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At the closing session of the La Toja Forum: Atlantic Ties

Pedro Sánchez calls for Spain to tackle real crises rather than "artificial crises"

O Grove (Pontevedra), Saturday 5 October 2019

In his speech, Pedro Sánchez pointed out that when faced with "artificial crises" and "reactionary movements" such as Brexit, the pro-independence Catalan movement and the retrenchment of borders of the US Administration, Spain must address the real challenges: the digitalisation of the economy, feminism, social cohesion, dignified work, the modernisation of education and the ecological transition.

The Acting President of the Government referred to the political situation of the country and advocated forming a cohesive and stable government after the elections on 10 November. As regards the pro-independence challenge, Pedro Sánchez stressed that his government will work towards co-existence because "the challenge in Catalonia is co-existence, whatever anyone else says". In this regard, he highlighted that Catalonia will not recover its full potential for well-being until the pro-independence movement accepts that it made a serious error of judgement and that its political project has failed".

Challenges facing Spain

Pedro Sánchez pointed out that Spain must stand among the countries that head up the fourth industrial revolution. To this end he underlined that we have fibre optic in 63% of households - the highest figure in the European Union - and highlighted the "real talent" of our scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs engaged in the implementation of technological projects that transfer benefits to society.

As regards equality between men and women, Pedro Sánchez stressed that, despite having the Parliament with the most women ever in Spain, and a predominantly feminist government, along with having great entrepreneurs, researchers, executives and athletes, "we have not achieved real equality, because although women have better university academic records, they obtain less stable jobs, receive a 9.5% lower salary on average, 89% of non-professional care continues to be provided by women, and they continue to suffer from harassment". In this regard, the Pedro Sánchez stressed the need to continue working on specific policies that correct labour inequality and which contribute resources to the fight against gender-based violence.

Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoThe Acting President of the Government also referred to social cohesion and to the need to recover the levels of equality lost during the crisis. Pedro Sánchez recalled that Spain was the European Union country to suffer the largest rise in inequality and that 13% of workers currently fall under the poverty threshold. Pedro Sánchez stressed the need to increase social spending, redesign the labour model and strengthen the public pension system.

The Acting President of the Government highlighted that "having a job is no longer a guarantee of rising above the poverty threshold, and hence stable, quality jobs need to be created and laws enacted that protect workers and offer opportunities to the self-employed.

Spain also needs its education system to be modernised, to which end the Acting President of the Government advocated a State pact that provides for a new Education Act, a new Universities Act and the complete overhaul of vocational training.

To end, Pedro Sánchez underlined the need to reverse climate change and commit to the ecological transition of the economy, highlighting that this transition will create some 350,000 new quality jobs between 2021 and 2030, mainly related to industry, improving efficiency, innovation, renewable energies and the services sector, and which could increase GDP by between 19.3 billion and 25.1 billion euros in the same period.

The Acting President of the Government stated that all public authorities must get involved in this task, in relation to regional governments and local authorities, which can also be extended to Europe. "We want to see a cohesive Spain as part of Europe with a common, strong project that defends the values that have turned it into a model of co-existence, social peace and progress", he ended with.

Non official translation