23/05/2021

The future is at stake with European funds

2 min
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For some time now, all economic sectors have been watching two key words: European funds. Since the European Union gave the green light to the most important economic recovery plan in its history, which will irrigate Spain with 144,000 million euros (72,000 in direct aid), large and small companies, entrepreneurs, employers and trade unions are awaiting how the funds will be distributed. Brussels has established that they have to be spent on two main axes: digitisation and green economy. Therefore, the playing field has been defined. However, from here the unknowns begin to emerge.

One of the few things that are clear is that the Spanish government has centralised in Moncloa the body that will decide how this money is spent. Neither autonomous communities nor city councils will have an important role in the allocation of funds, which shows that, even when there is a government of PSOE and Unidas Podemos, the Jacobin impulse prevails over the principle of subsidiarity. The second piece of bad news is that, according to the Spanish government's plans, SMEs will only receive 4.8 billion. On the positive side, the experts point out two things. First, that Catalonia has presented very interesting and well thought-out proposals. And second, that all the projects will have to get the green light from Brussels, which wants to ensure that the money is spent according to criteria of efficiency and productivity.

Even so, it is not yet defined the itinerary that companies will have to follow to qualify for funding or what criteria will be applied. So far, the executive of Pedro Sánchez has only drawn broad lines, such as the importance of the electric car and communications and the idea of investing in energy sustainability of housing. The hope for SMEs is that either through these big plans or by working as suppliers of large companies, they will also end up benefiting from the funds.

Be that as it may, the new Government has to ensure that the maximum number of Catalan projects obtain funding, since in this course there is a danger of being at a disadvantage compared to other territories. And here all possible levers must be used. We cannot ignore the fact that there are two Catalan parties, PSC and Catalunya en Comú, that form part of the executive and are present in the council of ministers. These parties cannot, therefore, be inhibited, but must offer help and collaboration in the Catalan government. In fact, the socialist Salvador Illa said so in the investiture debate.

The other responsibility falls on the economic sectors themselves, which have to get a move on and move to have the best projects, the ones that best meet the requirements set by the European Union. In the Catalan case there is a golden opportunity to reindustrialise the country, to build the foundations of an economy based on knowledge and added value. It is a cliché to say it, but our future is at stake.

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