Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met this week with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Madrid following the approval of the Spanish Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. The Commission has approved the Recovery Plan presented by Spain involving 69.5 billion euros in direct transfers, which can be extended to more than 140 billion euros in loans, if necessary, until 2026.
According to Sánchez, “We want to be a modern country and a leader in major transformations. The reformist character of the Recovery Plan foresees important advances in the modernisation of Spain’s economic and social structure. The Plan represents the largest investment and reform effort in our country since it joined the former European Economic Community 35 years ago.”
The Spanish Recovery Plan was the first to be approved – together with that of Portugal. Sánchez thanked Von der Leyen for her support for always standing by Spain, “especially in the hardest moments,” said Sánchez. Sánchez stressed that the Plan presents unique opportunities for the Spanish economy and for transnational projects, and added: “This is a task that Spain and Europe have to face in a coordinated manner, with ambition, always thinking about innovation, inclusion and sustainability”.
Sánchez and Von der Leyen visited the Electricity Control Centre of Red Eléctrica de España, as the electricity system will be deeply affected by the implementation of the Plan. Both leaders were accompanied by the Second Vice-President and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; and the Fourth Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera. The visit included a tour of the Renewable Energy Control Centre, a pioneering system worldwide in the monitoring and control of these energies, which was set up by Red Eléctrica de España in 2006.
A green, digital, gender-neutral and cohesive Spain
The Recovery Plan is based on four pillars: ecological transition, digital transformation, gender equality and social and territorial cohesion. These axes will be specified in several objectives such as: digitalisation of more than one million SMEs, training of more than 2.6 million people in digital skills, extension of broadband to 100% of the population, effective roll out of 5G, promotion of 165 sustainable tourist destinations, rehabilitation of more than one million homes, reaching a fleet of 250,000 electric vehicles, deployment of more than 100,000 recharging points and the completion of the Atlantic and Mediterranean rail corridors.
The Plan contains 212 investments and reforms that Spain has already implemented, to a large extent, since 2020. Spain will receive more than 19 billion euros in 2021, of which 9 billion are advance payments and 10 billion to milestones and targets already met.
According to the Commission’s report, Spain has put in place an adequate structure to implement the Plan and ensure its effective monitoring. Overall, the text considers that the Plan’s control system is adequate to detect and correct corruption, fraud or conflicts of interest.
Sánchez stressed the “national project” nature of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and, to address this issue, Sánchez announced that before the summer he will convene a Conference with the regional presidents.