González (CES) believes that EU funds are not reaching the real economy with "the desired fluidity and efficiency"

He acknowledges that measuring the structural changes proposed in short periods of time is a "frankly complicated" task.

González (CES) believes that EU funds are not reaching the real economy with "the desired fluidity and efficiency"

He acknowledges that measuring the structural changes proposed in short periods of time is a "frankly complicated" task.


The counselor of the Economic and Social Council of Spain (CES), Alberto González Menéndez, considers that the speed with which the European 'Next Generation EU' funds were designed to respond to the situation generated by Covid-19, the legal complexity and administration of the same and the degree of freedom of each country to organize their deployment have meant that the funds are not reaching the real economy "with the desired fluidity and efficiency".

In an interview with Europa Press, the director -together with Cristina Estévez- of the Summer Course on Challenges of the Spanish Presidency before the Social and Economic Agenda of the European Union (held on July 17 and 18 at the Complutense University of Madrid) has highlighted the "strong" commitment of the Spanish Government for these funds.

González has valued the structural changes proposed from Spain, especially in relation to two axes: digital transformation (with almost 30% of the funds) and the green transition (almost 40%), but has recognized that measuring these changes deep in the country in such a short space of time is a "frankly complicated" task.

According to the information provided by the General Secretary of European Funds of the Government of Spain, Spain, with more than 50,000 million euros committed, is the most advantaged country in terms of their deployment and that has allowed us to request the fourth payment. . "Therefore, if you look at the authorization and application of funds variable, it seems that the rhythm is good", has valued the CES counselor.

From his point of view, the objective is that these funds leverage the recovery of Spain, generating synergies between the strategies designed to promote different areas of action and achieving the greatest possible efficiency in the different pillars of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. designed by the government.

"The challenge is to be able to take advantage of all the funds that have been assigned to us and, if possible, aspire to more as a reward for that efficient management," he emphasized.

Spain assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union for the fifth time and does so in a context marked by the closure of the EU legislature and by the electoral call in the country held on July 23. This presidency also marks the end of a pandemic that has changed the world and an open war conflict in European territory that has touched some economic pillars that until now were considered solid and stable.

Alberto González considers that there are many fronts that the EU has from an economic point of view, and that the Spanish presidency will have to attend to: deepening the internal market after 30 years of operation, reviewing the multiannual financial framework, specifying specific actions in relation to the strategic autonomy of the Union, the rethinking of commercial relations and agreements with different economic blocs, consolidating a competitiveness agenda for the European business fabric and promoting a commercial and fiscal policy that ensures investment and promotes the European as a competitive, sustainable territory that generates first-rate economic activity and well-being at a global level.

According to González, a special emphasis will be placed on European fiscal policy, through the revision of the framework of fiscal rules and focusing on the generated income.

It will also place special emphasis on education and permanent training policy that will reduce the current mismatch between job supply and demand, strengthen professional guidance systems and redesign the system for obtaining and training in new skills, appropriate to the current labor market.

González also believes that Europe should pay more attention to the digitization processes that are transforming the world and take a more leading role in their development and implementation. "Whether we like it or not, we live in an increasingly digital society on whose environments, dynamics, devices and services we depend more every day. We are playing a lot," he emphasized.

According to a study by the Ministry of Finance, 23% of our country's GDP is already generated by the digital economy. And the goal is for this percentage to increase to 40% by 2030. On the other hand, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the European Commission, Spain has gone from 10th place in the ranking in 2021 to 7th in 2022, and is at levels very similar to the most advanced in Europe. , the Nordic countries and Germany.

On his side, the CES adviser considers that the risks generated by Artificial Intelligence should be evaluated and mitigated -- substitution of labor, impairment of security, ethical aspects, biases generated by algorithms, misinformation and manipulation of opinion. public--, but he has indicated that it is something "that has come to stay and its progression will be dizzying".

Both Spain, with the National AI Strategy, and Europe, which revised its Coordinated Plan on AI in 2021, are already acting. Specifically, the European Commission seeks to maximize resources and coordinate investments in AI through the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programs, investing 1,000 million euros a year in AI. Additionally, it estimates that investments from the private sector and from the Member States will be mobilized until reaching an annual investment volume of 20,000 million euros until the year 2030.

For his part, Alberto González has also urged attention to climate change, a reality that is already deeply affecting and for which very little time is available to prevent its consequences from becoming irreversible.

"In other words, climate change should be at the center of the European agenda and the decarbonisation of the energy sector become a priority objective", he stressed.

Of course, the CES counselor has indicated that when setting the objectives one must be very careful, because there are deep asymmetries in the field of emissions and that can generate imbalances of different kinds.

For example, González has explained that already developed countries that are now focused on reducing emissions and those that have industrialized more recently demand greater emission capacities that do not hinder their trajectory or competitiveness (USA-EU/China-Asia conflict). .

On the other hand, González has indicated that climate change has unsuspected side effects with a multiplying effect of threats related, for example, to migratory flows or human conflicts.

"The truth is that, in a growing global demographic framework, energy consumption is skyrocketing. And, according to all prospective studies, if the current generation paradigms are not changed quickly, the situation can become very complicated," he said. warned.