MADRID – The Spanish plan for the European cohesion funds finally gets the green light from Brussels. The European Commission has approved the Spanish government’s plan for the period 2021-2027. Therefore, it is now set to receive over €37 billion.
Based on the plan, the government will receive an amount of €37.3 billion. This will be used in structural and regional funds to accelerate the ecological transition, finance innovation and digitalisation, increase labour participation and improve the local social economy.
Half of the money goes to the autonomous regions with the lowest gross domestic product. These are Andalucia, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, Ceuta and Melilla. Furthermore, as an outermost region, the Canary Islands will receive an additional allocation of €673 million. This is to deal with the socio-economic consequences of their distance from the continent.
With the approval of the Spanish plan, 24 member states have now received approval from the European Commission. The only three countries waiting for this procedure are Luxembourg, Portugal and Hungary.
€9 billion towards ecological transition
In the Spanish case, of the €37.3 billion, some €9 billion will be allocated to the ecological transition. Of this, €1.8 billion will be used to help Spain meet its target of 39.5% primary energy savings by 2030. This goal is set out in the Spanish integrated energy and climate plan.
A further €3.3 billion will be allocated to the promotion of renewable energy with a target of 74% of electricity coming from this type of source by 2030.
There will also be money for natural disaster prevention and response to floods, fires and droughts. The plan also includes €870 million, charged to the Just Transition Fund, to support the just economic transition.
For example, this item will be used to support regions that have closed or are planning to close coal mines, carbon-intensive industrial plants and coal-fired power stations. This includes those in the following provinces;
- La Coruña
- Balearic Islands
Growth and employment
The Spanish plan also envisages allocating €8.5 billion to boost the growth, competitiveness and productivity of small and medium-sized businesses through investments that promote research and innovation in high-value-added sectors, and €11.3 billion in particular to promote cohesion and employment of women, young people, the low-skilled and people with a migrant background.
For example, there will be employment incentives that encourage the hiring of the long-term unemployed and people belonging to vulnerable groups. Below are people with disabilities. The conversion of internship contracts into permanent contracts is also being encouraged to support the new labour market reform in Spain.
In addition, €4 billion can be used to help improve the living conditions of vulnerable people. This is done by offering global integration pathways and strengthening social services. Of this, around 1 billion will be used specifically to fight poverty and ensure children’s right to education and access to social services, in line with the European Child Guarantee.
The funding will also improve the quality and effectiveness of primary care. It will support the construction, renovation and improvement of health centres and hospitals. In addition, it will enable Spain to invest in the necessary equipment for specialised care.
Finally, the regional fund package also provides €1.1 million to increase the resilience of the fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors in Spain.