The Community awaits the distribution of the European ‘Next Generation’ funds that Brussels already approved in 2020, with a global package of 750,000 million euros, to alleviate the economic effects of the pandemic. Spain will receive 140,000 million euros until 2027, of which 72,000 million euros will go to loss and 68,000 in loans. It should be noted that it is the country of the European Union, after Italy, that will receive the largest endowment from this injection of money.
The regional executive presented the central government with a list of more than a thousand projects within the ‘NextCarm’ strategy, totaling more than 15,000 million euros, to qualify for European funds. This plan, which consists of 148 of its own initiatives and more than 900 of the contribution of public consultation, looks forward to the construction of a more digital, greener and more structured Region of Murcia.
While waiting for the mode and date of the distribution of the 140,000 million euros among the autonomous communities, the 2021 Budgets already contemplate a section of 27,000 million euros in that concept, although the distribution will be made when the EU approves and ratifies the strategy that Spain has to present before April 30.
The great benefits of the European plan
On the status of the ‘Next Generation’ funds and the amount that the Community will receive, as well as the scope that the development of the 1,051 regional initiatives will have for practical purposes, was discussed yesterday in the ‘webinar’ organized by LA VERDAD and with the sponsorship of Banco Sabadell. Moderated by the head of the newspaper’s Local area, Manuel Buitrago, Carmelo Vera, regional director of Murcia Center of the entity, spoke at the beginning, who welcomed the public (the event attracted a high following) and the speakers: Javier Celdrán, Minister of Economy, Finance and Digital Administration of the Community; Blanca Montero, deputy general manager and head of European Funds of Sabadell; José María Albarracín, president of Croem; Miguel López Abad, president of the Murcia Chamber of Commerce, and Ramón Madrid, dean of the Association of Economists of the Region of Murcia.
The administrations will upload the data on the evolution of the projects into a computerized management system
The ‘Next Generation’ plan was born with the mission of strengthening the business fabric, benefiting many sectors and helping both large companies and SMEs and the self-employed, since everyone is eligible for aid. «The funds are a fundamental lever to overcome the current crisis, with the objectives of promoting convergence, resilience and transformation of the economy, hence the projects presented must fit into the frameworks defined by the European Union of the ecological transition , digitization, social and territorial cohesion, and gender equality ”, said Carmelo Vera.
In line, Montero stressed that “they are an advance within the European construction for countries to take coordinated and homogeneous measures”, which will result in the modernization of productive capital: “We as a nation risk future competitiveness,” he warned.
The counselor Celdrán reported the opening of the regional office ‘NextCarm’, still without a date, where answers will be given to the questions that companies have about European funds. He indicated that it will be transversal, with departments from different ministries, including Info, because these grants will be managed publicly, privately and also through public-private collaboration. He criticized the opacity of the central Executive regarding “how, when, to whom, why and in what way the funds will arrive” and also asked him for “speed in the execution process.” Because “the amount being considered is so large that the possibility of executing them is out of hand, given that in the next three years we will receive five times more structural funds, although to spend them in half the term”, He expressed, then put in value the injection of money from Brussels: «It fills us with enthusiasm and serves to rethink what we want as a continent; that’s the nice part.
The Banco Sabadell expert Blanca Montero highlighted the high participation of administrations and social and economic agents, including chambers of commerce, business organizations, professional associations and universities, in the drafting of regional plans: « This collaboration to unite interests has not been seen in other times. He took advantage of his intervention to delve into some challenges presented by the ‘Next Generation’ funds: the amount, because “it has conditionality regarding what reforms have to be carried out, how they have to be invested and what impacts the milestones have”; the time period (until 2027), taking into account that public procurement involves a series of phases; and the search for green, digital, social and equality transformation. However, Montero recalled that Sabadell has enabled a free portal (fondorecuperacioneuropeo.bancsabadell.com) where companies can find out about European funds.
The president of Croem insisted that the recovery fund has to “help the consolidation of current activities and promote alternative options taking advantage of the push of digitization and innovation.” In this sense, Albarracín listed areas such as knowledge, employment, food, health, logistics, new energies, water and tourism. “We have business muscle and capabilities, and we must know how to take advantage of it and take it to all productive sectors,” he inspired. Similarly, he sent a message to the central government requesting “maximum transparency” in the distribution of European aid “so that they reach pyramidal, especially to SMEs, micro-SMEs and the self-employed, because they represent more than 90% of the country’s industrial fabric ». Because, he trusts, that the ‘Next Generation’ funds “will give Spain the opportunity to get out of the crisis caused by the Covid pandemic.”
The president of the Murcia Chamber of Commerce joined the voices that ask the Executive of Spain for transparency in the distribution of European funds to the autonomous communities, because “we are waiting for them like May water,” he said. “We are a benchmark industrial fabric with immense potential, so it is an ideal time for Murcia to take a step forward with the help of these funds,” remarked López Abad, who reiterated the importance of the chambers of commerce as a link between large companies and SMEs, as well as due to their public nature, capillarity and experience in managing aid. He concluded his intervention by announcing that tomorrow the ICT Business portal of the Murcia Chamber of Commerce will be launched, with information for the industry, businesses and services, and that the Acelera Pyme Office will open shortly, for the advice and digital impulse of the SMEs, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
The dean of the Association of Economists of the Region of Murcia warned that the most ambitious fiscal stimulus project ever adopted by the European Union, the ‘Next Generation’ funds, will have to be returned in some way. “We have to go thinking that we are going to have new taxes, such as plastic, because the EU has to finance it,” he said, and then make it clear that “there is nothing as a gift.” In his opinion, he also does not see very correct that SMEs opt for aid from Brussels, mainly “because of the requirements that the EU will then ask for to control the funds; It would be too much to ask and I don’t think it’s the right path, “he reasoned, although he advised those who do aspire to that injection of money to surround themselves with economists and entities such as Sabadell or public organizations such as Info. He also put on the table the” big problem “, He described,” if we are not able to properly manage the funds “, because, in that case,” they could ask us to reimburse some of them. ”
The regional government, recalled the counselor Celdrán, has drawn a roadmap with the challenges to be achieved through the support of ‘Next Generation’. «To become a benchmark sustainable energy industrial center in Europe, focusing on hydrogen, biofuels, gas and renewable energies; consolidate ourselves as world leaders in water efficiency and in the use of disruptive technology adapted to the agri-food sector; to become one of the most important sustainable logistics hubs in the Mediterranean, promoting intermodality and multiplying exports; transform the tourism model into a mix of experiences (heritage, gastronomy, climate …), and promote the digital transformation towards Administration 4.0 to be more efficient, accessible and fast, ”he explained.
From the business world, Albarracín confessed that “the recovery plan has been well received” and that his main requests focus on aspects such as “promoting permanent hiring; fight against unemployment, school dropouts and the underground economy, and bet on research, innovation and digitization ”. For his part, López Abad stressed the public nature, capillarity and experience of the Murcia Chamber of Commerce for the transfer of funds: “They must arrive now because they are necessary to help our companies in this complicated situation.”
The distribution of the aid will be 54% for the communities, 4% for the municipalities and the rest for the State
The dean Madrid sent a message of encouragement to SMEs so that they do not doubt whether or not to opt for European funds, “which are important and we have to take advantage of them,” he said, while highlighting how “problematic” they may seem from the design phase to audit control. For this reason, he highlighted the figure of economists as sentinels of the entire process to avoid that “by not carrying out all the processes correctly there is a loss of financing”.
Experts ask for more information and specifics
Counselor Celdrán criticized the “little information” that the central government has given on the distribution of ‘Next Generation’ funds. “The autonomous communities are supposed to have an important role, but no one has specifically told us how we are going to act. At the moment, we do not know what windows or procedures there will be, they have only told us that there will be competitive procedures and competition and that they will transfer funds to us with sectoral conferences and they will tell us exactly what can be financed and in what way, “he explained.
Even so, he announced, after participating this Monday in the sectoral conference of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the implementation of a computer management system in which the regional administrations will dump the data requested by Brussels to notify the evolution of the Projects. Likewise, Celdrán announced that the regional Executive foresees the creation ‘sine die’ of the ‘NextCarm’ office, “which will be transversal and with departments from different ministries, including the Development Institute.”
Montero replied that the Twenty-seven have until April 30 to submit their final strategies to the European Commission, so “it is logical that until it is presented and approved, it is risky that they begin to launch calls and grant aid.” “The plan is complex because it requires public-private, inter-ministerial and inter-administration coordination,” he justified, and then stated that the communities “are going to play an important role, since they are going to distribute 54% of the funds (one 4% for municipalities and the rest for the State), with transferred powers that will be essential for them to do themselves. In addition, he appealed to “co-responsibility” so that the national plan is fulfilled, since the Spanish Government will have to render accounts to Brussels periodically.
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