Catalonia 'ready' to benefit from EU recovery plan as €31bn scheme presented
Digitalization and ecologic transition among items in new strategy as Catalan government hopes to receive 21% of European resources allocated to Spain
Catalonia is "ready" to benefit from the EU recovery plan deal, sealed in the early hours of Tuesday, said the vice president of Quim Torra's government, which has also presented a 31.76 billion euro scheme to deal with the impact of Covid-19 and to reactivate the economy.
The strategy, briefed by Torra himself and his vice president, Pere Aragonès, early Tuesday afternoon includes 20 projects to be executed by 2032.
Some 2.76 billion euros are to be spent in 2020 for "immediate actions."
According to Torra, the plan includes five axes: 'life economy' (health, education, culture, and housing policies, among others), digitalization, ecological transition, knowledge society and a category including gender policy and the internationalization of Catalonia.
"It is the biggest mobilization of resources in modern Catalan history," said Vice President Pere Aragonès.
The executive's second-in-command added that Catalonia aims to obtain 30 billion euros out of the 140 billion euros that Spain is set to receive from the European fund – that is, 21% of the resources allocated to Spain.
Recovery plan prioritizes green policies
More than half of the public funds included in the plan are to be spent on green policies, in the ecological transition category, with four out of the 20 specific projects, "in the same vein of those in the European Green Deal."
These include a strategy for a change in the automobile industry to make it greener and an investment in sustainable mobility prioritizing the public transport network (5.87 billion), a climate action plan and to boost renewable energies (6.33 billion), housing policies to fight energy poverty (3.27 billion) and a scheme to promote a circular economy.
Another project with a large budget is one on bioeconomy and transformation of the food sector (3.33 billion).
Catalonia welcomes EU deal
President Torra welcomed the EU deal and called it "historic" although the Catalan government had hoped for it to be "more ambitious."
Aragonès added that "Catalonia is ready" to benefit from the plan, of which his department believes the Catalan government should receive 30 billion euros from Brussels.
Apart from the EU fund, the executive aims to receive money from an already launched Spanish Covid-19 fund, an increase in public debt and the reshuffling of the 2020 budget prioritizing the pandemic-related needs.