Council of Ministers

Government presents 2020 Progress Report on implementation of 2030 Agenda

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 14 July 2020

The Council of Ministers analysed the '2020 Progress Report', which examines Spain's implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals committed to in the 2030 Agenda.

The Minister for the Treasury and Government Spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, stressed that the document presented by the Second Vice-President of the Government, Pablo Iglesias, amounts to "a type of accountability to the public".

The report contains the measures adopted by the government, the regional governments and local authorities over the last 12 months, to move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes certain measures that have already been approved, such as the ban on dismissals for justified sick leave and the rise in the minimum wage, along with others approved in recent weeks, such as the Climate Change and Energy Transition Act.

The document also includes the actions to alleviate the health, economic and social consequences stemming from the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, among which María Jesús Montero cited the ban on cutting off essential supplies and the suspension of evictions, the approval of the Minimum Living Income, the benefits for the cessation of activity for the self-employed and the regulation of Temporary Lay-off Plans caused by force majeure, some of which were provided for in the social dialogue agreement.

María Jesús Montero underlined that the report states that the exit from the crisis caused by COVID-19 includes setting in motion public policies aligned with the 2030 Agenda. This means, she added, committing to investment and shielding such public services as healthcare, strengthening the care system, basically aimed at the most vulnerable groups, and strengthening industrialisation by boosting such measures as access to education for infants aged from 0-3.

Early response plan

The Minister for Health, Salvador Illa, reported to the Council of Ministers on the draft of the "Early Response Plan in a scenario to control the pandemic cause by COVID-19", which sums up, contains and orders measures adopted to tackle the disease in the current scenario and with a view to a possible increase in outbreaks in the future.

The Plan was conveyed on Monday to the regional governments for their contributions prior to its final approval by the Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System. Salvador Illa stressed that "the regional authorities play a leading role in controlling the pandemic.

The aim of the Plan is two-fold - to reduce the impact of the pandemic by strengthening rapid, opportune and effective interventions while preparing Spain's capabilities to respond to a potential increase in its spread.

Pillars of the document

The Minister for Health explained that if the epidemiological situation so requires coordinated actions regarding public health may be adopted that affect several regions, which will be debated and approved at the Inter-territorial Council.

Salvador Illa argued that detection and early response are key. To achieve that, the regional authorities must guarantee sufficient human resources; have contingency plans available; guarantee the adequate functioning of an early warning information system 24 hours a day throughout the year; ensure laboratory capacity with a view to a potential increase in the demand for diagnosis; and early identification while actively looking for cases.

The Plan establishes that the regional governments have a reserve of critical products to combat the disease that can cover needs for eight weeks. The government will also have a reserve equivalent to 25% of the total measured consumption declared by the regional authorities for two months.

The document establishes that the Health Alert and Emergency Coordination Centre (Spanish acronym: CCAES) will make a risk assessment in coordination with the corresponding regional government to evaluate the possibility of localised outbreaks and/or increases in the spread of the disease that include the activation of a rapid response.

The text also includes actions in specific environments, such as education centres, health centres, workplaces, in socially vulnerable populations and in places with a high concentration of people.

The Minister for Health specified that, since the de-escalation period began, 171 outbreaks have been notified, of which 120 are active which affect 2,139 people. "We are working fluidly with the regional governments and most of the outbreaks are under control".

Care for families and addressing child poverty

The government approved the distribution of loans for regional governments and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla for the implementation during a year of the Programme to Protect Families and Address Child Poverty, for a total sum of 100 million euros distributed in three blocks.

The Government Spokesperson specified that one block of 45 million euros, which does not require co-financing from the regional governments, will be allocated to projects that contribute to improving the social and labour situation of families with children in their care, families that are in a situation of severe material deprivation or at risk of poverty and/or exclusion.

Another block of 15 million euros is aimed at guaranteeing the basic right to food, leisure and culture of boys, girls and adolescents during the school holidays and at achieving a work-home balance. This will not require co-financing either.

The third block, with an allocation of 40 million euros, will be allocated to basic social services provisions though local authorities. In this case, the regional governments will provide financing to the selected projects, with an economic provision that is at least the same amount as that provided by the ministerial department.

Inclusion of gypsy people

The government also approved the distribution of 412,500 euros for the prevention, and to address the marginalisation and insertion of gypsy people, within the framework of the National Strategy for the Inclusion of the Gypsy People in Spain 2012-2020.

Subsidies for immigrants

The government authorised the call for proposals for subsidies for the sum of 24,650,000 euros, to develop actions on immigration designed to defend the human rights of migrants, and to foster co-existence and social cohesion.

María Jesús Montero specified that these funds will allow research projects to be developed, raise awareness and fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

Improvement in corporate governance for listed companies

The Council of Ministers approved, for its submission to Parliament, the Draft Law to Foster the Long-term Involvement of Shareholders of Listed Companies, which amends the Capital Companies Act and other financial laws.

The new law, explained María Jesús Montero, transposes a European Directive designed to improve the corporate governance of listed companies in the European Union and thus increase their possibilities of financing in the long term.

The draft law establishes that listed companies may identify their shareholders to induce their active participation and involvement in the development of the company. It obliges investment firms to publish their investment strategy in listed companies and regulates the information that must be included in the remuneration policy of the members of boards of directors.

The draft law also enhances transparency in all operations with related parties that may lead to conflicts of interest, and includes other measures geared to improving the competitiveness of securities markets.

According to the Government Spokesperson, the text will have positive repercussions on the sustainability of companies, the well-being of workers and the competitiveness of the markets.

Transfer of functions and services in Basque Country

The government approved three Royal Decrees on the transfer of functions and services to the Regional Government of the Basque Country.

María Jesús Montero remarked that the transfer of functions and services to implement employment law in managing benefits prior to ordinary retirement for workers affected by a termination process of labour relations on economic, technical, organisational or production grounds deriving from collective lay-off plans will be assumed by the regional government.

Secondly, the implementation of State legislation on pharmaceutical products relating to the evaluation and control of advertising and laboratory inspections will be transferred.

The resources assigned to the management of healthcare benefits from school insurance policies will also be transferred.

Current affairs

The Government Spokesperson recalled that the State ceremony in memory of the victims of COVID-19 will take place next Thursday at the Royal Palace Armoury in Madrid.

As regards the regional elections held in the Basque Country and in Galicia, María Jesús Montero congratulated the winners - Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Iñigo Urkullo - respectively, and offered to "collaborate in all actions that may be necessary in order to pursue the socio-economic reconstruction".

María Jesús Montero also underlined that the President of the Government is undertaking an intense international agenda "to forge the necessary consensus" prior to the European Council to be held on 17 and 18 July, which will address the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the Recovery Fund following the pandemic.

In fact, on Monday, he held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and on Tuesday with the German Chancellor, and on Wednesday he will hold meetings with the Swedish Prime Minister and with the French President.

The government, said María Jesús Montero, has argued that the exit to this exceptional crisis requires exceptional and urgent measures, and maintains that the economic reactivation must be founded on the main vectors that have always marked the agenda, such as the climate transformation, the digital agenda and European values.

The Government Spokesperson also reported that the Order for the preparation of the National Budget for 2021 has been signed. "We want the Budget to help in reactivating the economy, to make us more competitive, more sustainable and foster the adaptation of the productive fabric to the new realities of digitalisation and the ecological transition", she claimed.

María Jesús Montero also argued that the National Budget will enhance cohesion, social justice and equal opportunities, and will strengthen the public health system with sufficient resources to address any future situation.