Spain’s Minister for Territorial Policy, Carolina Darias, encouraged local councils and regional governments in the country to submit “powerful projects”, mainly focused in areas such as the “green economy”, digital transformation, social cohesion and gender equality, all of which are eligible for financing under the Next Generation EU fund, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
The Spanish coalition government of PSOE socialists and left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can) is “eager to receive these projects, which will allow us to emerge from the crisis in a different way and without leaving anyone behind (…) we are facing the country’s greatest challenge”, said Darias, a socialist politician.
Fresh EU funding will allow for the transformation of the Spanish economy, stated Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, after the EU Council summit in Brussels, adding that it will allow for Spain to exit from the deep crisis it currently faces.
Spain has secured a total of €140 billion from the EU recovery fund as the second fund’s biggest beneficiaries, after Italy. The EU money for Spain is divided in two parts: € 72.7 billion (in grants) and € 63 billion in credits, thus repayable.
Important role to play for city councils and regions
In the draft of General Budget for 2021, recently approved by the Spanish parliament, the government included €27 billion, as fresh money advances from the EU Next Generation fund.
However, it will first need to show it is ready to implement deep structural reforms, including by guaranteeing the pension system’s sustainability, ensuring the number of temporary jobs is reduced and drafting a law to unify the market criteria and avoid fragmentation between regional regulations.
However, Darias expressed her optimism about the quality of future projects presented by Spain, eligible for EU funding, and showed her confidence and enthusiasm about the country’s chances to overcome the crisis, around the year 2023, according to recent OECD estimates.
“For the first time Europe meets Europe and gets into debt to respond to this unprecedented (crisis),” she said.
She stressed that “town councils will have a very important role” to implement those projects funded by the EU, as well as all the Spanish regions.
The Spanish government has presented an ambitious reform agenda (“España Puede”/Spain Can) with the aim of radically transforming the economic model, which is excessively dependent on tourism and services. The government’s proposal also suggests a “fast track” procedure for a comprehensive new “green” and digital economic agenda.
[Edited by Daniel Eck]