Spain’s prime minister: Economic growth does not guarantee well-being

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at its headquarters in Paris, France, 14 December 2020. EPA-EFE/MARTIN BUREAU / POOL MAXPPP OUT

Spain’s socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, stressed in Paris on Monday (14 December) that “economic growth does not guarantee well-being” and that the world needs a change of paradigm to deal with new challenges. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Speaking at the ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Sánchez also called for multilateralism to be strengthened, in order to achieve fairer policies for all.

The world also needs a “change of (economic) paradigm” to meet new challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis and new migration flows, he added.

“We are at a crucial moment in our history when the idea that economic growth automatically reaches all sectors of society has been discredited,” said Sánchez, who heads a coalition of socialist PSE and the left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can).

Developed countries have seen a significant decline in their middle classes in the last decades, while workers’ labour conditions have clearly worsened, he said.

The most vulnerable, particularly women, children and young people – including in Spain – have been the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain’s leader added.

The crisis as ‘an accelerator of reforms’

According to the prime minister, the only way out of the current dual crisis would be made possible via “a new model that combines equal opportunities, gender equality, territorial cohesion, technological innovation and environmental sustainability”.

Hr went on to say that “this crisis has to be an accelerator of reforms at the national and international level.” The Next Generation EU recovery fund goes into the right direction in achieving these goals, he added.

The world, and OECD’s member states in particular, need a “commitment to achieving fair rules of the game in a multilateral framework to face the challenges of climate change and poverty eradication,” according to Sanchez.

Even if Spain, together with Germany, is among the first in the EU to start vaccinating people against COVID-19 next year, this will not help the Spanish economy regain pre-pandemic GDP levels at least until 2023, according to a recent OECD forecast.

However, more than half of Spain’s citizens say they have lost their income and purchasing power since the start of the first COVID-19 outbreak in March, according to a survey published on 15 November.

[Edited by Daniel Eck/Zoran Radosavljevic]

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