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Spain's plans for spending EU Covid recovery funds 'will create 800,000 jobs'
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 @ 2:05 PM

SPAIN'S government has outlined where it is considering spending European Union funds to help the economy recover, and which it believes will create up to 800,000 jobs.

President Pedro Sánchez calls the reform plan 'the greatest opportunity for Spain since its entry into the EU', and forecasts it will increase the country's GDP by two percentage points at least over the next two years or so, on top of any other rises this may experience through the end of the 'State of alarm' and businesses being able to reopen in full nationwide.

Sánchez's final plan, once agreed on by the Council of Ministers, will need to be submitted to Brussels by April 30 at the latest.

“Occasions like this only happen a couple of times a century at the very most, and we're not going to let it slide by,” said Sánchez, who says the draft spending breakdown is the result of 'months of technical and political work at multiple levels and in permanent dialogue with the European Commission'.

“We want to repair the economy after a decade of the worst economic recession and the worst pandemic in over a century,” said Sánchez, who spoke of 'remedying' the remaining vestiges of what he calls 'austericide' and 'a weakening of the welfare state' by 'modernising the economy, administration, bureaucracy', as well as 'increasing productivity and good-quality employment', closing the gender and social pay gaps and 'boosting the green economy' – the focus being on 'green' and 'digital', or 'econology', as Sánchez refers to it, along with 'social and territorial consistence and cohesion' and 'gender equality'.

Longer term, the plans for spending the EU grants will cover 110 major investments and 102 reforms over six years, although Sánchez has not expanded greatly on what the latter will involve – only referring to changes in the energy system, internationalising companies, fiscal and pension reforms.

But he was more specific on the areas of investment, detailing a 'route map' for the first €70 billion due from Brussels, of which 39% will go towards the 'ecological transition', 29% to the 'digital transformation', 10.5% to education and training, and 7% to science, research and productivity.

The largest slice of the pot will go into promoting electric car buying and sustainable mobility, with €13.2 billion to be set aside; just over half of this amount, or €6.82bn, will go towards renovating residential homes and urban regeneration.



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