Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, highlighted in the Lower House of Parliament that stability and agreements have allowed the COVID-19 emergency to be responded to. He also argued that the government’s measures are in line with the recommendations of the European Commission on mobility.
Sánchez maintained at the government control session that “stability is proposed and forged thanks to cross-cutting agreements that go beyond the ideological space that each party represents”, in response to the MP from the People’s Parliamentary Group, Pablo Casado.
Thanks to this stability, Sánchez added, the government has approved a new National Budget and seven agreements with the social stakeholders, has proposed more than 14 draft constitutional laws to Parliament and has attained the ratification of more than 40 royal decree-laws. By doing so, the government has been able to respond to a “health, economic and social emergency that is unprecedented in the history of our country”.
In his response, Sánchez called for an opposition that is an alternative and has a sense of State, “that is loyal, not to the government, but to the country”.
As regards the management of the European Recovery Funds, Sánchez declared that Spain has “a series of checks and counterbalances that will guarantee the efficient, transparent and exemplary management of funds that will change Spain for the better”. Sánchez specified how these funds will be controlled – a question raised by the MP from the Ciudadanos Parliamentary Group, Inés Arrimadas.
The selection of the projects that will benefit from the Recovery Plan will be made in accordance with the Public Procurement Act and the Subsidies Act, satisfying open, transparent, competitive and non-discriminatory public tenders and rounds of proposals. These will be organised by the ministerial departments, State agencies, regional governments and local authorities, prior to the transfer these funds from the government.
The control of the funds has a dual mechanism. It will be in the hands of the Comptroller General’s Office, which will take on the coordination of the controls of the State, regional and local bodies, something that has been “well received by the European Commission”, according to the President of the Government. Secondly, the government has established “a thorough system of controls and audits already validated by the Commission”. Specifically, the National Antifraud Coordination Service will be the body entrusted with protecting the financial interests of the European Union, in collaboration with the European Anti-Fraud Office.
“Transparency, exemplary nature, efficacy, transformation and the renewal and modernisation of our economy. Recovery, in short, all with the due oversight measures of a great democracy such as Spain’s”, stressed Pedro Sánchez.
Coherency with European recommendations
In relation to international pleasure trips, an issue that the MP from the Basque Parliamentary Group, Aitor Bravo, raised, Sánchez remarked that the agreement reached at the Inter-territorial Committee between the regional governments and the Ministry of Health commits to “the Spanish people staying at home and not moving from their provinces”.
Aside from that, he stated, the government’s policy is “coherent and consequential with the recommendations of the European Commission and the EU health authorities” These recommendations include keeping the borders open for trips between autonomous regions, avoiding non-essential travel, and applying controls to ensure that no new cases are imported.
“And this is what Spain is doing: maintaining the borders from the European Union open, and requiring a negative PCR test issued in the previous 72 hours. And what we are also doing is ensuring that those French and German citizens who come to Spain are subject to the same restrictions as our fellow countrymen”, remarked Pedro Sánchez.
In his speech, Sánchez also argued that “these are complicated times but we are now in the final phase of the pandemic with the vaccination process and also with the recovery funds which will ensure that this is the year of the recovery and of the defeat of the pandemic”.