The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has had a strong impact on the Spanish economy, ending more than five years of growth and leading to a particularly intense drop in activity in those sectors most affected by the demand reduction and mobility restrictions.
The safety net deployed from the outset, through an important injection of public resources to sustain the productive fabric, employment and family income, have mitigated the economic and social impact. Thanks to this determined response, and to the coordinated action of fiscal and monetary policy at the European level, this time the spiral of job destruction and activity drop from previous crises has been avoided and we have a good basis for recovery from 2021 Furthermore, numerous measures have been put in place to protect the most vulnerable groups and prevent a further increase in inequalities.
However, measures to support companies and families are not enough to recover the level of production in the short term and return in the medium term to the path of investment and potential growth prior to the pandemic. This shock has revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the Spanish economy and has accelerated certain processes of structural transformation and digitization that require the often postponed reforms to be addressed without delay. In addition, its negative impact is added to that derived from the sharp drop in public investment since the financial crisis.
All of this makes it essential and urgent to implement this investment and reform plan, with a triple objective: to support the recovery after the health crisis in the short term, to promote a process of structural transformation in the medium term, and to lead to development in the long term. more sustainable and resilient from an economic-financial, social, territorial and environmental point of view.
In this context, the new Next Generation EU Community financing instruments provide an extraordinary opportunity to roll out this Plan and thus counteract the impact of the pandemic on investment and economic activity. Also to promote recovery and tackle a modernization of the Spanish economy, comparable to that of joining the EU in 1986, which will allow us to resume the path of progress and prosperity achieved during the following decades.
Indeed, these new mechanisms will provide Spain with up to 140,000 million euros in transfers and credits in the 2021-2026 period, which will join the rest of the instruments provided for in the Multiannual Financial Framework to promote investments and reforms in priority areas at European level : support ecological transition and digital transformation, drive sustainable and inclusive growth through increased productivity and potential growth, R&D and an efficient internal market with strong SMEs, strengthen social and territorial cohesion, increase resilience health, economic, social and institutional, and develop policies for future generations, children and young people, in particular through education and professional training.
To this end, this Recovery Plan incorporates an important investment and structural reform agenda, which are interrelated and provide feedback to achieve four cross-cutting objectives: moving towards a greener, more digital, more cohesive Spain from a social and territorial point of view, and more egalitarian.
The first axis reinforces public and private investment to reorient the production model, promoting the green transition, decarbonisation, energy efficiency, the deployment of renewable energies, the electrification of the economy, the development of energy storage, the circular economy. , nature-based solutions and enhancing the resilience of all economic sectors.
The second axis , in line with the European digital strategy and the Spain Digital 2025 Agenda, sets the roadmap to accelerate a humanistic digital transition in Spain, through investments and reforms that enhance the infrastructures, skills and technologies necessary for an economy and a digital society. Given its cross-cutting nature, the digital transformation will unfold throughout the Plan: from the urban agenda to education, from agriculture to tourism, from industry to mobility, from the modernization of public administration to the new economy of the cares.
The third axis promotes the social and territorial cohesion of Spain, through the reinforcement of the welfare state, the educational system, the promotion of quality employment, a fair tax system, and with measures specifically aimed at addressing the demographic challenge and providing opportunities to the next generations.
The fourth axis focuses on gender equality, especially through transversal measures aimed at increasing the female employment rate, improving, strengthening and reorganizing the long-term care system, increasing educational potential, equal opportunities and to reduce the digital divide.
These four axes guide the ten lever policies that determine the future evolution of the country: from the urban agenda, the fight against depopulation and the development of agriculture to the modernization and reinforcement of the fiscal and pension system, passing through the resilience of infrastructures. and ecosystems, the energy transition, the modernization of the Administration, the industrial fabric and the SME and the recovery of tourism, the commitment to science and the reinforcement of the National Health System, the promotion of education and continuous professional training , the development of the new care economy, the new public policies of the labor market or the promotion of the culture and sports industry.
Ecological transition: a green Spain
Spain must incorporate the environmental limits of our planet into the design of public policies and in the regulation of economic activity and stop the processes of ecological deterioration. In the current context, it is urgent to reinforce public and private investment to reorient the production model, promoting decarbonization, energy efficiency, the deployment of renewable energies, the electrification of the economy, the development of energy storage, the circular economy. , nature-based solutions and enhancing the resilience of all economic sectors.
Digital transformation: a digital Spain
The situation derived from COVID-19 has accelerated the digitization process in Spain, highlighting its strengths and also its shortcomings, both from an economic, social and territorial perspective. In order for the digital transformation to be inclusive and sustainable, the backbone of territorial and social cohesion, it is necessary to urgently address the digital transition, guaranteeing access to the whole of society, promoting the digitization of the company - especially SMEs and startups - and industry, R + D + i, and digital training of the population.
Social and territorial cohesion: A cohesive and inclusive Spain
Achieving solid and sustainable economic growth is impossible without social cohesion. The commitment to knowledge, quality education and permanent training not only help reduce inequalities and promote employability; They provide opportunities and efficiency to our economy, favor a better use of economic potential and help to consolidate formed and compact societies with a higher quality of life for all its members.
Together with the reinforcement of the three existing pillars of the Welfare State (education, health, social services), it is necessary to develop the fourth pillar: that of the care economy. To do this, it is necessary to address in depth the financing and management of the System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency, to advance towards the universalization of public services for care for dependency and the implementation of a system focused on "care to the person".
At the same time, it is crucial to address the demographic challenge facing a significant part of the country and to articulate a response that reinforces economic, social and territorial cohesion.
Gender equality: a Spain without gender gaps
The current crisis may have a particularly negative impact on women and young people, groups that have already been especially hit by the previous financial crisis. This differential effect is coupled with the gender gap, which persists in our country despite advances in recent decades. Despite the fact that Spain ranks as one of the most advanced countries in certain areas and the most egalitarian in the social sphere, it is necessary to reduce the structural barriers that hinder women's access to the labor market with equal rights and conditions.; raise the female employment rate; improve, strengthen and reorganize the long-term care system and raise educational potential and equal opportunities. All of this will have a positive effect on the capacity for long-term growth.
These 4 axes are specified in 10 leverage policies and 30 components that articulate the important reform and investment program with the 2023 horizon. Each component focuses on a specific challenge or objective and includes reforms and investments that, in a coherent and complementary way, contribute to achieve these objectives or overcome the challenges. For all of them, intermediate goals and milestones are identified, as well as the expected results, the number of beneficiaries, as well as the detailed cost of each element.
Given the uncertainty and the difficulty of inventorying actions in the longer term, this Plan focuses on the first phase of execution. Thus, the reforms and investments that will be deployed in the 2021-2023 period are detailed, for a total of close to 70,000 million euros, with a significant concentration in the areas of green transformation (39.12%) and digital (29%). ), and a clear commitment to education and training (10.5%), R & D & I (7%) and the reinforcement of social inclusion and cohesion throughout the territory. In addition to the transfers, the credits provided for in the Next Generation EU allocation to Spain will be mobilized , mainly to finance investment financial instruments as of 2022 and also reinforce the financing of investment programs as of 2023.
Furthermore, the transversal design of the Plan ensures coherence, complementarity and synergies between the different components and between investments and reforms. As highlighted in the files for the different components, it is a Country Plan, with a program of interrelated reforms and investments, which are mutually reinforcing, and which will be deployed by all the ministries, in coordination with the Administrations. territorial public (autonomous communities and municipalities) and with the private sector, in order to maximize the macroeconomic impact of the different actions.