Correspondent in Brussels – Madrid
After a few months in which the shadows have beaten the lights by a landslide and the darkness has become the hallmark of Spain’s plan to receive European funds, on Wednesday our country obtained the official approval from Brussels to your roadmap. This opens the door to receive up to 140,000 million euros, although this year 19,000 will arrive, and the first shipment, of 9,000 million, is expected this summer. The launch, in which the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the document with the approval, took place at the headquarters of Red Eléctrica, a scenario with which it is sought emphasize the importance of the ecological transition for the plan, which accounts for about 40% of the investments.
Among the praise for the effort made by Spain during the pandemic and when presenting the investment and reform plan, Von der Leyen also made a call for political unity. “We Europeans have been through this pandemic together. Now that things are starting to improve, we need all the political groups to make the plan a reality. Sánchez, who these months ago has cut all the bridges of understanding with the PP, picked up the glove and joined the request for consensus and unity. He announced, in fact, that he plans to convene the conference of presidents of the autonomous communities in July, something that the popular and several regional leaders have been demanding after no meeting has been held since last October. “We are gambling the future”Sanchez said, after defending that the approved one is a “country plan” and includes the contributions of “social agents and high-level forums” created in different sectors.
«Start of a hard journey»
For her part, the German leader praised the reforms and investments proposed by the Government and hoped that “Spain will emerge stronger from this plan.” Von der leyen He pointed to the modernization of the labor market and the promotion of youth employment as levers of this new growth. Although he was also blunt: «This is the beginning of a hard journey. We are facing a challenge and a historic opportunity.
The staging was yesterday thought out to the last detail and loaded with strong symbolism. Neither the order in which the countries received the approval of the Commission, nor the setting where the historic moment was photographed, nor the way in which Von der Leyen traveled, releasing a Covid passport that holds the hopes of recovery from a dying tourism sector, they were accidental. The Government explains that the haste with which Spain has received approval for its plan is due to the fact that it has been a kind of advantageous student when it comes to submitting the documents. However, this fact is unofficially acknowledged in Brussels reveals the extent to which the Commission is concerned about the fragility of the Spanish economy, the fourth most important in the euro zone and capable of having systemic negative effects on the rest of the countries.
What the Commission has approved is technically a proposal for a decision to disburse € 69.5 billion in grants to Spain. The Council will now have four weeks to ratify this Commission proposal, which would allow the almost immediate disbursement of € 9 billion (13% of the total) as pre-financing. Afterwards, the Commission will have to authorize future disbursements based on the satisfactory fulfillment of the milestones and objectives established in the Council’s Execution Decision, as progress is verified in the implementation of the investments and reforms.
According to Sánchez, Spain is expected to enter 19,000 million before the end of the year, A figure that does not match the forecasts that the Government had, which aimed at 27,000 million in the General State Budgets. “It has been difficult to put all the pieces together. We are very grateful to the Commission. It seems enough to us, “said the president.
The communiqué of the European Commission highlights the importance of advancing in the reforms of the labor market and the pension system through agreements in social dialogue. Brussels assures that the plan that the Government has sent it contains a “significant” part of those that have been demanded of Spain, although in all the most delicate aspects, the concrete ones, will depend on the social dialogue between unions and employers. As employment and labor legislation, subject to the result of the social dialogue process, currently paralyzed.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism