A delegation from the Economic and Social Council (CES) headed by its new president, Antón Costas, delivered this Wednesday to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the Socioeconomic and Labor Report 2020, a report that portrays the “scars” that the The pandemic has caused both in Spanish society and its economy. Costas described his meeting with Sánchez as “productive” during a subsequent talk with various media outlets, among which EL PAÍS was present.
Along with Costas, Raymond Torres, director of Situation and International Analysis of Funcas, a member of the CES and president of the commission that has prepared the Report, went to the meeting with the press, who outlined the main lines of the report. Among them is the request for a roadmap for fiscal consolidation “that dispels doubts about the sustainability of public debt and generates confidence in the economy.” In the same way, it also warns of the need to reformulate the current ERTE scheme for the future, to direct them towards the relocation of suspended workers, currently 542,142, according to the latest Social Security data.
“Social dialogue has shown that it works to respond to a challenge such as the pandemic,” Costas said at first. However, he warned that “this crisis is going to leave overwhelming social scars that do not have to be lasting if decisions are made under the social agreement.” So that this does not occur, Costas defended that the agreements reached so far between the Government and social agents must be maintained in the future and continue to be the cornerstone on which new starting points for the economy are established. Among them are the reconfiguration of the labor market and the transformation of the production model.
Both Costas and Torres predicted that the temporary employment regulation files (ERTE), which have sustained workers and companies during the pandemic, should be oriented in the near future (they spoke of the end of summer) towards a more educational aspect that allows workers workers improve their skills. “We have detected that those workers who remain in ERTE for more than a year do not return to their job,” Torres pointed out. “Active employment policies must take over from ERTE,” said Costas.
Build on the foundation
The Funcas economist explained that the arrival of European funds gives rise to the execution of all those changes that have remained frozen due to lack of resources in recent years. However, the president of the CES warned that the change in the production model should not go through the abandonment of key sectors for the country’s economy such as tourism. “You have to build on the basis of what you have, not throw everything down,” he added. In this regard, the CES report affirms that the recovery will be asymmetric by sector and anticipates that tourism will not return to its pre-pandemic level until the end of 2022.
Regarding the impact of measures aimed at reinforcing the social shield, such as the Minimum Living Income (IMV), Costas regretted that “it has not been able to reach the objective”, and therefore, ordered a review that allows it to be compatible with other benefits which are also destined to alleviate the extreme poverty that thousands of people have experienced during the pandemic. “The CES calls for a comprehensive strategy of social cohesion to protect the most vulnerable,” says the document.
Regarding the entry into the labor market of the youngest, Costas defended the figure of vocational training, which he considered essential to respond to the demands of companies, and thus end the overqualification presented by job seekers with less age and which is derived, according to Costas, “from the direction of the educational system towards the university career, and which also generates a high rate of school dropout”.