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Appearance before plenary session of Lower House

"We must continue speeding up vaccination rate and economic recovery without leaving anyone behind", says Pedro Sánchez

Lower House of Parliament, Madrid, Wednesday 14 April 2021

The President of the Government appeared before the plenary session of the Lower House of Parliament to report on the state of emergency to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to present the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

"It will be the democracy, the Spanish Constitution and Europe that lead us to modernise our country and to overcome the worst health, economic and social emergency of the last century", he stated in his opening speech. This year, he argued, must thus be the start of both the defeat of the pandemic and of the profound transformation of Spain, "to which end we must carry on speeding up the rate of vaccination and economic recovery while not leaving anyone behind".

Pedro Sánchez announced that, in accordance with this social commitment, the government will extend for a further three months all the measures in the latest royal decree-laws on evictions and property rental agreements, which were in force until 9 May, the date on which the current state of emergency ends. "These are urgent measures that are complemented by a set of measures of a structural nature being implemented to guarantee the constitutional right to a dignified and adequate home", said the President of the Government, who announced that the first State Housing Act will be presented shortly.

Broad strokes and specific policies

Congreso de los DiputadosThe President of the Government stressed that the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which was presented on Tuesday to the Inter-ministerial Committee and will be submitted to the European Commission this month, is the "greatest economic opportunity" Spain has had since it joined the EU. In its drafting, he indicated, dialogue with the public authorities, political groups and social stakeholders has been fundamental, along with the proposals presented by companies, local authorities and other beneficiaries of the initiative.

The Plan consists of 212 measures, of which 110 are investments and 102 are reforms for the period 2021-2023, which span "from the broad strokes of the course that Spain needs to take to specific policies to make this possible", explained the President of the Government. The investments will account for some 70 billion euros from the European Recovery Funds. Pedro Sánchez stressed the importance of the figure of the Strategic Recovery and Transformation Projects (Spanish acronym: PERTE), which will drive public-private collaboration, such as the development of the electric vehicle.

The President of the Government declared that the Plan will be "the great driving force of Spain in the coming years", and that the government wants this boost to economic activity and job creation to be felt in a tangible manner, in the second half of this year. Along this line, the National Budget provides for an advanced investment of 27 billion euros from the European funds. The job market, added Pedro Sánchez, is already showing signs of improvement, and the forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund place Spain as the developed economy that will grow the most in 2021, together with the United States.

The Spanish people need security, tranquillity and a horizon of hope, said the President of the Government, who advocated a just recovery based on quality jobs, improved productivity, a boost to vocational training and special attention to two groups that have been particularly hard hit by the crisis: women and young people.

More people immunised than infected

MadridPedro Sánchez highlighted the developments of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 - more than 11 million doses have already been administered and 95.6% of those over the age of 80 have received at least the first dose.

In his opinion, the vaccination process has shown the commitment of healthcare workers, the positive disposition of citizens and coordination between Central Government and the regional governments. This joint work has led to Spain heading up the process among EU countries with the largest populations. Pedro Sánchez expressed the government's gratitude to those people involved in this task and in general in the fight against the pandemic through their job position or their company.

The President of the Government stressed that if the vaccination rate continues to speed up, this week will see more people vaccinated with the full dose than those officially infected, there will be 10 million people vaccinated by the first week of June and 70% of the population will be immunised by the end of August. "But we don't just want to meet the targets, we want to beat them", said Pedro Sánchez, who recalled that the Vaccination Strategy is a fluid procedure that is updated according to the recommendations made by the health authorities and the shifting scenarios.

Decisions aligned with expert opinions and spread of pandemic

As regards the state of emergency approved on 25 October, the President of the Government highlighted its use to maintain the spread of the virus, as happened with the state of emergency decreed on 14 March last year.

Congreso de los DiputadosThe current circumstances, he stated, are better and the acceleration of the vaccination campaign offers greater guarantees of resistance, "but we must not drop our guard and behave as if the virus had gone away", since the fourth wave of the pandemic has already shown "its first warnings" in Spain, albeit less strongly than in other European countries. The cumulative incidence rate now stands at 196 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and the total figure of deaths at 76,625, of which 251 have been in the last week, specified Pedro Sánchez, who said that he will always remember the victims and their families.

The President of the Government stated that, when the state of emergency ends, the success against COVID-19 will depend on unity, effective coordination and individual responsibility. Pedro Sánchez added that "the government does not wish to extend the state of emergency" and that "each decision we have taken has been aligned with expert knowledge, the scientific community and the evolution of the pandemic, and that will remain the case".

The government, he remarked, will continue working to overcome the worst health emergency in the last 100 years and will implement all the government's plans in such areas as climate change, gender-based violence, science and the protection of children.

Non official translation