February 28, 2021

The European Commission warns about EU funds that “there will be no investment without reforms”




Representatives of the European institutions, key names in the political integration of our country in the EU and first swords of the national business fabric agree on the golden opportunity represented by the European recovery plan. A mana of resources that, yes, will require reforms and whose use must be justified. This has been revealed after the intervention of the economic vice president of the Government, Nadia Calviño, in the Euroforo organized by Vocento, in a discussion table moderated by the deputy director of ABC, Yolanda Gómez, in which they participated Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Way of Life; Ricardo Mourinho Felix, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Miguel Arias Cañete, former European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy; the former president of the Spanish Government Felipe Gonzalez and the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán.

«It is a unique opportunity, not only for spending money all together, but also to finance the new European economy ”, has influenced the initial intervention of this panel of experts, the Vice-President of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, who has valued the efforts made by the European institutions to weather the crisis. From the SURE to finance mechanisms such as ERTE, to « the ECB bazooka, flexibility in the structural funds and the relaxation of the framework of European aid ”.

But the jewel in the crown is the European Recovery Plan, endowed with 750,000 million of which 140,000 will go to Spain, through transfers and loans. Schinas himself has stressed that they are “finalizing the dialogue” with governments, to ensure “the compatibility of national plans with the fund’s criteria.” And he has warned in a forceful way: «there will be no investments without reformace».

«No one’s gonna sign 27 blank checks. This is what the member states asked of us, it is our obligation to future generations ”, warned the vice president of the European Commission, who has launched another clear message:“it is also important that in each state there is a broad political consensus around the fund».

In short, the vice president called for a consensus between the PSOE and the PP, with Felipe González and Miguel Arias Cañete present in the auditorium. «The two political families must share the responsibility to make this fund a success»Has abounded. “Many times when I follow the Spanish public debate it gives the feeling that it is a Spanish-Spanish debate and not,” he clarified to add that “the recovery of Spain is a European matter. Europe needs Spain to come out of the recession. This is a challenge for Europe, not just a challenge for Spain ».

Reforms and aid to SMEs

The rest of the speakers addressed the priorities for Spain to invest in certain areas. “The most urgent thing in Spain is to reform public administrations”, has considered the former president of the Spanish Government Felipe González, who has called to promote the access of small companies to the opportunity to modernize European funds. “Large corporations have no difficulty presenting plans. SMEs have the greatest difficulty. And we have many SMEs, “he warned.

The former European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and former Minister of Agriculture, Miguel Arias Cañete, has focused on the reforms that the Executive must present to the EU to access European funds. “I hope that those 52 pages of good intentions presented by the Prime Minister will become a plan that respects the country-specific recommendations of the European Commission. And what is that? Ensure the stability of the pension system, the reform of the labor market to avoid duality, improve professional training … equip young people with the necessary skills for the economy of the future. We have a VET from the time of the industrial revolution», Has reflected.

The role of companies, key

But companies will play a key role in the results of the European plan. The president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, has rejected that the plan is a “lifeline” for large companies. “It is an operation to transform, not save,” he pointed out. A plan that will be paid in the form of debt with EC issues maturing that will not be paid in full until 2058, he recalled. «We will leave our future generations a terrifying debt but you also have to leave them a future. You get out of the crisis by investing more and well and by working more and better. Companies know how to do both ”, he resolved.

For this reason, it has urged to streamline administrative procedures to use European resources. «I would be very sorry if we lose the train due to bureaucratic processes“, has warned. Within the European plan, energy sustainability has a central role, which is why Galán has opted for «improving energy taxation; whoever pollutes, pays“, In addition to” reconverting sectors. “

An opinion in which the vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Ricardo Mourinho, agreed. “The pandemic may accelerate a new era of digitization”, has argued, recalling the investment role of the agency in Spain, with examples like 600 million euros destined to the Community of Madrid or to support the ICO in its financing work. “To remain competitive we must give incentives to ecological and efficient investment,” he declared.

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