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Europe approves Spain's 'restructure plans' for release of €69.5bn in recovery funds
17 June 2021 @ 18:25

HE EUROPEAN Commission has approved Spain's 'recovery plan' post-pandemic, meaning it is now entitled to funding from the bloc which all member States who applied in time are able to access.

Spain is due €69.5 billion between 2021 and 2026, and has pledged around 40% of this towards climate change-related investment, 28% towards the digital transition, and the bulk of the rest towards 'social cohesion'.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (pictured left) said the plans presented by Spain's leader Pedro Sánchez (pictured right) would allow the country to 'arise stronger than ever before', and praised the 'excellent cooperation' with Europe by Spanish authorities.

Sánchez, who calls the project approval 'an historic day' and the plans themselves a chance to 'build a better future', says he will call a conference with all the country's regional presidents in July to discuss the finer detail of how it will be put into practice.


'Fundamental' reworking of 2012 labour reform

In exchange for the funds, Spain is required to make a series of structural overhauls in its job market, pensions and taxation systems, among other areas.

This will involve scrapping key elements of the controversial 2012 labour reform, brought in by the previous right-wing PP government.

The reform nine years ago made it easier and cheaper for companies to fire employees, even on the grounds of ill health evidenced by medical notes after a certain percentage of absences – ostensibly, it was aimed at allowing companies under threat of complete shutdown to stay open by making a handful of redundancies without too many barriers or extra costs, on the basis that it was better for some of its employees to lose their jobs than for all of them to; but the reform also opened the door to the minority of less-scrupulous employers being able to shed staff with relative impunity and to use coercion to keep wages low and working conditions unfavourable.

Unions and various experts in economy and business criticised the reform from the start, warning it would drive down already-low salaries and make the job market more precarious and less secure than ever.

Ending the precarious nature of jobs, especially in young, newly-qualified adults, is one of the current left-wing coalition government's key aims, and now it has been told its plan to axe the fundamental parts of the 2012 reform cannot be delayed any longer: It must happen this year.

Among the areas Brussels says need an immediate restructure are the limitations the reform places on collective bargaining via unions, and changes to guarantee the rights and wellbeing of people working for sub-contracted companies.

Also, Spain's work minister Yolanda Díaz intends to reduce the number of job contract types to limit temporary employment only to cases where this is strictly necessary or in the interests of the employee as well as the firm, and wants to create a permanent mechanism similar to the temporary lay-off or 'furlough' scheme introduced during lockdown – where employees can be sent home, claim unemployment benefit without affecting their existing contributory jobseekers' allowance built up, and taken back on by the company once business improves, with their jobs guaranteed during their time off.

Brussels has highly praised the temporary lay-off, or 'ERTE' scheme, which has enabled businesses to avoid shutting down altogether and prevented mass redundancies.



Like 0


midasgold said:
18 June 2021 @ 00:37

Free money ! - Spain now drowning in more EU debt - Brits were
right to get removed from this liability.

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