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Press briefing by President of the Government to present Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Wednesday 7 October 2020

PEDRO SÁNCHEZ, President of the Government,

Good day, firstly I would like to thank the presence by video-conference of the business community, of the workers' representatives in our country, and also the scientific community, people from the world of culture, and also clearly the presence of the ambassadors of the 27 Member States of the European Union with a representation in our country.

I would also like to thank the Council of Ministers for the very hard work it has done over these last two months, the results of which we will present to Spanish society today.

In 1978, the year of our Constitution, Spain was a country yet to be defined. Instability and uncertainty were the predominant features of the time. And the economic situation was far from rosy. Spain, like the rest of the Western world, was discovering the combination of two economic effects that had not occurred simultaneously until that time, and which then unfolded on a major scale - firstly, inflation, and secondly, unemployment.

Our inflation back then stood at a rate of around 20%. And seven years later, it was still as high as 8%. The unemployment rate rose from 7.1% in 1978 to 17.8% in 1985; in other words it rose by more than 10 points. These were tough years, above all, our elderly folk know this well; they remember this well. It wasn't easy to face this dual challenge or this economic outlook. And less still at a time of extraordinary political and institutional uncertainty, including an attempted coup d'état.

It was in 1978 when the first version of Personal Income Tax was created in Spain - a tax justice tool that we had lacked until then. Spain, as you can see, as we remember, was yet to be defined and built. Institutionally, politically and also economically. And it was clearly looking to Europe because this is a pro-European country, although unfortunately we were not a European member back then.

What came after is a collective success story, with the first modernisation of our country. The history of a country project headed up by those who were the true players - the people and institutions of our country.

10 years after our membership of Europe, the results were crystal clear: you have them before you, the GDP per capita went from 13,000 to 18,000 euros, which at present stands at 25,315 euros per inhabitant, almost double the figure in 2019 from that of 1978.

The main European economies have also risen in this time, that is also true, but we should also acknowledge that no European economy has done so at our country's pace. We showed what we are - a country that can when it wants.

This great modernisation stage, with goals, with challenges, with major projects, as I said before, was a success story. We all formed part of that country project.

The circumstances are completely different now. Just 10 months ago, after five election processes in 2019, we managed to resolve the political stalemate, we formed a government, we started to discern the country that we wanted to build, with the formation of the first coalition government in our democratic history. A decade opened up then for Spain to once again take a great leap forward in modernisation and in the transformations we needed to undertake - in my opinion - years before,.

Unfortunately, in March, and we all know this, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and everything ground to a halt. At that time, it became necessary to save lives, first and foremost, and save jobs and companies, after. And we did that, with all the tools available to us. Through the state of emergency, to tackle the health emergency, managing to flatten the curve of the spread, and with an unprecedented economic and social shield, because the health emergency we are tackling is unprecedented in the country's history.

When we tackled this pandemic, let's remember, half of mankind was on lockdown, we only had one option: to respond at the same level. So we opted to resist in order to make progress. And this resistance, this resilience, defined, as it did four decades earlier, Spain's response.

We acted from the outset with a raft of measures designed to alleviate the damage and protect people, and I would like us to remember this, so that we are all aware of the collective effort we have been making since the start of the pandemic.

We mobilised as much as 200 billion euros, that is close to 20% of our annual GDP, the largest amount of resources in our country's history, to protect those who create jobs - our companies. Now, fortunately, and thanks to this financial guarantee by the State, more than 530,000 companies continue to engage in their activity.

At the toughest times of the lockdown, we protected 3.4 million workers through Temporary Lay-off Plans (Spanish acronym: ERTEs) and now, fortunately, more than 80% of these people are back at work.

We set in motion, for the first time ever, an extraordinary benefit for the cessation of activity for independent contractors which has benefitted close to 1.5 million self-employed workers. And almost 150,000 independent contractors are now benefitting from the new benefits approved during the summer.

We also set up a strong social shield. More than 216,000 families and independent contractors in vulnerable situations obtained a moratorium on their mortgage debt for the acquisition of their primary dwelling or the premises for their economic activity.

And we also established the automatic extension of rental contracts for homes that had expired. We suspended eviction orders for non-payment and also for the non-payment of rent for vulnerable families without alternative accommodation.

These are some of the examples of all the things we have set in motion over the course of these months of the pandemic, of this unparalleled social and economic response in the history of our democracy, but I would like to underline the following, which is that despite party noise which, on some occasions, tries to state the opposite, we have done all of this with the support, to a large extent, of the force of unity.

Let me highlight two examples: the first is clearly the work and also predisposition to dialogue, of business owners and workers' representatives - the trade unions - within the framework of social dialogue. We have now reached six major agreements with the social stakeholders: three agreements to extend the ERTEs; the Pact for Economic Reactivation and Job Creation; and the Remote Working Act, which was so necessary, as we have seen in these months of lockdown to be able to maintain the productive activity of a great many economic sectors. Hence, this is the path the government believes in and we will continue working on this path of social dialogue and consensus.

And the second is the example of Europe. Europe, we must remember, and I also feel this is a diagnosis that can be shared with the whole of Spanish society, has risen to the scope of the challenge we face. The European Union has honoured its own name and given a supportive, and hence united, response.

What is today's starting point?

We know that after a harsh health blow, following the health emergency, the different bodies forecast GDP growth in our country in the third quarter at higher than 10% quarter-on-quarter (the Bank of Spain forecast as much as 16% GDP growth), thus recovering part, but not all, of the initial fall. And this is an important figure for Spain. And with a view to 2021, the IMF announced last week forecast growth in our GDP of 7.2%.

Naturally we are talking about growth and recovery that come after very tough and unprecedented falls, such as we saw in the first phase of this health, economic and social emergency.

And above all, we are talking about a recovery and growth that won't happen by themselves, which require the effort and active mobilisation of all our national energy.

Spain will undoubtedly move forward. And it will do so stronger and without leaving anyone behind if we mobilise all the national energy available.

This is the context in which the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is framed, which we have been working on over the summer months and which we now present today to Spanish society. The Plan, in short, if you will allow me, is to modernise Spain.

The pandemic has speeded up certain changes that we could already see were coming before its outbreak. And so that the digital transition, which has clearly been speeded up as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown, and the ecological transition, are inclusive, create jobs and do not enhance inequalities and social exclusion, we must address the modernisation and transformation of our country without delay. The world has changed, although perhaps at this time we are not aware of the magnitude of the change we are going through, because we are still in mid-pandemic, and we must speed up the transformation of the country if we want to carve out our future.

Hence, it is not only a question of recovering the GDP that the pandemic took away, but of growing in a new fashion on pillars that are more robust in a world that has completely changed. A form of growth that is stronger and fairer, more competitive but also more sustainable.

The Plan we present today is the roadmap of this new modernisation of our country for the next six years.

So, it is not just a question of making progress, but of carving out our future. We must all take a great stride forward without leaving anyone behind.

It is a question of converting this tough blow caused by the pandemic into an opportunity to carve out our future as a society.

This, dear friends, is the challenge our country faces.

We almost never choose the circumstance in which we must live; often the circumstances force us to choose. Well, our circumstance has been the pandemic and our choice will be the recovery and modernisation of Spain.

To put it another way: faced with an extraordinary circumstance like COVID-19, an extraordinary undertaking and response is required.

That is the undertaking we face and the question is, under what conditions will Spain undertake this? Humbly, I believe that we have everything necessary to do this. We have infrastructures, resources, talent, the productive fabric, the vision and the tools to do this.

Our position is nothing like that of 42 years ago, fortunately.

Today Spain is a European country; and not only that, it is the European country with the largest rollout of fibre optic to homes, at 80.4%. Spain has a level of rollout of fibre optic equivalent to that of France, Germany and the United Kingdom together.

We hold first position in ecological agriculture in the European Union. We head up the photovoltaic market in Europe in this transition towards clean energies. We head up the photovoltaic market in Europe. We are second-placed in Europe in terms of installed wind energy. We are the fourth ranked country in the world in terms of pharmaceutical research and the first ranked in Europe in clinical trials of treatments against COVID-19. We are the leading country in the world in tourism competitiveness in the world and the second most popular destination on the planet, and I am convinced that once this pandemic is over, because it will be finally, the tourism sector will have an even more brilliant future than it had before the pandemic. We are the third leading country in the EU, for example, in terms of independent contractors working in rural areas to respond to this enormous challenge of equal opportunities and the demographic challenge.

We have access to important potential EU markets and enjoy a privileged relationship with Latin America - a community we look on as our brothers and sisters. Our geographic location places us in an excellent starting point in relations with the African continent; just today I will have the chance to travel to Algeria, a country with which we have many geopolitical, geostrategic and also energy interests. And we are one of the 20 most influential nations in the world. And let's not forget, because just yesterday we held the meeting of the Board of the Cervantes Institute, that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world.

We also have a very sound political, legal and social environment.

In order to achieve the collective goals that we propose, we have a European instrument, which you are aware of - the Next Generation EU.

This will amount to support for Spain to the tune of 140 billion euros, equivalent to 11% of GDP in 2019. As you are aware, the horizon for the implementation of the Next Generation EU funds is six years, from 2021 to 2026. But the government will concentrate - and this is the announcement I wish to make to you - efforts to mobilise resources, above all in the next three years to speed up the reactivation of the economy.

In other words, in the Plan we present today, we are going to focus on projects that will be set in motion over the next three years and which propitiate this leap in modernisation and in job creation that we need. This will amount to 72 billion euros for the period 2021-2023. I repeat, this will amount to 72 billion euros for the period 2021-2023.

This will be carried out through the main instruments comprising the European Recovery Fund: firstly, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which concentrates the lion's share of the resources, with a total of 59 billion euros; the second, REACT-EU, which will allow Spain to obtain funding for a sum of 12.4 billion euros. So, in total, 72 billion euros over the next three years.

In addition to these resources, and I would also like to recall this, because it is important, we should add the more than 79 billion euros for Spain in structural funds and also under the Common Agricultural Policy for 2021-2027.

Hence, the efforts at mobilising economic resources, in managing all of this huge economic amount to take this leap in modernisation, are extraordinary.

From these foundations, the Recovery Plan is inspired by the roadmap and the basic principles that justify this government. The Recovery Plan is inspired by the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And also by the Agenda for Change and our coalition government programme. And by the conclusions of the Reconstruction Committee approved by the Lower House by a large majority of MPs. And it precisely complies with the intentions of the European Recovery Funds through the agreement reached back in July. And this represents the natural continuation, I would say, of the Action Plan and the Reactivation Plan implemented by the government over the course of these months of the pandemic.

The round numbers are 72 billion euros over the next three years, and I would also like to convey to you the following percentages because they are important for Spain and also decisive for Europe.

The "green" investment - the investment tied into the ecological transition - accounts for more than 37% of the total amount of the Plan, and the digital transition close to 33%. So 37% for the ecological transition and 33% for the digital transition.

The Plan's mission is to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also thousands of companies, and scale up those companies that are small into medium-sized companies, which needs to be done over the coming years.

Hence, this gives a horizon to all the Spanish people. The effort we are making to allow levels of public investment to recover in line with the maxims of the last economic cycle, and thus close the gap with countries that invest more.

There are two figures which, in my opinion, show the tremendous economic impact of public investment and the knock-on effect that this Plan could have on the economy.

We want to generate an additional impact on GDP of more than 2.5 points per annum over the next three years.

And we want to create more than 800,000 jobs in the next three years.

Through this Plan, the government also seeks to speed up by 40% the quantitative goals of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, bringing forward the intermediary goals to 2023 which were set some time back for 2025. In other words, we not only reaffirm but also want to speed up our commitments to the ecological transition. We are one of the countries that have been worse hit by the effects of climate change; many Spanish people who live on the coast are aware of this; many Spanish people who work in the countryside and in the agri-food sector are aware of this. And we also estimate that the Plan will allow the inequality gap to be reduced, because unfortunately there are a great many inequalities in our country, above all, child poverty, since we will reduce the inequality gap with the EU average by two thirds. Hence, cohesion and the fight against social exclusion will also be fundamental elements of this Plan.

The pandemic has underlined the weaknesses facing European industry, and also Spanish industry, in a world of complex value chains and increasing uncertainty.

European industrial capacity faced serious disruptions in the commercial channels that made the autonomous response to COVID-19 more difficult. I would like to once again thank large companies for their commitment to their country, to their citizens in the provision of many of these materials and also in the provision of a great many aeroplanes that brought over a lot of medication, a lot of the material that our healthcare professionals needed, and thank a great many professionals in many labour areas precisely for doing their job during these tough months of the pandemic. And what I want to say about strategic autonomy is that over these last few days we have discussed the way to address these vulnerabilities at the European Council.

The Plan we present today will strengthen the industrial capacities of our country through investments in the development of key technologies for the future of industry.

The Plan will also help something very important - the rejuvenation of our productive fabric. The foundation of the strategic commitment is born out of a transformative principle. In order for the transformation of our economy to come first, our young people must come first. They must come first because they are, together with women, the people hardest hit by the socio-economic consequences of this health emergency that is affecting, above all, the elderly. As a starting point, as you will see, the Plan has a marked inter-generational projection. It is clear, when we talk about the ecological transition, that we are talking about inter-generational solidarity with those young people that will inherit our country, and we hope they will inherit this with the best parameters of solidarity.

In this new modernisation of the Spanish economy, we are moving towards a prosperous and resilient country, which speeds up its technological and digital transformation, that is decisively committed to carbon neutrality, to a just transition for those regions affected by decarbonisation to continue to enjoy opportunities, that fosters job creation, the competitiveness of our companies, that stimulates the competitiveness of our industrial sector, because industry needs more support from everyone, particularly from public institutions.

A country that must boost science and R&D+i, and this is one of the great lessons to take away from the pandemic; we cannot always postpone science, make cutbacks in the field of science, or for the cultural or education community. Hence, we must boost science, innovation, development, R&D+i to strengthen such strategic sectors as agroindustry, biotechnology, construction, the automotive industry, education, science and tourism, as I said before.

To do all of this, it is essential for the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan to be set in motion as soon as possible, and this is one of the messages I wish to convey to you. Let's implement it as soon as possible, and thus speed up the timeline. And this is only possible by injecting these resources through a new National Budget.

I wish to make an announcement to you; I can officially communicate to you that the government will bring forward 27 billion euros into the next National Budget under the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. The first 27 billion euros of the 72 billion euros for the period 2021-2023.

This will allow many things to be done; for example, to speed up the implementation of the Plan as of when the National Budget is approved and before the timeline set by the European Commission for the pay-outs.

I have said on many occasions that it is imperative for Spain to approve a new National Budget. And this new Budget cannot be just any Budget because we are not living in any situation. This is a Budget demanded by a country that must recover from a major blow, but which I would also like to employ to carve out its future. This is a Budget for progress and a country Budget.

Inevitably, this is a Budget for progress because that is what defines this coalition government, but also because we believe that a progressive and inclusive focus is what will help the digital transformation, the energy transition, social and territorial cohesion and gender equality to this 51% of the Spanish population, that is unfortunately suffering the most from the consequences of this global health crisis, not to be postponed.

Hence, this will be a progressive Budget and a country Budget because its urgency stemming from the economic and social crisis we are going through transcends the boundaries of political parties and calls for unity in the recovery and transformation efforts of our country.

The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is designed around four main principles that will explain and structure all the projects, the guiding policies that I will explain later. The principles are the ecological transition, the digital dimension, gender equality and social and territorial cohesion to guarantee that any citizen, wherever they may live, whether in an urban or a rural environment, has the same opportunities to develop their full potential.

Let's move on to these four elements:

First, a green Spain.

The fight against the environmental crisis may be an enormous pool of uncertainty or it could also represent a tremendous lever for job creation, for business transformation and have a positive social impact on our country. In which I strongly believe.

A transformation of our productive model, of the incorporation of a new paradigm of environmental sustainability as a source of job creation, of innovation, are all inescapable - to make savings in the national accounts, let's think about energy autonomy and the trade balance. To achieve this, as you are aware, back in May we submitted the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan to the EU institutions. And a Plan for the mass rollout of the renewable energy was planned.

To give you some figures that are included in the Plan. Over the next three years we will commit to a strategy for the take off of electrification in mobility that will roll out more than 250,000 new electric vehicles by 2023, as a milestone for reaching 5 million electric vehicles by 2030.

We will make available more than 100,000 charger points to facilitate the introduction of the electric vehicle.

We will speed up the large-scale transformation of our energy system to achieve a 100% renewable, and thus clean, system by 2050.

We will fit-out more than half a million houses over the next three years to make them more energy efficient.

And we will strengthen the comprehensive management of the coastline and water resources with an investment of more than 2 billion euros to comply with our European targets, with the restoration of 3,000 kilometres of rivers.

And together with a green Spain, a digital Spain.

The situation stemming from COVID-19 has speeded up, as we are all aware in our homes, the digitalisation process of the world, and consequently of our country, of our productive fabric, but also of our education system, underlining its strengths and also the weaknesses we have suffered over these months, both from an economic point of view and a social and territorial point of view.

It is pressing to support the modernisation of our business fabric and its digitalisation, driving internationalisation, the renewal of technological capital, its adaptation to the ecological transition, but also its digital transition. In line with the European digital strategy, the Digital Spain 2025 Agenda, which we approved in July, will be the roadmap to guide action in this field.

80% of Spanish people will receive training in digital skills.

We will promote the reception of 5G coverage by 75% of the population, and ensure the whole Spanish population has access to a fast Internet service.

We are going to foster the possibility for more than 150,000 public servants to work remotely and extend the impact of digitalisation programmes to 2.5 million SMEs.

Thirdly, I would also like to declare our commitment to a cause we can all agree on, which is the need for a country without gaps. And the worst gap that exists in our country, apart from the territorial gap, is the gender gap. Between us all, we want and all need to see equality between men and women in Spain.

If we make progress for women, then we make progress for society. The aim is thus to remove the gender gaps, which must be a cross-cutting goal, which is why I can explain that gender equality will be a cross-cutting focus we will give to all the guiding policies that I will now present.

Just look, one figure to be aware of the magnitude and potential that the fight for gender equality amounts to not just in terms of dignity, of justice, but also of economics. In Spain, according to recent studies, maternity explains a significant proportion of the gender wage gap. The average salaries of women fall by up to 11% one year after the birth of their children, which does not happen with men. The Plan provides, for example, for the creation of more than 65,000 places in nursery education for those aged 0 to 3, which is one of the tasks pending in our country, which is also synonymous with child poverty and with unequal opportunities. So we will create 65,000 places in nursery education for those aged up to 3 and 1,460 accompaniment and personal and family guidance units to offer attention for those pupils that are vulnerable in education. We also have the challenge of the high school drop-out rate, which would clearly help thousands of families, but first and foremost, mothers of families.

Fourthly, we want to see a Spain with equal opportunities, wherever people may live, as I said before. Whether in cities, in an urban environment, but also in the rural environment.

Spain's population is highly concentrated in cities and in medium-sized and large municipalities. It is crucial to address the demographic challenge with policies that overcome inequalities; we will particularly address legislation that provides a response to the job insecurity of young people and women, which delays their social and economic emancipation, and harms the birth rate in our country.

We must strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion to create a fairer, more supportive and resilient society.

To do that, we will strengthen the Welfare State - this is one of the main lessons we must take away from this crisis - we need public health, a good public healthcare system, good public education, a national dependency system, and local services to take good care of the elderly and dependents that is much more powerful and stronger than the one we have in our country today. We also need to reform active employment policies, which will be fundamental to ensure this industrial reconversion, and we will also clearly push through a fair tax system in the next few years. There are three clear goals here: to close the social and territorial gaps, to develop the rural environment and inter-generational justice.

The digital transformation will be a key tool to structure territorial cohesion.

The widespread connectivity of all regions will clearly and decisively revitalise the areas worst affected by depopulation, creating optimum conditions for entrepreneurship and job creation, particularly for our younger people.

In addition to the efforts at providing nursery education for those aged up to 3 that I mentioned before, we will commit to a programme of education enrichment at 3,000 centres for special education needs; we will reduce the digital gap with the provision of 250,000 devices with Internet connection for use at home; and we will set up Interactive Digital Classrooms at 19,000 education centres.

We will continue with the reform of vocational training, boosting dual vocational training, adapting place numbers to the qualification requirements of the new economy, of this new job market we are building, through the creation, I can announce to you, of 200,000 new vocational training places over the next four years.

We will also extend accessible vocational training in 3,000 municipalities in Spain with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants to address the demographic challenge.

As regards social policy, we will promote the rehabilitation and adaptation of current residential infrastructures to improve the situation for 75,000 people that are currently catered for over the next three years.

We will enable the possibility of 870,000 dependent people that live at home receiving remote care services within the next three years.

These four great transformations - digitalisation, the ecological transition, gender equality and social and territorial cohesion, as I said before, coincide with the lines of action that the European Union agreed to prioritise in July.

To that end, and based on these four pillars, the National Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is structured around 10 guiding policies, policies that prioritise the specific scope of the investment of the 72 billion euros that we are making public today for the next three years and have a well-marked plan for the distribution of funds and priorities.

The first is the urban agenda, the fight against rural depopulation and the development of the agri-food sector, which accounts for 16% of the resources.

This sets out two fundamental goals: one, to improve the habitability of urban environments through a sustainable mobility action plan and a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for housing and urban regeneration.

And secondly, to provide a response to the needs of the rural environment, keeping population levels up, creating jobs and promoting economic activity as specific measures, for example, through the Strategic Transformation and Digitalisation Plan of the Agri-food System and of the Logistics Chain, focused on fostering ecological production.

Two, resilient infrastructures and ecosystems. This is the second guiding project that will receive 12% of the resources. We are talking about preserving our biodiversity. We are the Costa Rica [Rich Coastline] of Europe. We are one of the countries with the largest biodiversity in the world. We need to protect it and care for it. We need to pass it down to future generations. Hence, the preservation of biodiversity, care for natural habitats, the restoration of wetlands and forests, the restoration of vulnerable ecosystems, the management of water resources, the adaptation of coastal areas to the effects of climate change we are seeing on the east coast of Spain, to quote an example, and not just to express an ethical commitment to future generations, but which also amounts to an investment whose profitability is expressed in terms of an undertaking, of immediate job creation, of protecting health, well-being, in short, the welfare of our citizens and their health.

To this end, the Plan provides for the activation of a fund for ecological recovery and restoration and resilience that allows these green and blue investments to be disbursed and solutions to be activated based on nature.

The third guiding policy is the just and inclusive energy transition, which we will allocate 9% of the resources to. We must harness - and I am convinced that we all agree on this - the tremendous potential of our country to strategically position us as leaders in energy renewal at a global level.

The fourth guiding policy must be a definitive leap and the modernisation of the public authorities, because in this 21st Century we live in a decentralised State.

We will allocate 5% of the Plan's resources to the digitalisation of this strategic area, to administrative procedures and to cyber-security.

The fifth guiding policy is the modernisation and digitalisation of our productive fabric, of our small- and medium-sized enterprises, of our industry, of our tourism sector and give a decisive boost to the Spain, Entrepreneurial Nation Strategy, to which we will allocate 17% of these funds.

The sixth guiding policy is the Science and Innovation Pact, and to strengthening the capacities of the National Health System. This area will see 17% of the resources disbursed. We must strengthen our capacities under the National Science, Technology and Innovation System, accompany and promote a sustainable increase in public and private investment in R&D in our country.

The seventh guiding policy is clearly education. Education, knowledge, vocational training, the future of our young people, but also continuous training, the development of the capabilities of our elderly folk. This will account for 18% of all the resources. If anything is key for the investment and reform plan having the desired impact, it is the investment in human capital. And this includes the National Digital Skills Plan for the whole country, the Strategic Plan to Boost Vocational Training, which was drawn up together with the whole education community, the modernisation and digitalisation of our education system, boosting, as I mentioned before, nursery education for those aged up to 3 and making decisive progress on a tailored, inclusive and flexible model.

The eighth guiding policy is the new care economy and employment policies, to which we will allocate 6% of the resources. The pandemic has shown the need, in fact I would say the absolute urgency of placing people at the heart of the economy, ensuring that no-one gets left behind, above all the elderly who have worked so hard for the future of our country. We must leave a legacy, logically, of much stronger and more resilient care services that are much more adapted to their needs and desires, such as local services, for example.

The ninth guiding policy is the development of two very important industries for our country. One is sport and the other is the cultural industry, to which we will allocate 1.1% of the total resources under the Plan.

The cultural industry, which we have seen to be vulnerable and has been made all too clear in this pandemic, not only has an essential value for the development of a free and open society, but also generates wealth, industry, and consequently, jobs. We must push through a plan for its enhancement in all sectors, while supporting the initiatives of the digital economy that are being proposed in, among other sectors, the projection of the audio-visual and videogame sectors, which always go hand-in-hand with culture and industry.

And another pending task is sport, which logically not only has a merely internal potential, but also, and more importantly, an external one and which gives, in my opinion, our country a competitive edge, and which has been hard hit by the health emergency.

The tenth and final guiding policy is the modernisation of our tax system to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth. The devastating effect of the pandemic has led to an inevitable increase in public spending and public debt, covered now by the extraordinary flexibility mechanisms provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact of the European Union but yet, the sustainability of our finances in the medium term will require that we resume the path of reducing our fiscal imbalances. Let's not forget that we collect much less in taxes than the European Union average. We will do this once growth is consolidated at a sufficiently fast past and we recover GDP levels that are similar to the ones we enjoyed before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Furthermore, between all the public authorities we must take measures to improve the efficacy and efficiency of public spending. We are not only being told this by companies and business owners, but also by our citizens when they go to a counter in a public institution. We must be much more effective and efficient in public spending.

And we must also clearly rebuild consensuses that have been broken over recent years, one of which is fundamental to build a social consensus regarding the Toledo Pact to offer certainty to the elderly on the viability of our public pension system, and also offer certainty and security to future generations.

All the plans, measures and actions contained in these ten points, these ten guiding policies will directly affect those productive sectors with the greatest capacity for the transformation and modernisation of our economic and social fabric, sectors that also deal with some of the more pressing needs of our country, and I am sure that this would drum up an overwhelming consensus in our country.

But, and I want to stress this, it will undoubtedly be the ecological transition, with more than 37% of the resources, and the digital transition, with 33% of the resources, that are the main priorities of our country's Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

In order to guarantee that the funds are correctly employed, and we are indeed facing a huge challenge over the next three to six years, we will strengthen and develop monitoring and coordination structures in four main areas.

Firstly, in the field of good governance, we will set up an inter-ministerial committee for the recovery, transformation and resilience that I will personally chair, with the participation of all the ministers in the areas of government most closely related to the implementation of the Plan.

And a monitoring unit will also be set up for the correct implementation and development of the Plan at the Moncloa Complex.

Secondly, in the field of governance, because we live in a decentralised State and the regional governments have very significant powers in relation to urban matters, in the field of the rehabilitation of housing, and in the field of mobility, to quote just three examples.

In the field of governance, the Sector Conference on European Funds with the regional governments and autonomous cities will be reactivated. The Recovery Fund will be introduced into the usual debates of a very powerful driver from a political perspective that we have activated since the start of this term of office as a result of the health emergency, which is the Conference of Regional Presidents, with the participation of the regional governments and local authorities.

And in this regard, I wish to recall a very important event, unprecedented in the history of our country, which is that on 26 October, a Conference of Regional Presidents will be held in the Upper House, in the home of the Conference of Regional Presidents, with the participation of the President of the European Commission to address the management of the funds with all the regional governments.

Thirdly, intense ongoing dialogue will be facilitated with companies, workers and other stakeholders, and also with the academic world to take part in projects through various forums and high-level councils, boosting public-private collaboration because we need to harness private investment thanks to the power of public investment. And also dialogue with the social stakeholders, which is proving to be so positive.

The high-level forums will include the following:

A high-level forum of science and innovation. Another high-level forum on digitalisation, which we have already set in motion; a forum on energy, on water, on mobility, on industry, on tourism, on the demographic challenge, and on culture and sport.

Fourthly, at an institutional level, the periodic accountability mechanisms by Parliament will be put in place through, and this is the proposal we will make to the Lower House Board, the Mixed European Union Committee so that there is not only representation from the MPs in the Lower House but also from Members of the Upper House to give territorial representation in the accountability of these important funds.

In order to guarantee efficacy and speed in absorbing these funds, we must set up a far-reaching reform of the rules and laws of Central Government in three areas:

First, and we have been working very hard on this in recent weeks, through the design of governance for the funds that is effective, strengthening the administrative structures responsible for this challenge. And, as well as effective, this must be plural, not only affecting the Central Government, but this must also affect the regional governments, local authorities and the private sector. And lastly, this must be responsible, complying at all times with the criteria and conditions that Spain has undertaken to Europe in the field of good governance.

Secondly, we are also on the verge of a great transformation in our way of operating from the point of view of the public administration. This government, I can announce to you, will undertake the legal and administrative reforms necessary so that the funds are impeccably managed and implemented in a transparent and speedy fashion over the first three years. To do this, through a Royal Decree-Law that we have been working on in recent weeks, we will eliminate all the bottlenecks - the existing administrative burdens. We will modify those aspects, for example, of the Public Sector Contracts Act, of the General Subsidies Act and of the Public Sector Legal System Act. And why? Because we often detect that this is an obstacle to the management and absorption of available resources. We cannot add more difficulties to the new difficulties; we must ensure greater flexibility for their absorption within the parameters of good governance. And all these reforms will always be undertaken in line with European legislation.

And thirdly, together with this second important announcement, we will revise all those operating and management aspects that need to be modified. In short, we will eliminate all the administrative burdens and resolve all those bottlenecks that slow down and hinder the procurement and implementation of projects.

I stress, this is an historic reform - widely demanded and now more necessary than ever - which will make our public administration more effective, faster and more transparent. And I want to call, taking advantage of this stage, for the rest of the public authorities - regional, provincial and local - to follow this path in their respective jurisdictions.

We cannot allow ourselves at this time - now less than ever - for bureaucracy to hinder the recovery and modernisation so demanded and necessary in our country.

The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, together with the National Budget, will define Spain's horizon for the next decade. Through these, we will address the new modernisation of Spain.

The effort will be huge, I know that, but it is worthwhile. Of course it is worthwhile. We clearly need to receive as much backing as possible. We already have the backing of the European Union, and also of the social stakeholders for the agreements and the stability provided by these agreements.

It will be necessary to extend co-governance to the maximum among the different authorities through the powerful lever of the Conference of Regional Presidents. And it would be desirable for this climate of unity, of all working together, to be extended to political parties with a parliamentary presence. And I won't tire of saying this.

Accordingly, I would like to end with a thought: at least since the time of the transition, our country has never before required so much unity, cooperation and institutional loyalty from all the parliamentary political forces. Never.

These are exceptional times that require exceptional political conduct from us all. Neither I nor the government is calling for blind support that is uncritical of our positions and policies. But we are calling for a minimum degree of collaboration to the benefit of the general interest of our country. And I am also calling for an end to any institutional blockade.

Following this COVID-19 crisis, there are two possible response - politics and anti-politics. Politics serve, I believe, to seek points of agreement, to find solutions despite differences. Anti-politics only serve to look for guilty parties, often imaginary, to foster hatred and to seek confrontation in society.

The world, Europe, and thus, our country, are at a decisive crossroads and that is what I would like to pass on to the rest of our people. Millions of Spaniards are feeling fragile given the ravages of a mortal virus and an unprecedented socio-economic situation that has been hard by this health emergency. Politics can take the path of collaboration or the path of squabbling; obviously the Government of Spain opts for collaboration. Nothing good will come for anyone from the second path. It will only bring what we already know: unease and rage at the insecurity that our people feel at this time as a result of the pandemic.

I am convinced that Spain will take the path of politics, the path of agreement and abandon anti-politics.

The Plan we present today and the National Budget we will present to Parliament for its activation offer a unique opportunity to show our country's impetus and to test the power of democratic politics.

Good politics can facilitate agreements and provide fair solutions.

I am well aware that we are designing a scenario of hope when we still haven't gone through the darkest time that this pandemic will bring. But I am also aware that to overcome the emergency we need to elevate ourselves above that and plan the next collective step that awaits us.

These bitter times will pass. And it is precisely in the midst of these tough times when we should strive to overcome this brutal blow and turn it into an opportunity for progress.

Beyond the government, the public institutions and authorities, a huge common task awaits us that calls on each and every citizen, on each company, regardless of the sector it operates in or its size, to tackle the greatest challenge that our generation has faced since the re-establishment of democracy.

And there is no alternative to this challenge. We have no option but to act in the times we live in, and do so with ambition and, if you will allow me, with a dose of enthusiasm. We cannot allow ourselves to desert or lack ambition.

This will be a path strewn with difficulties; I have no doubt about that. But, once again, I want to reiterate my absolute confidence in the capabilities of Spanish society.

A supportive, mature, flexible society open to change, as it has shown in the past. And these are precisely the traits that are essential to successfully tackle the upcoming transformations in our productive model.

A society capable of overcoming the greatest of commitments from two basic attitudes: the union of all our efforts and will-power in search of a common good.

Let me repeat this, I ask for no more than I offer: unity and stability so that the economy can function.

We face a difficult, yet passionate, challenge that is worthwhile. We have an extraordinary country with the resources to do this. And we have a roadmap.

This is the challenge facing our generation. We hardly ever choose the circumstances in which we must live; often the circumstances force us to choose. Well, our circumstance is the pandemic and our choice must be the recovery and modernisation of Spain.

We did it before and we will do it again. We only need to want it and to trust. Because if Spain wants, Spain can. Of course it can.

Thank you very much.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation