Council of Ministers

Government to finance extra pension payment from increase in revenue from contributions

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Friday 15 November 2019

The Council of Ministers approved a Royal Decree-Law on measures relating to the budgetary performance of the Social Security system, whereby a credit extension is authorised charged to the increase in revenue forecast over and above the Budget set for 2019, which was extended from 2018.

The Acting Minister for Work, Migration and Social Security, Magdalena Valerio, explained that salaries have been raised in the last year - following collective bargaining agreements - and the number of people in work and National Insurance contributor numbers have also risen. Consequently, she underlined, contributions to the Social Security system have risen by around 8%.

Magdalena Valerio also pointed out that the government has raised pensions and social benefits, something that was not contained in the Budget, and hence the Royal Decree-Law includes both these aspects with the appropriate accounting annotation to balance spending and revenue.

The legislation approved on Friday will mean the allocation of the increase in revenue from contributions, expected to be seen throughout the year, the settlement of the extra payment that almost 9 million pensioners receive in November, and their ordinary payment in the month of December.

Magdalena Valerio also highlighted that the extended Budget provides for a State transfer to the Social Security system of 1.33 billion euros, in addition to the 600 million contained in the text approved on Friday. The acting minister remarked that the State has issued less debt and the interest paid on the existing debt was lower than in previous years, and hence there is an outstanding balance that allows this transfer to be made.

Pension "piggy bank"

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaMagdalena Valerio also reported that in order to settle the pending pension payments for 2019, the government has to resort to the Social Security Reserve Fund.

This fund has a limit of 5 billion euros, of which the government can draw down a maximum of 3.6 billion, as established in the General Social Security Act.

The acting minister reiterated that if contributions in November and December are as high as in the rest of the year, it will not be necessary to draw down the maximum amount. "What is essential is that our pensioners receive their monthly payment, and their extra payment on time, as usual", she said.

130 million euros for education cooperation with regional governments

The government ratified the agreements from the Education Sector Conference on 21 October to distribute close on 130 million euros in different programmes involving educational territorial cooperation with the regional governments.

The Acting Minister for Education and Vocational Training, and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Celaá, explained that the Territorial Cooperation Programme for Orientation and Backing for Progress and Support in Education (formerly PROEDUCAR) will receive 81.3 million euros and another 48.5 million euros will go towards financing textbooks and learning materials.

18.8 million euros in subsidies to attract foreign researchers

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe government approved the call for 100 Beatriz Galindo subsidies to attract both Spanish researchers that have pursued their professional career in other countries and foreign researchers to Spanish universities.

The economic provision for these subsidies, which is structured through research contracts with public universities, amounts to 18.8 million euros and its aim is to "repatriate and attract talent", said Isabel Celaá.

'Avenir' university programme between Spain and France

The government will encourage the mobility of young people of French-Spanish or French nationality that wish to carry out graduate or post-graduate university studies in Spain.

Accordingly, the 'Avenir' programme of the Dialogue Association for Spanish-French Friendship is extended to both countries, which already promoted young Spaniards spending a year studying or on work experience in France, explained the Acting Government Spokesperson. This Association will receive a subsidy of 25,000 euros.

Contract for maintenance of Guardia Civil helicopters

The Council of Ministers authorised a contract for the maintenance and revision of helicopters belonging to the Guardia Civil Air Service for a period of two years, with an estimated value of 23.2 million euros.

Isabel Celaá explained that these helicopters are used on police missions and different services, including "the surveillance of the coastline and borders, the persecution of drug trafficking and the protection of the environment", in addition to rescue operations, evacuations and organ transport.

Subsidies for entities that develop environmental actions

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe government will grant subsidies for the sum of 367,280 euros to seven institutions that carry on actions to promote the environment, natural heritage, bio-diversity and the fight against climate change.

These beneficiary entities are the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (Spanish acronym: FEMP), the Association of Municipalities with Land in National Parks (Spanish acronym: AMUPARNA), the Local Council of la Granja de San Ildefonso, the Spanish Ornithology Society/BirdLIFE, Ecologists in Action, WWF-Adena and the Bearded Vulture Foundation for conservation actions, Proyecto Life + the Bearded Vulture Network.

Other agreements

  • Subsidy of 150,000 euros to the ANAR Foundation (Aid to at risk children and adolescents) to manage its hotline service 116-000 "Direct line for cases of missing children".
  • Subsidy of 150,000 euros to the Youth Sport Foundation, involved in promoting physical activity, healthy habits among children and young people, and education in values through the practice of sport.

Weekly assessment

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Acting Government Spokesperson positively rated the concord between the Acting President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the President-elect of the European Council, Charles Michel, at their meeting on Thursday in Moncloa Palace. "They are both committed to a strong European Union that plays a greater role in world affairs".

Isabel Celaá precisely stressed the role of Spain as a gateway between Europe and Latin America in relation to this week's trip by the King and Queen to Cuba on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the founding of its capital city, Havana.

Isabel Celaá recalled that the two main aims of the visit by the Head of State were to "step up the ties uniting the two countries and to offer support to Spanish business owners" established there, and to remind the Government of Cuba that "democracy, liberty and human rights and respect for the rules of free trade are key to ensuring a peaceful future.

Lastly, the acting minister congratulated the Cervantes Prize-winner for 2019, Joan Margarit, and referred to his works in Catalan and Spanish as an invitation to co-existence, "because co-existence requires much more poetry and much less fire".

Non official translation