Council of Ministers

Government allocates more than 146 million euros to integration of immigrants and applicants for international protection

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Friday 13 December 2019

The Council of Ministers authorised the round of proposals for subsidies to integrate immigrants, applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, those who are Stateless or under temporary protection orders for a sum of 146.5 million euros. It also approved an additional amount of 25 million euros from European funds to finance supplementary actions.

These subsidies will be allocated to strengthen the national system for the reception and integration of these groups. This year, some 30,000 people have been attended to, compared with 18,000 in 2018.

The Acting Minister for Education and Vocational Training, and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Celaá, explained that places previously allocated to attend to immigrants that were not asylum-seekers or refugees that have become free have also been included, given that illegal immigration has dropped in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Resettlement and relocation of refugees

Pool Moncloa/JM CuadradoThe government agreed to distribute 1.7 million euros among all the regional governments and the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla to contribute to financing certain complementary healthcare actions for applicants and beneficiaries of international protection. The criteria for distribution were agreed by the Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System on 14 October.

Healthcare assistance for refugees is guaranteed by the regional health services, but not other actions such as obtaining medical certificates, hiring the services of interpreters, cultural mediators or the transfer of those resettled, which may henceforth be financed.

Healthcare and bone marrow donation programmes

The government also approved the distribution of more than 24 million euros among regional governments and the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla to finance healthcare cohesion policies, continuous training in the rational use of medication allocated to doctors, nurses and inspectors under the National Health System and to develop the National Bone Marrow Donation Plan.

The distribution of the funds will be made by a fixed economic allocation to each regional government, and another variable allocation distributed proportionally according to the size of the population, as agreed by the Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System on 14 October.

This agreement means almost 23.1 million euros will be distributed among programmes to improve the quality of pharmaceutical care for chronic patients, polymedicated patients, programmes to promote health and the prevention of disease and to the development of electronic prescriptions.

The agreement also provides for the allocation of almost 1.2 million euros to improve all aspects related to the donation and transplant of bone marrow and to maintain donor numbers.

Isabel Celaá claimed "this is a contribution that the pharmaceutical industry makes to the National Health System according to turnover".

Subsidies for historical heritage

Pool Moncloa/JM CuadradoThe government authorised the Ministry of Public Works to call a round of proposals to grant aid to conserve and enrich Spanish historical heritage charged to the 1.5% Culture programme for a maximum sum of 61 million euros. 20.5 million euros will be paid out in 2020 and 40.5 million in 2021.

The round of proposals, which will be published in the next few weeks, provides for a co-financing model with the holders of general interest assets, which is expected to mobilise a total investment of more than 91.5 million euros to undertake more than 100 actions distributed around Spain.

The Acting Government Spokesperson recalled that the Ministry of Public Works manages, together with the Ministry of Culture, the funds for this programme, which contributes 1.5% of the amount allocated to public works, to recover and enrich the historical, cultural and artistic heritage of the people and goods that make up this programme.

Extension for servicemen on international missions

The government extended until 31 December 2020 the participation of units of military observers on overseas operations. The extension had already been approved by Parliament and responds to the commitments taken on by Spain with the United Nations, the European Union and NATO.

Isabel Celaá clarified that the extension does not contemplate any new missions, and hence the same number of personnel will be maintained as at present, some 2,800.

Brexit with Withdrawal Agreement in January 2020

In her summary of the weekly current affairs, the Acting Government Spokesperson underlined that the government has congratulated the Conservative candidate Boris Johnson for his victory on Thursday in the general elections in the United Kingdom, in which he obtained an absolute majority.

The Acting Government Spokesperson stated that this "historic" result, as well as allowing the new Cabinet to "govern comfortably", clarifies the outlook of Brexit, since it brings to an end the political difficulties to culminate the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union with an agreement on 31 January 2020. Isabel Celaá recalled that Spain has always advocated an orderly withdrawal.

Pool Moncloa/JM CuadradoThe acting minister recognised that the fact that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union makes "it more necessary than ever to reflect on the future of Europe".

In this regard, she claimed, Spain is not in favour of economic cuts in the European Union, but rather of "committing to a new and more ambitious financial framework".

The Acting President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, maintained this position at the European Council and the Euro Summit held on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, at which the new scenario caused by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU was addressed.

Fight against climate change at European Council and COP25

Isabel Celaá very highly rated the agreement reached by the European Council committing to a carbon-neutral European Union, with a net level of zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.

The Acting Government Spokesperson called for the maintenance of this "ambition" in the fight against climate change and expressed the "pride" of the Government of Spain over its contribution to this task by organising the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change (COP25). "Madrid has become the specific vehicle for the global clamour to take decisions right now".

Isabel Celaá thanked the public authorities that took part in the COP25 for their hard work and conveyed the congratulations from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres and from the European Council.

Pedro Sánchez, candidate for the investiture

After accepting the commission from King Felipe VI on Wednesday to form a government, Pedro Sánchez is now "the formal candidate for the investiture", said Isabel Celaá.

The Acting Government Spokesperson highlighted the candidate's proposal to begin a round of meetings next week with the different parliamentary groups, regional presidents and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces with the aim of seeking their "positive and responsible" involvement in the governability of Spain. "We need dialogue with everyone and between everyone, because each one of them and each institution counts".

Non official translation