Council of Ministers

Government allocates more than 215 million euros to improve railway network

Friday 26 July 2019

The Council of Ministers authorised the public tender, through the Railway Infrastructure Administrator Adif, of the maintenance contract for safety installations on the conventional railway network, for an estimated sum of 95.87 million euros (excluding VAT).

The contract has a completion time of three years and includes the preventive maintenance works on the safety installations, as well as actions to improve and supply spare parts.

The Acting Vice-President of the Government, Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality, Carmen Calvo, underlined that during the worst years of the economic crisis, the lack of investment led to a significant deterioration in some equipment, which now needs to be improved.

Other railway improvements

Carmen Calvo also highlighted that the government has approved the public tender, through Adif, of the contract to modernise the Barcelona commuter network.

The estimated value of the contract amounts to 98.11 million euros (excluding VAT) and seeks to improve the capacity and conditions of reliability, quality and efficacy of the service on the stretches from Manresa to Barcelona on line R4 north and from Barcelona to Santi Vicenç de Calders on line R2 south.

The government also authorised the public tender of the contract, for the value of 21.57 million euros (excluding VAT) to eliminate the signalling block system on the metric gauge line between the stations of Asunción Universidad (Leon) and Guardo (Palencia).

An automatic signal block system controlled by remote control will be installed at the Centralised Traffic Control Post, thus offering greater capacity to the line and improving the reliability of the installations.

The government also allocated more than 43 million euros to supply fuel for railway transport during the first nine months of 2020.

The Acting Vice-President of the Government stated that these actions will contribute to continued progress on the mobility of people, goods, services and merchandise, and to enhance the "sound sustainability of the Spanish economy".

Other agreements

Pool Moncloa/José María CuadradoRegarding education, the government authorised the modification to the limit on spending to permit the round of proposals for grant and study aids for Spanish inter-university master's degree students in diplomacy and international relations.

It also approved the official recognition of 14 undergraduate degrees, 54 master's degrees and 4 doctorates, which will be valid throughout the country.

On another note, the fund allocated to infrastructures and services under the Autonomy and Long-term Care System (Spanish acronym: SAAD) will be extended to social services projects.

Current affairs

At the start of the press briefing following the Council of Ministers, the Acting Vice-President of the Government mentioned the four latest murders of women who have been victims of gender-based violence and the death of an 11-year old boy. In this regard, she pointed out that institutions and public authorities "must make a much greater effort in policy and regulatory management" to protect minors above any other circumstance, question or consideration.

In this regard, she recalled that the caretaker government proposed on numerous occasions the possibility of a review of the visit regime which, in the case of separated or divorced parents, may endanger the safety of minors.

Ready for Brexit

Carmen Calvo also expressed the government's concern at a possible hard Brexit on 31 October. However, she recalled that the caretaker government has adopted preventive measures in relation to the interests of Spanish citizens that are resident in the United Kingdom and those of British citizens resident in Spain.

Strength of the economy

On economic matters, the Acting Vice-President of the Government described as "very reassuring" the figures from the Labour Force Survey published on Thursday, which shows that the number of people in work in the second quarter of the year amounted to almost 20 million and that, for the first time the number of women in work increased more than the number of men, added to which the unemployment rate has now fallen to 14%.

Future Government of Spain

Pool Moncloa/José María CuadradoCarmen Calvo reiterated that the caretaker government maintains "the same enthusiasm, commitment and capacity for work" and will continue to strive to offer a response to issues of Spanish and international politics that require this.

As regards the failed investiture of the Acting President of the Government and candidate to the Presidency of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the Acting Vice-President of the Government called for responsibility from the leaders of other political formations to avoid fresh elections in November.

Carmen Calvo claimed that the Acting President of the Government will address them, not as the candidate, which he no longer is, but "out of responsibility" to explore new ways to reach an agreement following the decision by Unidas Podemos to reject a "reasonable, balanced and feasible" offer to inaugurate a new political era.

Non official translation