Council of Ministers

The Government of Spain promotes the use of the co-official languages in the field of technology and boosts basic digital training

Council of Ministers - 2022.11.15

Moncloa Palace, Madrid

The Council of Ministers has earmarked €7.5 million to finance the creation of a solid knowledge base in the co-official languages of the Spanish state to make their inclusion in technological applications attractive to the administration and companies.

The First Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Technological Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has framed these subsidies within the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) "New Language Economy".

Development of the PERTE "New Language Economy"

The First Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Technological Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, during her speech at the press conference after the Council of Ministers | Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

In Calviño's words, the PERTE on Language aims to "take advantage of the leverage of the 600 million Spanish speakers around the world so that we can promote the presence of Spanish and the rest of the co-official languages of our country in the new digital economy; that is, so that artificial intelligence thinks in Spanish, in Castilian and in the co-official languages".

The Vice-President of the Government of Spain highlighted its good progress, as the main programmes have now been implemented and almost 91% of the funds foreseen for the year 2022 have been executed.

These programmes include the "Spanish Language and Artificial Intelligence (LEIA)" programme of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), to ensure the correct use of Spanish on digital platforms; the Global Observatory of Spanish, within the Cervantes Institute; the digital platform for the certification of Spanish; the updating of the National Language Technology Plan; and the "Language Valley" project in collaboration with La Rioja.

The regional programmes to be funded with the grants approved today are aimed at the development of language processing resources and technologies in co-official languages and are called AINA in Catalonia, GAITU in the Basque Country, NÓS in Galicia and VIVES in the Valencian Community.

The entities that implememt them in the respective regions are the Consorcio Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación; the Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, through the Centro Vasco de Tecnología de la Lengua/Hizkuntza Teknologiako Zentroa (HiTZ); the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela/ Universidade de Santiago de Compostela; and the Universidad de Alicante/ Universitat d'Alacant, through the Centro de Inteligencia Digital (CENID).

UNICO 5G Programme

The Government has approved direct aid from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) to strengthen the ecosystem of excellence of research centres and universities in the field of cloud computing (€42.9 million) and for 5G technology and infrastructure for emergency services management (€14.9 million). Both projects are part of the UNICO programme on 5G connectivity and deployment.

The first project, UNICO R&D Cloud, will position Spain as a centre of excellence in the design and implementation of the future cloud of intelligent services. Nadia Calviño pointed out that Spanish research groups are already leading this field in Europe.

With regard to the project UNICO 5G EMERGENCIES to transform, strengthen and automate the management of emergency service responses, the vice-president explained that the first phase will be carried out through three pilot projects in the city of Madrid and in the regions of Valencia and Extremadura, with a view to later replicating and extending the results to the rest of Spain.

"We have chosen an autonomous community that is mainly rural with a low population density; a large, densely populated city with multitudinous events; and an autonomous community of an intermediate type, with high-density urban areas, rural and industrial areas and tourist areas with large seasonal population changes," he detailed.

Digital skills training

The Government Spokesperson and Minister for Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, during her speech at the press conference after the Council of Ministers | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

The Council of Ministers has adopted two agreements concerning digital training within the framework of the PRTR's 'National Plan for Digital Skills'.

The first will distribute €29.5 million to the autonomous communities and cities to create a network of 1,050 digital training centres. The priority target group will be people aged over 55 years with a low level of qualifications, although the actions to be developed may reach the entire population that is not in the formal education and training system. A total of 53,743 people are expected to be trained in the first year.

The government spokesperson and Minister for Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, stressed that the aim of these centres is to combat the digital divide, so that the people who attend them learn to use the technologies and "have no problem getting by in everyday life, in their relations with the public administration and banks and in all the procedures that are now digitalised".

The second agreement will provide training in digital skills for 6,000 professionals in the field of cultural heritage through the National University of Distance Education (UNED), which will receive a grant of €13.9 million for this purpose.

Strategy for the eradication of violence against children and adolescents

The government has approved the Strategy for the Eradication of Violence Against Children and Adolescents 2023-2030, which develops the Law for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents approved in 2021. Its content was agreed at the Sectoral Conference on Children and Adolescents.

The government spokeswoman stressed the importance of preventing violence among children and young people under the age of 18, "an issue that alarms and worries us". In 2021, more than 55,000 incidents and 21,521 notifications of child victims of violence were reported to the Unified Registry of Child Abuse (RUMI).

The strategy focuses on prevention, detection and early intervention in the education system, in the state security forces and also in families and society, so that these events "cease to be invisible and can be recognised", said Isabel Rodríguez.

70 new judicial units

The Executive has approved a Royal Decree for the creation of seventy new judicial units. The forecast is to reach a hundred in the next three years.

The government spokeswoman assured that this measure will speed up judicial activity and alleviate the litigation backlog, improving the service that the Administration of Justice provides to the public.

Economic situation report

Vice-president Nadia Calviño shared in the Council of Ministers the latest economic situation report, which confirms that the Spanish economy is maintaining strong and sustained growth that is even higher than previously expected. "Everything points to the Spanish economy growing by more than 4.4% in 2022".

Calviño reviewed some of the factors that are enabling this positive evolution, such as the performance of the labour market - historic numbers of social security contributors and the highest number of employed workers since 2008 - and the stability and quality of employment created since the labour reform, with more than one million permanent jobs created in the last year. She also highlighted the recovery of the tourism sector, the "biggest drop in the history of the public deficit to GDP ratio" and the meeting of the deficit and public debt reduction targets.

With regard to inflation, the data published today by the INE indicate that it has fallen by a third compared to July, standing at 7.3% in October, making Spain the country with the second lowest inflation in the euro area.

According to Nadia Calviño, another element that explains the good performance of the Spanish economy is the deployment of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. "Its reforms and investments are playing a key role in boosting activity and employment and strengthening confidence in our country".

In the first phase of the plan, Calviño underlined, more than €19 billion euros have been transferred to the autonomous communities; calls for tender, tenders and works amount to more than €2 billion euros per month; 11 strategic projects (PERTES) have been approved in key sectors for the modernisation of the productive fabric; and the calendar of reforms in areas such as employment, vocational training and the business climate is being complied with.

Spain has already submitted the third payment request to the European Commission and is expected to receive €37 billion in transfers from the EU budget by the beginning of 2023, more than half the total amount initially allocated to Spain. Calviño also recalled that an addendum to the plan is being finalised together with social agents, parliamentary groups and regional and local administrations.

Current Affairs

Isabel Rodríguez, during the press conference held at the end of the Council of Ministers meeting, referred to the bilateral meeting between the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jiping, within the framework of the G20 Summit, which they are attending in Bali (Indonesia).

"The President of the Government of Spain has appealed to the Chinese president to use his influence as a stabilising power to persuade Putin to end the war in Ukraine. They also spoke of the need to cooperate with and seek solutions to the consequences of this war, especially in the field of energy and the food crisis," he said.

Rodríguez also explained that Pedro Sánchez has expressed to Xi Jiping his desire that a boost be given to the EU-27's relations with China, as well as to bilateral relations, during the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2023. The year 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and China.

Non official translation