Council of Ministers

Government of Spain presents the future law on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 11 January 2022

The Council of Ministers has addressed the draft bill on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity, which aims to make Spain an international benchmark for a new model of cooperation. The future regulation updates the current one, in force since 1997, and is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris climate change agreements and other international instruments.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, explained that the text reflects the values of Spaniards in the fight against inequality, poverty and environmental crises, and defends gender equality, human rights and democracy. It also positions Spain as a more dignified country within the international community.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaAlbares stressed that the law gives legal status to the commitment made by Spain within the United Nations and the European Union to allocate 0.7% of Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance by 2030 and establishes multi-annual planning based on budget availability. In this regard, the minister recalled that the General State Budget for 2022 increases development aid by almost 400 million euros and makes up for a decade of setbacks in this area.

The future law also establishes a more agile and effective financial cooperation between all the administrations that provide official development aid: General State Administration, Regional Governments, local entities and city councils.

José Manuel Albares also stressed that the text presented today strengthens the governance of the cooperation system, improves transparency and promotes accountability. To this end, a Higher Council for Cooperation is created; a Sectoral Conference with the Regional Governments and Local Entities, as a space for coordination, and the existing Interministerial Committee, which will be attended by the Secretaries of State, is elevated to a higher level.

Furthermore, in the minister's opinion, the law opens up "a far-reaching reform of the cooperation system", by developing a new statute for the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID), a new statute to dignify the work and careers of aid workers, and a new instrument for financial cooperation with a regulatory framework for grants adapted to the specificities of international cooperation.

The Sahel appears, for the first time, as a priority region for Spanish cooperation and the traditional areas are maintained, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Aid will also be reinforced in the event of unforeseen crises, such as those in Afghanistan, Haiti and the typhoon in the Philippines.

On the other hand, the minister affirmed that Spain is making a major effort to donate vaccines and has committed a total of 50 million doses: "Development cooperation is an investment in welfare and an investment in the future.

Annual Regulatory Plan 2022

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Council of Ministers has approved the Annual Regulatory Plan (ARP) containing the legislative or regulatory initiatives that it intends to promote and approve throughout 2022. Specifically, there are 368 proposals, of which 92 are laws and the rest royal decrees.

The Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Democratic Memory, Félix Bolaños, highlighted the fact that the Plan has been approved at the first meeting of the Council of Ministers of the year, when the legal forecast is that it can be done during the first four months of the year: "It gives a clear idea of the Government's plans to continue deepening economic growth and improving the living conditions of Spaniards".

Green transition, digitalisation, cohesion and equality

Bolaños pointed out that 40% of the laws and 61 of the regulations included in the ARP are linked to the four cross-cutting axes of the Spanish Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan drawn up by the Government and approved by the European Commission, for which funds amounting to 10 billion euros have already been received.

These axes are ecological transition, digital transformation, social and territorial cohesion and gender equality and constitute "the roadmap for a fair recovery", he said.

In relation to the first axis, the ARP includes the draft laws on the CAP management system, sustainable fisheries, nuclear energy and the use of energy from renewable sources in relation to mobility and transport.

On digitalisation, Bolaños stressed the importance of the future laws on Science - to "guarantee an attractive and stable research career" -, on Industry, on guaranteeing 5G communications networks and services, and on the creation of a statute for start-ups for students, with the aim of helping to consolidate business projects that have arisen during vocational training or university education.

In cohesion, the minister focused on the Housing Bill, which will soon be approved: "It aims to encourage affordable rents, benefits to tenants and landlords with tax breaks and will make it easier for young people to rent housing.

Other important pieces of legislation will be the Law on Equity, Universality and Cohesion of the National Health System, which will guarantee its public management and the definitive elimination of co-payments, and a new law on social services.

With regard to territorial cohesion, the minister announced a law to improve the collaboration of public administrations and the organisation of smaller municipalities, which aims to ensure that the same rights and services are enjoyed everywhere in the country.

To promote equality and non-discrimination, the ARP includes a Law against Racism and Other Forms of Intolerance, the reform of the Law on Integral Protection against Sex-based Violence, a Law on Trafficking to put an end to sexual exploitation and the transposition of a European Directive on the reconciliation of professional and family life.

A fifth axis includes the regulations for democratic regeneration and improvement of the quality of democracy, such as the Law on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector and the incorporation, in the current Transparency Law, of a regulation on relations with stakeholders.

Recognition of the inhabitants of La Palma

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Executive has approved an institutional declaration of recognition to the citizens of the Canary Island of La Palma for their exemplary behaviour during the volcanic eruption which, after 85 days, ended in December: "In the name and on behalf of all the Spanish people, we want to recognise the people of the island for their fortitude, their solidarity and their sense of civic duty and how they have faced this catastrophe".

The minister expressed the Government of Spain's absolute commitment to the reconstruction of the island and praised the work of collaboration and cooperation that is being carried out with all the public administrations "with the sole priority that, as soon as possible, the inhabitants of the island can recover their plans for their lives".

The Government, he recalled, has already mobilised 250 million euros and the forecast is to reach 442 million. In addition to these amounts, other amounts that may be established by the regional, island or local governments will be compatible.

Bolaños assured that they are working "at the fastest pace ever known in the history of the administration" to grant all the aid quickly and swiftly, although he acknowledged that it is understandable that for those affected, any deadline may seem too long.

Housing and employment

Bolaños explained that, in relation to aid for the loss of housing, 79 applications have been approved for 4.2 million euros, half of which have already been paid. The aid amounts to 60,000 euros for each affected person. Housing has also been provided to 39 people who lost their homes, and another 104 houses have already been prepared, as well as prefabricated modular housing, which will begin to be delivered next week.

For their part, the Insurance Compensation Consortium has paid out 80 million euros to 592 individuals or legal entities for housing, businesses or farms, with an average amount of 154,000 euros.

The banana sector has received 13.5 million euros, and the livestock sector half a million euros. There are 1,300 workers subject to ERTEs and 670 self-employed are receiving a benefit due to their activity ending.

Finally, the minister recalled that there is a specific Employment Plan underway for the island that will invest 63 million euros and could reach more than 1,600 people.

Government objectives

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaDuring her appearance at the press conference following the Council of Ministers, the Minister for Territorial Policy and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, stressed that the Government is starting the year by tackling structural reforms with planning in order to focus on the second part of the legislature.

The spokesperson pointed out that the last two years have been marked by the management of the pandemic and innovation in economic management with mechanisms such as ERTEs. Moreover, Spain has led the EU's response to the COVID-19 crisis and was the first country to present its reform plan and one of the first to receive European funds to alleviate the crisis.

Isabel Rodríguez added that the Executive is tackling the country's second modernisation and transformation process - the first was Spain's accession to the European Union - with the largest public funding in history and with determination to improve citizens' quality of life.

On the other hand, the spokesperson expressed, on behalf of the Government, her condolences on the death of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. He was a person, she said, with whom "we shared Europeanist values and who has contributed to consolidating this European project with determination and passion".

Non official translation