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The current crisis is one of unknown adversity, with the aggravating circumstance that the uncertainty about the development of adequate treatments or vaccines for the disease makes it difficult to envision its future consequences for the economy and society. In Spain, the situation is especially difficult due to our productive specialization in the proximity and mobility sectors that are the most affected, due to the greater presence of SMEs with a small medium size, which are companies more vulnerable to the crisis and due to the longer duration and intensity of the restrictions on activity and mobility that is taking place in our country.

Unlike the previous crisis, the European institutions have reacted promptly and correctly, and common responses have been proposed by the EU, which transcends the one applied individually by each Member State. A response that has been reflected in a series of measures that have been gaining in intensity and ambition as we learned about the severity of the crisis and that initially had its most visible face in the ECB's willingness to assume full responsibility to cover the financing needs of governments and companies, but whose best culmination has been the European Recovery Plan.

From the first weeks of the crisis, CEOE advocated demanding the implementation of a clear, ambitious and coordinated EU recovery plan that would contribute to improving confidence and investment capacity. A European fiscal stimulus was called for, capable of mobilizing resources to support the States, while new instruments should be deployed, in accordance with the extraordinary nature of the crisis. For this purpose, and after seeking alliances and consensus, we managed to get Business Europe, the European confederation of employers' associations in which we participate, to raise the need for this initiative for European companies with the European Commission.

The approval of the strengthening of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and especially of the European Recovery Plan is great news that all Spaniards have to rejoice about and that CEOE is proud of its participation and that is why it has to be especially in value. The amount of funds that globally exceed 1.8 trillion for the next few years, constitutes the largest economic response given so far in Europe. As a consequence, monetary policy is no longer the only common instrument for responding to the crisis and this recovery fund, a priori conjunctural, can become the embryo of a new tool for Community economic policy of a budgetary nature.

For the first time, the European Commission will go to the markets to obtain financing worth 750,000 million, the amount of the total program of the Recovery Plan. This will undoubtedly prevent the consequences of the crisis from being assumed and that it would have serious repercussions on the most indebted States, increasing their vulnerability to episodes of international crisis. Finally, it is worth noting the speed with which the agreement has been reached, taking into account the divergence of initial positions.

Spain has around 140,000 million euros in total, of which 72,700 million will be in the form of aid and the rest through loans. This plan is an opportunity to accelerate the structural transformation of our productive fabric and modernize Europe, since it wants to prioritize, among others, projects related to the energy and digital transition, training and innovation. As a result, our economy will be able to increase our long-term growth potential, through having more competitive and resilient companies in the face of the crisis.

CEOE wants to be an active part of this historic opportunity, by setting up the Technical Support Office for European Projects. The objective of this office is none other than to provide technical support to companies to make the most effective use of the resources from the European Recovery Plan that they have designated for Spain. I have already advanced that one of our requests is that projects that are susceptible to public-private collaboration or co-financing should be strengthened both to mobilize a greater volume of investments, and to ensure that these investments respond to real needs for the future.

Within the framework of the EU Agreement on the European Recovery Fund, the design and approval of the General Budgets for 2021 is of vital importance, after the doubly extended ones in force, far removed from current needs. New budgets may be necessary to make it easier for planned European resources to arrive and be used properly. In order to have these funds available without limitations, everything indicates that we are going to have to comply with a certain implicit conditionality. In this context, economic policy can help improve business confidence, if it is reoriented to create a more favorable business climate by committing to avoid any type of tax increase and maintaining the reforms that have worked well over time.

Faced with a crisis like this, there can be no other priority, no matter how legitimate, than to accelerate economic normalization. Given this, the next budgets should be better, with a high degree of credibility and efficient, the greater consensus they seek and here the framework of social dialogue can pave the way for political agreements, reaching meetings. It is true that the European Recovery Plan is a unique opportunity that highlights our membership of the EU and constitutes a crucial step forward in the process of European integration. Europe has given a clear show of solidarity, but Spain's turn is now that of our collective responsibility.



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