Thank you very much Madam President.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am appearing today for the first time before the Economic and Competitiveness Commission to present the main lines of action of my Department. From the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness some of the most ambitious reforms of this legislature will be undertaken, which will serve to recover the prosperity and well-being that Spanish society deserves.

Citizens have given us their confidence to put the Spanish economy back on the path of growth and job creation. From this Ministry we consider that we are facing a challenge that we cannot fail to address in order to improve the situation of the more than five million unemployed.

The main objective that we have set ourselves is the development of a complete and coherent plan of structural reforms that has the essential objective of restoring confidence in the Spanish economy and creating jobs. To this end, these reforms will be aimed at boosting the economy, creating more competitive and efficient markets, ensuring adequate financing for companies and the public sector, creating a new, more efficient framework of labor relations, and promoting global competitiveness.

All these lines of Economic Policy are framed within the commitments we have made in Europe, in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Semester, the Pact for the Euro plus and other initiatives that are being developed to stimulate growth, the employment and the competitiveness of our economies.

I will begin by analyzing the economic prospects that Spain faces in 2012 – which, as the honorable Members well know, this is not an easy scenario – and that the measures that I will detail later require.

In the international context, as the honorable Members know, the world economy has been experiencing a slowdown in its growth since the second half of last year.

In the first part of the year, signs of recovery appeared motivated by the improvement and good signs of the advanced economies, mainly the US and Japan, by the stabilization of oil prices, and by the strong growth of the emerging economies.

However, these conditions deteriorated in the second part of the year as a result of doubts about the possibility of finding a definitive solution to the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area and about the solvency of the European banking sector. The necessary cooling of emerging economies after the inflationary tensions they suffered in the first part of the year has also contributed to the slowdown.

These factors have meant that according to IMF estimates, the growth of the world economy in 2011 has finally stood at 3.8%, five tenths below the figure that the institution was considering in June.

This worse behavior has affected practically all of the main world economies with the exception of the United States, with the eurozone being the most affected area. The IMF estimates that its growth in 2011 has been 1.6%, three tenths below that reached in 2010. Indicators from other countries such as China and Japan or from areas such as Latin America also confirm the slowdown in their growth during the fourth quarter of the year 2011.

For 2012, the IMF sees no signs of improvement. According to this body, the 2011 risks persist. Thus, its growth forecast for the world economy is 3.3%, seven tenths lower than that estimated three months ago and five tenths lower than the one reached in 2011. The slowdown will affect all areas, but the most affected, It is again the euro zone. The IMF is forecasting a return to recession, with negative GDP growth of -0.5%. In addition to the growth forecast for Spain, which I will comment on later, it is worth highlighting the forecast for the two largest economies in the eurozone: 0.3% for Germany, compared to 3% in 2011 and an estimated 0.2% for France, compared to 1.6% last year.

Regarding the situation of the Spanish economy, we have been experiencing, as you all know, growth rates in the last two quarters confirming a further slowdown. Undoubtedly, the situation of the world economy has influenced this. However, the differential impact that our economy has suffered must be explained in our own imbalances and in that in recent years the set of vital structural reforms have not been undertaken to correct them or that when it has been done, it has not been with the impulse enough.

As shown by the data advanced by the National Statistics Institute, the Spanish economy fell by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011. With this, growth for the year stood at 0.7%. This growth is six tenths lower than the previous Government's forecast of 1.3%.

Despite the intense destruction of jobs that we have been suffering during the last four and a half years, the last Labor Force Survey reflected a new acceleration in the rate of job destruction in the fourth quarter of last year. This confirms that the successive labor reforms introduced by the previous Government have been a failure, since they have failed to address the structural problems of our labor market, as the latest data on registered unemployment and those registered with social security have also shown.

The forecasts for 2012, as I have already commented in previous interventions, suggest that the year will end with a negative growth rate. The IMF forecasts, which forecast -1.7% and the Bank of Spain, -1.5% have already pointed to this. These forecasts would only be surpassed, among the main developed economies, by Italy, which will decrease by 2.2% in 2012.

At this moment the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness is preparing its own forecasts, while we are waiting for the European Commission to publish its forecasts in mid-February, which will serve as a starting point for the preparation of the macroeconomic table that will support the General State Budgets for this year.

These negative growth forecasts should be an incentive to implement with determination the work plan that we have already started to execute and that will continue in the coming months. Such reforms are an essential factor in restoring confidence in our economy and causing a rapid improvement in expectations, as has begun to be reflected in the latest Treasury debt issues.

For this reason, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness is convinced that the reform program to which the Government has committed must be aimed at breaking the negative trend of our economy from the second half of this year.

We are heirs, as you can see, of a worrying situation, but once the problem has been diagnosed, we have begun to act and adopt the necessary measures and reforms.

This Ministry is responsible for defining, developing and executing supply policies, that is, those structural reforms aimed at promoting competitiveness, growth in the medium and long term, the creation of durable and quality employment, and the adequate financing of the economy in a framework of macroeconomic stability.

These reforms constitute, together with budgetary stability, the fundamental pillars of the Government's economic policy, led by the President of the Government in the Delegate Commission for Economic Affairs. In the framework of a Monetary Union, structural reforms are even more important, and even more so given the current economic situation and the fiscal consolidation that we are undertaking.

Our Government is clearly committed to budgetary stability, since it is essential to guarantee macroeconomic stability and to regain credibility and confidence in the Spanish economy.

The reform of article 135 of the Spanish Constitution has meant a very important improvement in the framework of action of Public Administrations, by establishing the principle of budgetary stability at the highest legislative level, thereby anticipating European initiatives in this field.

The approval by the Council of Ministers of the Preliminary Draft of the Organic Law of Budgetary Stability and Financial Sustainability, will allow compliance with the constitutional mandate that said norm be approved before June 30.

Undoubtedly, good news has been the ratification in the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council of these general principles by all the Autonomous Communities.

In turn, the Government is aware of the financing difficulties that most Autonomous Communities face. That is why, as everyone will remember, last Friday, February 3, I reported at the press conference after the Council of Ministers on the Agreement of the Delegate Commission for Economic Affairs, on a line of direct financing to the Autonomous Communities by the ICO. This line endowed with 10,000 million euros, expandable to 15,000 million, will allow to meet the outstanding obligations with suppliers and those related to the maturity of financial debt.

In addition, you can tell them in advance, that the Delegate Committee of this week is expected to approve another ICO Line, to attend to the payment to suppliers, this time addressed to the City Councils.

As I was saying, budgetary stability is essential to regain confidence, but it can have contracting effects on activity in the short term. Therefore, the fiscal consolidation effort must be accompanied by structural reforms, and even more so in the current circumstances.

As you know, last Friday the Government approved the Royal Decree Law on the reform of the financial system, which sets in motion a process to clean up the balance sheets of financial institutions valued at fifty billion euros. This figure, which will be required in one go, represents a very substantial sanitation effort, the largest ever made at a European level.

With this reform, three basic objectives are pursued:

  • Better access by credit institutions to capital markets, and with this, put financial institutions in a good position to grant credit.
  • Facilitate the release of real estate assets held by financial entities to the market, with the consequent reduction in housing prices.
  • Promote a process of mergers and consolidation of the sector that leads to fewer entities, but more efficient and solvent and with better standards of economic governance.

Along with this, the Royal Decree Law regulates the remuneration of the directors and executives of the entities that have received financial aid from the FROB, distinguishing between the entities that have received financial support and the intervened entities. In this way, the European Directive on the matter and the conclusions of the last European Councils are complied with, also in line with the initiatives taken by other European countries.

On Thursday the 16th, I will have the honor of defending the validation of this Royal Decree in this same Chamber, for which I hope I can count on the favorable vote of your honor. The search for consensus in these reforms is vital to send a message of unity to Spanish society, to our European partners and to investors in general, who by granting us financing, are contributing to the sustainability of our economy.

Therefore, within the work plan of this Ministry, we are organizing visits to the most important financial centers in the world, in Europe, Asia and America, which I will carry out imminently. The objective is to explain to the main investors in the world, the reform plan of this Government and the new lines of economic policy that we are going to develop.

In addition to the Financial, another of the priority reforms will be labor, whose main objective is, logically, job creation and increased productivity. At this moment, before the Employment and Social Security Commission, the Minister of Employment, Mrs. Fátima Báñez, is appearing, who will undoubtedly dedicate all her efforts, like the rest of the Government, to ensure that the labor reform goes ahead with the greatest possible consensus, because the challenge we face is enormous.

It is not lost on anyone that the differential impact of the crisis in Spain is the dramatic situation of the labor market.

It is vital that in this reform we manage to bring the signing of agreements closer to the level of companies and thereby link salary increases to productivity gains.

During 2011, the agreements signed reached just over 6 million workers. The average increase in wages was 2.5%, a value above inflation. The truth is that this stocking hides two very different realities. On the one hand, there are the truly new agreements, which affected just over 1 million workers. In them the increase in wages was 1.6%, well below the average.

On the contrary, the rest of the signed agreements were reviews of multi-year agreements, which affected some 5 million workers. In this case, the salary increase was 2.7%, higher than inflation and above average.

It is vital to change this situation, which is an obstacle to job creation, to the competitiveness of our companies and therefore of our economy.

In short, it is about facilitating companies to adopt measures of flexibility in working conditions and internal reorganization that facilitate adjustments through the reordering of resources and not massive layoffs.

At the same time, employment policies will have to be reoriented to go beyond mere protection and improve employability and reduce the duality between temporary and permanent workers, by simplifying hiring formulas and promoting indefinite hiring.

The aim is to avoid that the adjustment falls mainly on temporary workers, which explains why the youth unemployment rate is close to 50%.

The salary agreement that has been reached with the social partners for the coming years is the best starting point for achieving reform with the greatest possible consensus.

Without a doubt, the structural reforms do not end here. There are other measures in which this Ministry will be heavily involved and that will promote administrative simplification, strengthen the competitiveness of our economy and enhance the unity of the national market.

In relation to regulatory bodies, the Vice President, in her appearance on the 24th, announced the creation of an inter-ministerial working group, in which the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness is represented. Based on this work, a proposal for a comprehensive reform of these organizations will be presented to the Council of Ministers in a very short time. The objective is to clarify competences to avoid overlaps and conflicts of competence, reduce the number of organizations, simplify their structure and operation, maintaining and increasing the professionalism, neutrality and independence of their members.

Support for entrepreneurs, as the Prime Minister has reiterated on numerous occasions, will be a priority for this Government and this Ministry. Those responsible for the Department that I lead will form part of an inter-ministerial working group that will carry out a Law that will address a wide range of measures to promote and finance new business initiatives and the development of the activity of SMEs and the self-employed.

The Minister of Industry in his appearance on the 31st presented some measures: fiscal incentives, streamlining of procedures for the creation of SMEs, mechanisms to reinforce access to financing through Enisa and Cersa and internationalization from the search for new markets.

All this will be complemented by new financing formulas, such as "seed capital", "business angels" and preferred financing lines.

This work plan and the measures we are adopting are fully in line with the initiatives that are being developed in the European Union to safeguard financial stability, strengthen the economic governance architecture and advance the convergence of our economies. These are measures that, ultimately, are aimed at restoring market confidence and improving the tools available to prevent a similar crisis from happening again in the future.

Within these initiatives, let me briefly detail the status of the work in which I have been participating:

1.- Regarding the improvement of economic governance in the European Union, especially in the fiscal area, two initiatives are being developed:

  • The first, the Stability, Coordination and Governance Treaty in the Economic and Monetary Union, also known as the Fiscal Pact, which was concluded on January 30 and will be signed in March. This Treaty will allow for closer coordination of economic policies and more effective government in the euro area. The main thing is that it will clearly strengthen fiscal discipline, contributing to an adequate and solid management of public finances, which will allow us to face one of the sources of financial instability in recent years. Thus, a fiscal “golden rule” has been agreed, which is a budgetary balance rule that will imply that the annual structural deficit of public administrations cannot exceed 0.5% of GDP. Furthermore, the Member States will have to converge towards their medium-term fiscal objective established in the Stability and Growth Pact, complying with the path established by the Commission, and in the event of deviations, an automatic correction mechanism will be activated.

It is important to highlight that the 17 Member States of the euro area and 8 non-euro member states will adhere to this Treaty, that is, all of the European Union except the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. Logically, Spain has supported this significant advance in fiscal and economic integration.

  • Secondly, the work on the two proposals for regulations of the European Commission to reinforce the fiscal and economic supervision of the countries of the euro area are already quite advanced, and it is expected that the new rules may be in force for the next budget cycle.

These rules will significantly strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the Member States' budget plans, creating additional monitoring mechanisms to guarantee the correction of excessive deficits. In this way, the Commission will be able to examine the key parameters of the budgetary orientation of the draft budget plans and, if necessary, adopt an opinion on those plans. In addition, it may request a revision of the draft budget plan if it determines the existence of particularly serious breaches of the Stability and Growth Pact.

On the other hand, those countries that suffer severe financial tensions will undergo reinforced economic and fiscal supervision to resolve this situation and protect the rest of the countries from contagion.

2.- Among the measures to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area, the following can be highlighted:

  • On the one hand, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which was signed last Thursday, February 2, and will enter into force next July. This Mechanism significantly strengthens the firewall tools of the euro zone, and therefore also confidence, providing financial assistance to the member states of the euro zone that require it, on the basis of strict conditionality. For this, it will have a wide range of instruments and an authorized capital of 700,000 million euros, to which Spain will contribute 83,326 million (according to our distribution quota, 11.9037%).
  • Secondly, the European Central Bank (ECB) is making an important contribution to the financial stability of the euro area, through the extraordinary liquidity measures it has been adopting and which it has reinforced in recent months, but also with the tone of its own monetary policy, once the absence of inflationary risks has been verified.
  • Finally, with regard to Greece, work continues to launch the new financial assistance program, according to the agreed parameters, and what I can tell you is that there is political will to make it as soon as possible, although there are still some difficulties.

3.- Among the initiatives to advance in the coordination of our economic policies, not only fiscal but also structural, we can mention the following:

  • The European semester, which started with the publication of the Commission's 2012 Annual Growth Report. The following 5 priorities are detailed in this report:
  1. Advance in fiscal consolidation, although in a differentiated way, depending on your national circumstances, and compatible with economic growth;
  2. Restoring financing to the economy,
  3. Structural reforms to promote growth and competitiveness in the short and medium term
  4. Address unemployment and other social consequences of the crisis,
  5. Modernize Public Administrations

These are, as you see, priorities that are fully consistent with the objectives and orientation of the economic policy of this government.

At the moment, the ECOFIN Council and other sectoral Councils are working on the basis of this report, with a view to the approval by the European Council at the beginning of March of the horizontal guidelines that all Member States will have to take into account when prepare our Stability Programs and National Reform Programs.

  • Along with the European semester, we continue to strengthen our commitment to policies aimed at growth, employment and competitiveness both at the level of the European Union and at the national level. In this area, it is worth highlighting the measures agreed during the last informal European Council on January 30 to promote growth and employment, especially for young people, complete the internal market, and boost the financing of the economy, especially for SMEs. . Furthermore, we will continue to implement the growth strategy of the European Union for this decade, the Europe 2020 Strategy. Also, together with the rest of the participants, we will continue to develop the Pact for Euro plus.
  • Many of these European initiatives to reinforce growth and competitiveness are discussed within the Competitiveness Council, which is, with ECOFIN, the other formation of the Council of the European Union in which this Ministry participates. Work in this area is focused on the future HORIZON 2020 program, which will develop European research and innovation policy in the Union's next multiannual financial framework. In said period, it is expected that this policy will strongly increase its endowment and the R + D + i Secretary of State is working to improve Spain's participation and returns in said policy.
  • Along with these works at the community level, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness also participates in the main international economic forums, representing Spain in the main financial organizations and institutions and in the work of the G20.

I will now refer to the general lines of the Secretary of State for Commerce.

Regarding internal trade, the commercial distribution sector is a fundamental sector for the Spanish economy. The Gross Added Value (GVA) of trade represented 12.2% of the total GVA of the Spanish economy.

It is also an important generator of employment with 2,951,200 employees, according to EPA data for the fourth quarter of 2011.

This sector is one of the most affected by the crisis since it has registered four consecutive years of falls. Retail sales were 17.4% lower in 2011 than in 2007, the highest in the series.

They are undoubtedly alarming data that require urgent action.

This sector will logically benefit from the structural reforms undertaken by this Government. In particular, the financial reform because right now small businesses do not have access to credit when they need it most; labor reform because small businesses need labor flexibility to adapt to the crisis; and the support policies for SMEs and entrepreneurs already announced, among others: the tax aid of € 3,000 for the hiring of the first worker, the bonuses for the hiring of young employees and the modification of the VAT regime for self-employed and SMEs they do not have to pay the tax until the invoices have actually been collected.

  • It is essential that the sector is favored by administrative simplification for the benefit of its activity.

The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness wants to put an end to the problem for small businesses of having to wait long periods for the administration's response in order to open their business.

For this, we are going to promote a Law that speeds up the opening of small commercial establishments. The Government will work with the Autonomous Communities and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities to promote the abolition of small business opening and construction licenses, which until now must be obtained prior to the start of commercial activity.

This Law will be promoted with the utmost respect for municipal and regional powers.

In fact, the Ministry, through the Secretary of State for Commerce, has had frequent contacts with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and with the representatives of the majority of the CCAA. Until now, everyone has shown a great willingness to collaborate in the achievement of this Law, for which reason we hope to make the elimination of previous licenses a reality as soon as possible.

Small merchants do not have access to credit right now which is when they need it most. For this reason, in addition to the structural financial reform, we are working on measures of a sectoral nature:

  • We will promote, through the Internal Trade Aid Fund, an ICO line accessible to small businesses, reducing the current investment requirements to access these credits so as to facilitate access by small businesses to this line of financing.
  • Another great objective that we have set ourselves is to promote market unity at the national level. The advantages of the European single market are undeniable. It has contributed enormously to the growth of trade flows and economic relations between all European countries.

However, within Spain, the Market Unit is sometimes hampered as a result of excessive regulation and its lack of uniformity and clarity, which causes an extra cost and uncertainty for companies and discourages foreign investment.

We will promote market unity so that any product or service produced under any autonomous regulations can be freely offered anywhere in Spain without the need for modification or additional processing.

All this will contribute to comply with the Services Directive 123/2006 / EC, which establishes the existence of a single license for the opening of a commercial establishment.

In the area of ​​Foreign Trade, the internationalization of the Spanish economy and companies is a priority for the Government, since the foreign sector must play a fundamental role in the economic recovery of Spain.

In addition to the policies specifically designed to support the internationalization of Spanish companies, the structural reforms that are being undertaken are fundamental to ensure the success of trade and investment abroad.

The labor reform is designed for the labor market to gain flexibility and companies to gain competitiveness, which is key for companies to succeed in a highly competitive and globalized world. On the other hand, financial reform is key for companies to regain access to the credit necessary to carry out their international activities.

The low number of companies operating in foreign markets still stands out. Around 109,500 companies export and only 39,600 can be considered regular exporters (they have exported for at least 4 consecutive years). The high concentration of Spanish exports in a few companies is also significant. The 50 largest companies accounted for 33% of total exports in the January-October 2011 period.

  • Therefore, our first objective in foreign trade policy will be to give priority to supporting the internationalization of SMEs. Con ello, contribuiremos a lograr un modelo productivo mejor, formado por empresas con una mayor propensión a innovar, más resistentes a los cambios de ciclo por la diversificación de sus mercados y que generarán efectos positivos en el resto del sistema productivo a través de la transmisión de capacidades y de su know-how.

Para conseguir este objetivo reorientaremos los programas de formación, promoción e información de la secretaría de Estado de Comercio y del ICEX de forma prioritaria hacia las Pymes.

También revisaremos los instrumentos de financiación exterior de los que dispone el Ministerio (FIEM, CESCE, COFIDES, FONPYME, CARI y la Línea ICOdirecto) y las optimizaremos al máximo para lograr facilitar el crédito a las Pymes que quieran emprender proyectos en el exterior.

  • Otro importante objetivo es incrementar la diversificación de nuestras exportaciones, ya que la oferta exportadora de España está muy concentrada en la Unión Europea.

Para conseguir este objetivo revisaremos y redefiniremos los Planes Integrales de Desarrollo de Mercados, por los que se seleccionan mercados prioritarios y se diseñan actuaciones, impulsaremos los Acuerdos de Libre Comercio de la Unión Europea con países emergentes y socios estratégicos (EEUU, MERCOSUR, Mediterráneos, India, etc.). Además, tendremos este objetivo en cuenta en las líneas orientativas 2012 del Fondo de Internacionalización de la Empresa (FIEM).

  • Otra prioridad en comercio exterior será aumentar la exportación de sectores de alta tecnología y valor añadido.

Las razones para ello es que tan sólo el 6% de los bienes exportados en España es de intensidad tecnológica alta. Para ello, potenciaremos el binomio innovación-internacionalización, lo cual se verá enormemente facilitado al haberse integrado las secretarías de Estado de Comercio y de I+D+i en el Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Se están estudiando ya acciones conjuntas del ICEX y del Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI). Un ejemplo es el programa Innovex, para la exportación de bienes de alta tecnología.

  • El Gobierno considera prioritaria la puesta en marcha de un plan general de marca España para mejorar la imagen global de la oferta española y posicionarla en un segmento de alta calidad, en un mundo globalizado y donde prima la diferenciación.

Desde este Ministerio pondremos a disposición del grupo de trabajo que ha constituido el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación sobre Marca España, las herramientas de las que disponemos, en especial, el ICEX. Entre otros, programas de Apoyo a Marcas Españolas; Planes de Marketing Macrosectoriales; Colaboración con la Asociación de Marcas Renombradas Españolas; Planes de imagen Made in/by Spain en mercados prioritarios (EEUU, Rusia).

  • Consideramos también prioritario apoyar con intensidad a las empresas españolas que participan en licitaciones en el exterior. Sabemos que estos proyectos tienen un gran efecto de arrastre exportador y de generación de empleo en España. Para lograr este objetivo, la red de Oficinas Económicas y Comerciales de la secretaría de Estado de Comercio se pondrán al servicio de los Ministerios sectoriales para que nuestras empresas consigan los mejores proyectos en otros países. Esta será una de las prioridades del Grupo de Trabajo Interministerial de Internacionalización, cuya primera reunión convocará el secretario de Estado de Comercio en breve.
  • Otra prioridad será la de racionalizar y modernizar las estructuras administrativas buscando más eficiencia y eficacia. Señorías, el desarrollo constitucional en España ha dado lugar a un sistema institucional de apoyo a la internacionalización complejo, con múltiples instituciones públicas insuficientemente coordinadas. Esta situación provoca confusión en las empresas, duplicidades y falta de evaluación global. Adicionalmente, es necesario también modernizar la administración buscando complementariedades, sinergias, ahorro de costes y mayores resultados.

Para ello, haremos efectiva la transformación del ICEX en Ente Público Empresarial, que le permitirá ser más ágil y flexible. En segundo lugar buscaremos complementariedades, sinergias y ahorro de costes, a través por ejemplo de la integración de INVEST IN SPAIN en el ICEX. Por último propondremos a las Comunidades Autónomas acciones integradas para evitar la confusión y las duplicidades en las acciones de apoyo a la internacionalización. Se convocará una reunión del Consejo Interterritorial de Internacionalización (CII), en el que participan las CCAA, la CEOE y el Consejo Superior de Cámaras, en breve.

  • Otra línea de actuación para ayudar a la internacionalización de la empresa española será la defensa de los intereses españoles en el marco de la política comercial de la UE y de la OMC. Para ello, apoyaremos el estrechamiento de los lazos comerciales y de inversión con los socios estratégicos de la UE (por ejemplo, EEUU), aceleraremos la aplicación provisional de los Acuerdos de Libre Comercio que la UE ha rubricado con Colombia, Perú y Centroamérica y promoveremos una conclusión equilibrada de la Ronda Doha de la OMC que aumente la libertad de comercio y favorezca el crecimiento.
  • Por último, señorías, potenciaremos la inversión extranjera en España, la cual ha reforzado históricamente el crecimiento económico de nuestro país. Nos ha ayudado a incrementar nuestra productividad, ha sido un factor de innovación y de internacionalización, y ha generado un gran volumen de empleo cualificado.

Las políticas estructurales y la mejora de la confianza internacional en España contribuirán a conseguir estos objetivos.

En el ámbito de la secretaría de Estado de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación, quiero destacar, en primer lugar, la relevancia que tiene el hecho de que sea haya integrado en este Ministerio la secretaría de Estado que tiene las competencias para que la ciencia, la creación de conocimiento y la innovación se pongan al servicio de la competitividad y de la generación de empleo.

El Sistema de ciencia, tecnología e innovación es la herramienta llamada a ser la clave para salir de la crisis. Su integración en este Ministerio garantiza que nuestros resultados científicos y nuestra capacidad de innovación se pongan al servicio del tejido productivo empresarial.

Para ello, en primer lugar, aumentaremos el valor social y económico de la I+D+i, potenciando una investigación dirigida a la resolución innovadora de los problemas a los que se enfrenta la sociedad, promoviendo la expansión del conocimiento. Crearemos redes y fortaleceremos la coordinación entre las instituciones de ciencia básica, las de innovación y los sectores productivos, para que todo lo que se realice en el campo de la innovación tenga un impacto real y no se pierdan esfuerzos. Formularemos una verdadera programación conjunta del gasto público en I+D de todos los actores del Sistema.

En segundo lugar, es imprescindible conseguir que el capital humano sea una pieza clave de la competitividad. Para lo cual, reforzaremos la carrera investigadora. Fomentaremos la penetración de los profesionales con cualificaciones científico-técnicas en el sector productivo, facilitando su movilidad. Y desarrollaremos políticas activas para apoyar que los científicos españoles investiguen en el exterior.

En tercer lugar, se reforzará la presencia de nuestros investigadores y empresas en los programas internacionales y relanzaremos la imagen de nuestro sistema de I+D+i. Aprovecharemos para ello los instrumentos de la Unión Europea e impulsaremos la investigación trasnacional, incluyendo la participación en grandes infraestructuras o programas multinacionales, que aporten al Sistema resultados científicos excelentes con rentabilidad social.

Para lograr estos objetivos, el Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad pondrá en marcha una serie de medidas. De ellas, una de las más importantes, es el desarrollo de la Ley de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación, que fue aprobada con un amplísimo consenso. Esta ley prevé la creación de la Agencia Estatal de Investigación, y la constitución de diferentes órganos de participación empresarial y de la Administración, a nivel Estatal y Autonómico que serán necesarios para aprobar los nuevos planes estatales de investigación científica y técnica y de innovación. Los Estatutos de la Agencia estarán disponibles antes del 2 de Junio, la fecha límite que establece la Ley.

  • En primer lugar, y en un necesario contexto de austeridad presupuestaria, racionalizaremos y reorganizaremos los recursos disponibles para el fomento de la I+D+i, eliminando duplicidades. Se utilizarán criterios transparentes y objetivos basados en la excelencia para la concesión de subvenciones, reduciendo al máximo las ayudas nominativas y fomentando las competitivas.
  • En segundo lugar, y puesto que es prioritario consolidar una comunidad científica y técnica profesionalizada, competitiva y abierta al mundo, mejoraremos durante este año las condiciones del contrato predoctoral; para lo que se dejará de utilizar la fórmula 2+2 –dos años de beca más dos años de contrato-. Según lo previsto en la Ley de la ciencia, a partir de junio de 2012, los investigadores predoctorales tendrán contratos de cuatro años.

El Sistema Español de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación ganará en atractivo con contratos de hasta cinco años que tendrán por objeto la investigación orientada a la obtención de un elevado nivel de perfeccionamiento y especialización.

Además, pondremos en marcha el contrato de investigador distinguido, para científicos de reconocido prestigio, con el objetivo de que realicen actividades de investigación o dirijan equipos humanos, centros de investigación, instalaciones y programas científicos y tecnológicos singulares de gran relevancia.

Seguidamente a la convocatoria del subprograma Formación de Personal Investigador se va a aprobar en las próximas semanas las demás convocatorias de recursos humanos.

Nos comprometemos a que durante estos años se asiente el respeto por los principios de igualdad, mérito y capacidad en los criterios de selección del personal investigador. También, a promover la movilidad geográfica e interinstitucional de los investigadores. Y, lo que es aún más importante, a mejorar la carrera investigadora, para que España se convierta en un destino preferente, como lugar de trabajo, para los investigadores españoles y los de todo el mundo. Apoyaremos la creación de las Comunidades de científicos españoles en el extranjero promovidas por las Oficinas de Asuntos Culturales y Científicos de la Embajadas de España.

Deseamos que la ciencia española comience a formar parte de la imagen internacional de España. Nuestra participación en los Programas Europeos de I+D+i y nuestra contribución en la construcción del Espacio Europeo de Investigación serán una parte muy importante.

  • Por tanto, y en tercer lugar, vamos a impulsar la participación de nuestras empresas, universidades y centros de investigación en el VII Programa Marco de investigación de la Unión Europea. Nuestro objetivo es incrementar los retornos en los últimos años del Programa y conseguir una cifra cercana a los 600 millones de euros en 2013.

Este año 2012 será importante también para posicionarnos adecuadamente en el siguiente programa, HORIZONTE 2020, para el que la Comisión propone un presupuesto de 80.000 millones de euros, lo que supone un incremento del 45% respecto a los programas actuales. Es una oportunidad que no debemos dejar pasar.

Además de estas medidas centradas en la UE impulsaremos la colaboración entre el Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial (CDTI) y el ICEX, como ya he comentado, para favorecer la internacionalización y la competitividad de nuestro sistema de I+D+i, así como para profundizar en relaciones de éxito como por ejemplo las que han dado lugar a la reciente adjudicación de importante contratos a consorcios españoles, como el de la línea de alta velocidad Medina-La Meca o el túnel bajo el Bósforo, y establecer nuevas relaciones económicas y comerciales en sectores de alto valor añadido. Esto contribuirá a la exportación de bienes y servicios de alta contenido tecnológico.

Por último, mejoraremos la participación privada en la financiación de la investigación, el desarrollo tecnológico y la innovación. El capital riesgo jugará un papel muy importante. Existen en este momento programas para la promoción de la creación y desarrollo de Pymes tecnológicas e innovadoras con alto potencial de crecimiento económico mediante actuaciones en capital riesgo.

Trabajaremos en la aprobación del Estatuto de la joven empresa innovadora, que tendrá que estar listo antes del 3 de diciembre de 2012, según la Ley de la Ciencia. Este Departamento trabajará en la posibilidad de aplicarles un tratamiento fiscal más favorable así como en sus cotizaciones a la SS por personal investigador y apoyo a través de la ley de mecenazgo.

Orientaremos la excelencia hacia la innovación empresarial, poniendo en valor las actividades de desarrollo tecnológico y de generación de patentes junto con la publicación de resultados científicos en la evaluación de los investigadores.

Actualizaremos la estructura de incentivos fiscales que potencien la inversión en I+D empresarial, con atención preferente a las empresas emergentes, las pymes innovadoras y los sectores prioritarios como salud, energía y transporte, conforme a las mejores prácticas europeas.

En definitiva, señorías, llevamos cuatro años de crisis y no ha habido ninguna otra economía tan castigada en el mercado de trabajo como la española, ni siquiera los países que han sido rescatados. Todo ello, ha sido consecuencia de la crisis financiera internacional pero, sobre todo, de nuestros desequilibrios macroeconómicos específicos.

No duden ustedes de que la política económica de este Gobierno está dirigida a corregir estos desequilibrios y a conseguir que la financiación, la competitividad y el equilibrio presupuestario vuelvan a ser una realidad, con el objetivo único e ineludible de crear empleo

Sabemos lo que hay que hacer, tenemos un plan claro y definido, y la determinación para llevarlo a cabo. Estamos convencidos de que si ejecutamos las medidas adecuadas España volverá a la senda del crecimiento y a tasas de empleo similares a las del resto de nuestros socios europeos. Ésta es la principal preocupación y empeño de este Gobierno y pueden estar seguros de que lo conseguiremos.

Señorías, este objetivo es un reto de todos. Por ello me pongo a su disposición para venir a esta Comisión las veces que sean necesarias para explicar las medidas emprendidas desde el Ministerio que dirijo. Cuento, por tanto, con las aportaciones y la colaboración de todos los grupos parlamentarios aquí presentes.

Thank you.

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