The CEOE president is committed to public-private collaboration, digitization and social dialogue

The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, opted for public-private collaboration, digitization, legal security, social dialogue or training in the face of economic recovery, during the XVII Italy-Spain Dialogue Forum that was held today in Rome and which was organized by CEOE and the AREL Foundation. Together with them, the co-chairs of said Forum, Enrico Letta on the Italian side and Josep Duran i Lleida on the Spanish side spoke. The ceremony was closed, in which senior institutional officials and numerous representatives of the economic and business world of both countries, the President of the Government Pedro Sánchez and the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, Giuseppe Conte, participated. Within the framework of the event, representatives of CEOE and CONFINDUSTRIA held a meeting to strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially within the European Union.

International context

At the opening session, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, spoke, who focused on talking about the European response to the crisis and the geopolitical dimension in which we find ourselves. In this sense, he reported the expected fall in GDP worldwide of around 5%, and that it will be distributed very unevenly, since in Europe falls of between 10% and 15% are expected. In his opinion, both the Central Bank and the member states acted swiftly in the face of the crisis, going jointly to the financial markets and making non-refundable transfers to the countries. The important thing, he added, is to spend well the money that, in the face of recovery, will go mainly to digitization and climate change. Borrell spoke of the 3 B's: “Building Back Better”, To highlight the need to rebuild a better future, without reproducing the past.

The new geopolitical context, said the EU representative, is marked by two major scenarios: the development of Africa and its political systems, and the rivalry between China and the United States. The Asian giant will play a fundamental role in this new reality. The future of Europe, he indicated, will depend, to a large extent, on what it does with its soft powers (digitization, trade …). "We are facing a more unequal, freer, more digital world, in which democratic systems are questioned and multilateralism is ineffective," he declared. Furthermore, he insisted, "now we must all be Keynesians", increasing public spending to stimulate aggregate demand and thus increase production, investment and employment. The problem, he stressed, is that people are afraid and tend to save, which reduces consumption and, consequently, employment. In this new context, he stressed, responses will have to be built on the fly and not all countries are prepared to give the same answers. Regions like Latin America are facing a decade of lost growth, he said. On the other hand, Europe is very dependent on China, he reiterated, so it must promote digital transformation so as not to lose technological leadership. The future of Africa will also shape the international context, depending on whether it adopts more democratic or more totalitarian systems, he reported. Therefore, in the face of this "perfect storm", Europe must be more firm than ever in its principles and values, leveling the playing field with China, betting on dialogue and sustainability. “We must redefine our own path in the Sinatra way, that is, in my way”, He concluded.


In the opening session, the president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi; the co-chairs of said Forum, Enrico Letta on the Italian side and Josep Duran i Lleida on the Spanish side; and the ambassadors of Italy in Spain, Alfonso Dastis and of our country in Italy, Riccardo Guariglia.

The CEOE president, Antonio Garamendi, made a decalogue of recommendations for the economic recovery. In this sense, it opted for having a medium and long-term vision to carry out the necessary investments to make Spain a more competitive, resilient and sustainable country. The energy transition is essential to achieve this sustainability, he pointed out. Trust through legal security is essential, as well as consensus and social dialogue to reach agreements that help us get out of the crisis. A more flexible regulatory framework adapted to changes in the Spanish economy is essential, he stressed; And, in this context, public-private collaboration to improve efficiency and quality in the provision of public services, both in the field of education and health, as well as in the Infrastructure, is crucial.

Likewise, it considered a priority to preserve the productive fabric through measures that are working, such as ERTEs or public guarantee lines; and reindustrialization must be promoted to generate quality and better-paid employment. The objective must be, he stressed, to reach a weight of 20% of GDP. Innovation and digitization of the productive fabric, especially of small and medium-sized companies and the public Administration, are essential; as well as budget stability. We must have the necessary public spending in the short term to get out of the crisis, and return to a path of fiscal stability in the medium and long term. "It is important to spend well," he insisted. Finally, Garamendi emphasized equal opportunities and inclusive growth through training and education. "The priority is people and employment, this is the best formula for social inclusion," he said. Along these lines, he assured that we must not leave anyone behind in the recovery and in the energy and digital transformations.

The co-chairs of the Forum, Enrico Letta and Josep Duran i Lleida, insisted on fostering dialogue between the member states and the institutions to face the economic recovery. "We cannot face the problems alone, Italy and Spain must unite to face the difficulties, which are not only national, but also European," said Letta. For its part, Duran i Lleida, stressed that this is not the time to compete with each other, but rather to cooperate with the united countries, and to promote public-private cooperation. Every crisis brings with it an opportunity, he continued, but you have to know how to take advantage of it; "European integration is the answer to our problems."

The ambassadors of Italy in Spain, Alfonso Dastis and of our country in Italy, Riccardo Guariglia, advocated that competitiveness between countries be transformed into cooperation, “when Spain and Italy work together, it is not only better for both, but also for Europe. ”, They pointed out. They also reported that the population of the two countries represents almost a quarter of that of Europe, and their economies nearly 22% of that of Europe as a whole. Therefore, “unity is strength, and this forum is a win-win for everyone ”, they highlighted.

Common project

The Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, stressed that our relations are strategic for the future of Europe, and that together we are building the future of the European project, which is why it is crucial to strengthen harmony and cooperation between our countries. He also focused on the importance of Next Generation EU; of climate change; of economic stability; of European integration; and of concrete proposals for institutional reforms. Spain and Italy must collaborate united by our common interest, and for the sake of renewing the European Union, to face not only this, but also future crises, he insisted.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, in turn, opted to strengthen multilateralism based on strategic autonomy, reducing Europe's interdependence. He also pointed out four priority areas for this Region, which are health, mobility, global value chains and new technologies. In this sense, he assured that we need a stronger World Health Organization, with greater reaction capacity and better financed; shorten the value chains, which are closer, but based on an open trade system with adequate regulations; betting on technology, setting specific standards, with fairer taxation and better digital governance; and promote sustainability in all its aspects. “This forum is a perfect occasion to boost our economic, commercial and investment relations; and to achieve that quarter of the united European population transform the vanguard of Europe in the post-Covid era ”, he declared.


Within the framework of the forum, the CEOE vice president, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, held a meeting with the highest representatives of CONFINDUSTRIA, to promote and foster our bilateral relations; as well as within BusinessEurope (European employers' association), in order to further address common interests, including European industrial policy. During the meeting, in which the general director of CEOE Internacional, Narciso Casado, also participated, they opted for dialogue between countries, permanent cooperation between institutions, and for defending multilateralism, with the aim of building a more cohesive and resilient Europe .

Italy-Spain Dialogue Forum

Since 1999, the Spain-Italy Dialogue Forum regularly brings together relevant personalities from politics, business, and Spanish and Italian civil society, with the aim of guiding and strengthening collaboration between both countries.

In this edition, in addition to those already mentioned above, the Vice President of the Government and Minister of the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera; the Italian Minister of the Environment, Sergio Costa; the European Commissioner for Foreign and Monetary Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni; the vice president of CEOE, Josep Sánchez Llibre; and representatives of important European institutions and CEOs of companies from both countries. During the day, all of them debated about the great themes of the Next Generation EU; of innovation and digitization, as the main engines of European renewal; and boarded the Green New Deal, to face the challenge of sustainability in Europe.

The closing of the Forum, which will take place this afternoon, will be carried out by the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, Giuseppe Conte.

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