Spain recovery plan will invest €72bn of European funds to create 800,000 jobs
Ecological transition, digitalization, gender equality and social cohesion are scheme's priorities
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez has unveiled plans to create 800,000 jobs over the next three years through an investment of €72bn of European funds.
Sánchez presented his government's Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan on Wednesday, claiming it would allow for an annual growth in GDP of 2.5 percentage points between 2021 and 2023. The Spanish executive will include €27bn of the funds in the 2021 budget.
The plan is based around four broad areas: the ecological transition, digitalization, gender equality and social cohesion.
Sánchez presented it at an event that featured the European flag and began with a pianist performing the European anthem. All members of his government, the top representatives of employers' federations and trade unions, and the ambassadors of the 27 EU member countries attended via video conference.
Under the motto "Spain can," Sánchez said the plan, developed by his government in recent months, constituted the "second major modernization of the Spanish economy," with policies that will allow economic recovery and guarantee "solid, lasting and inclusive growth."
Sánchez explained that the "top priorities" of the plan will be the ecological transition, which will be allocated 37% of the funds, and digital transformation, with 33% of the total.
A total of 16% of resources will go towards the agri-food sector and tackling rural issues including depopulation. Investment in infrastructure and resilient ecosystems to preserve biodiversity will account for 12%; a fair and inclusive energy transition, 9%; the modernization and digitalization of public administration, 5%; the modernization of SMEs, industry and the tourism sector, 17%; science and innovation in health care and other areas, 17%; education and vocational training ,18%; the new care economy and employment policies, 6%; sport and culture 1.1%; with the remainder going towards the modernization of the tax system.
Sánchez also laid out some of the goals of the plan, including 250,000 new electric vehicles and the creation of 100,000 charging points; 65,000 places for early years education for 0 to 3 year olds to help eliminate the gender gap; 1,460 support units for vulnerable students; widespread training in digital skills (to reach 2.5m small and medium-sized businesses); and ensuring 85% of the population have access to 5G.
Monitoring the plan
To monitor how the plan develops, the Spanish government will create an inter-ministerial commission chaired by Sánchez himself. The topic of European funds will also form part of the "regular discussions" at meetings of the leaders of regional governments.
Sanchez concluded the conference by calling for support from the opposition to carry out these investments and reforms. The People's Party, however, has said that Sánchez is closer to creating "800,000 more unemployed" than 800,000 jobs.