The President of the Government of Spain speaks at the World Economic Forum

In Davos, Pedro Sánchez calls on global elites to help reverse inequalities

President's News - 2023.1.17

Davos-Klosters (Swiss)

The President said this during his Keynote Speech, the main event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to an audience of political and economic leaders gathered in the Swiss city.

After highlighting that international alliances had been strengthened following the shared responses to the pandemic and to the crisis caused by Putin's war in Ukraine, Pedro Sánchez urged all those present to ask themselves whether everything is currently being done to protect "the international order based on openness, rules and collaboration that Putin is trying to undermine and destroy". He stressed that "the response we give today to challenges like mistrust, selfishness, xenophobia and environmental disaster" will define our future and life in the West for decades to come.

Four global threats

President Sánchez emphasised the need to take advantage of the Davos meeting for world leaders to strengthen the international architecture, to redouble the commitment to liberal and democratic values, and to develop new leadership "that will allow us to effectively overcome the great challenges of our time", such as climate change and inequality.

"Spain will rise to the challenge", the President proclaimed. "My country, my government, will be at the forefront with those nations committed to fighting for a world driven by social collaboration and environmental responsibility, and not by fragmentation and short-termism", he stressed, detailing that Spain will do so by committing itself to tackling the four main threats the world is currently facing: the impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and food security.

With regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, President Sánchez reminded those present that this has not yet come to an end, and that Spain is the 5th country in the world that has donated the most Covid vaccines.

Pedro Sánchez also referred to "Ukraine's struggle for freedom" after the Russian invasion, and highlighted that, in 2022, Spain created the largest humanitarian aid package in its history for the Ukrainian people, provided military support worth over 300 million euros, and took in more than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees.

As for the third threat, the energy crisis, Pedro Sánchez has reiterated his support for European allies to work together to promote greater interconnectivity and generation of clean energy. In short, "so that this crisis serves to accelerate the green transition, and not to delay it", he stressed. "Today, we are the fifth country in the world when it comes to wind energy production, and the eighth in terms of renewable energy generation", he pointed out. Looking ahead to 2023, the President of the Government of Spain has stated that Spain will continue to increase its renewable energy production capacity and will make progress in constructing the first green gas pipeline for hydrogen in the Mediterranean.

On food security, the President highlighted that Spain is one of the largest food producing countries in the world, and pledged to continue to support food supply chains. Pedro Sánchez recalled how shortages are plaguing developing countries and the difficulties that many families in developed countries are facing today due to soaring prices, urging leaders to put in place whatever measures are necessary to alleviate this situation.

A commitment to a more connected Europe

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

"Spain is the 16th largest trading nation in the world and the second most visited", said the President of the Government of Spain. "Our country has prospered by opening itself up". Pedro Sánchez has advocated a Europe that is more connected with the rest of the world and equipped with strategic capabilities in key sectors, such as defence, health, energy and food. In this regard, the President of the Government of Spain reiterated that strategic autonomy will be one of Spain's priorities during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Accordingly, President Sánchez stated that, in the future, both economic openness and multilateralism will be key to "protecting the world order that Putin is trying to destroy". In this respect, he recalled that the autocrat has "many allies in Europe, who are now hiding their sympathies and connections with Putin, but who, only a year ago, visited him and praised his methods". To this effect, Pedro Sánchez warned: "We must prevent these political forces from reaching the institutions and destroying the EU from within". Finally, referring to those countries where extreme right-wing forces are supported by the main conservative parties, he stressed: "We will fight them with the same determination with which Ukrainians are fighting Russian forces, but with different weapons: democracy, transparency and effective policies".

Spain, one of the Western economies that will best weather the uncertainty

With regard to economic forecasts, the President of the Government of Spain highlighted that, despite the inevitable effects of the context of uncertainty and inflation on a world level, Spain "is showing magnificent signs of resilience and strength". In this context, he put forward the data on employment, reiterating that, in addition to being the highest levels in Spain's history, these are continuing to grow above the Eurozone average. In terms of inflation, Pedro Sánchez pointed out that the inflation rate in Spain is the lowest in the EU. "All international organisations agree that Spain will be one of the Western economies that will best weather this period of uncertainty and economic slowdown", while "they predict that the Spanish economy will continue to grow and advance along the path of convergence and progress", he emphasised.

The President of the Government of Spain highlighted the main strengths that Spain has for continuing to grow, highlighting its network of first-rate physical and digital infrastructures, the dynamism of the private sector and institutional stability. In addition, he added, "we have a structural reform plan under way, in which over 43 billion euros from the NextGenerationEU funds have already been invested".

The fight against inequality, a priority for the Government of Spain

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The President of the Government of Spain placed particular emphasis on the issue of inequality, warning about the loss of purchasing power and the struggle of citizens to gain decent employment. "They struggle to buy a house, to provide a good education for their children, and many of them find it impossible to save for a holiday or a decent retirement". In this sense, Pedro Sánchez recalled that the number of multimillionaires "continues to grow" and large multinational companies "continue to increase their profits, even at the expense of others".

In the face of social injustices, Pedro Sánchez called on the world's elites to help reverse inequalities, and stressed the importance of policies that "refocus on what really matters: people's well-being". Thus, the President introduced the main measures adopted by the Government of Spain over the past 10 months to contribute to the citizens' well-being. "We have dedicated over 45 billion euros of public funds to help households and businesses cope with the inflationary wave and the energy crisis", he explained, spotlighting the deployment of the Spanish State's financial and legal resources, such as lower taxes, the promotion of free public transport, direct aid to SMEs and households, and measures in the field of electricity and housing.

"These measures have helped us to reduce inflation by five points in five months and make this crisis a little more bearable for many people, so we will continue to maintain and extend them until prices moderate and decent living becomes affordable again", he concluded.

Dialogue and consensus policies in the face of uncertainty

After the President of the Government of Spain's speech, Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum since 2017 and former Norwegian Foreign Minister, congratulated him "for the excellent economic results in Spain", and added: "We have already seen that this is not the case all over the world, and we have had the opportunity to listen to you talk about the reforms that have consolidated one of the strongest growths in Europe". For his part, Pedro Sánchez has responded to some of the questions that Brende asked him on economic matters.

Pedro Sánchez emphasised the spirit of consensus that has supported the 19 legislative measures that the Government of Spain put forward, citing as examples the educational reform, the reform of vocational training and the labour reform, which went ahead "with the agreement of employers and trade unions, something that had not happened in the past 40 years", he explained. On the subject of employment, the President of the Government of Spain responded to the questions posed by Børge Brende by stressing that Spain is currently creating "not only more jobs, but better jobs".

The President stressed that the Government of Spain's policies have led to a decline in the informal economy in Spain. "In just two years, the reforms that we have implemented have allowed unemployment to be reduced by half a million people", he stressed, recalling that thanks to this, "we are modernising the Spanish economy in a way that has not happened in recent decades".

Bilateral statements by the President of the Government of Spain at the Davos Forum

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

Since his arrival in Davos on Monday 16 January, the President of the Government of Spain has held several meetings with senior executives of major companies from around the world, some of which have already deployed projects in Spain. In this regard, he held an informal meeting with CEOs and senior executives from Spanish companies, as well as bilateral meetings of various kinds. He therefore held a meeting with Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, and with senior executives from companies that are committed to Spain as an investment destination.

Pedro Sánchez has met with the CEOs of major companies, such as Cisco, Qualcomm, Dow Chemical, Air Liquide and AncelorMitall. Pedro Sánchez has held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Inter-American Investment Bank (IDB), and has been able to convey to the Executive Director of Oxfam International, Gabriela Bucher, the Government of Spain's commitment to the fight against inequality.

President Sánchez has also held meetings with the two CEOs of the two largest investment funds in the world: Mubadala and BlackRock. The two senior executives have conveyed to the President of the Government of Spain their confidence in Spain's economic prospects and their commitment to renewing their investments in sustainability and digitalisation.

Non official translation