There are also doubts about the fact that the Government, in its effort to reduce the deadlines for the execution of the funds, may also reduce the competition of companies that opt for the projects. And, above all, in that the direction of the
promised reforms match expectations in the European capital.