Madrid – Facing resurgent virus infections, Spain’s government has unveiled an EU-funded recovery plan aimed at creating over 800,000 new jobs and yanking the country out of its worst economic slump in decades.
The pandemic has pulverised Spain’s tourism-dependent economy, with the government warning Tuesday that GDP would fall by 11.2 percent this year, down from a previous prediction in May of a 9.2 percent decline.
It sees unemployment rising in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy to 17.1 percent, from 14.1 percent last year, and only dropping to 16.9 percent through 2021.
Against this grim backdrop, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced his government planned to create over 800,000 new jobs over the next three years with the 140 billion euros in grants and loans Spain will receive from the 750-billion-euro rescue plan agreed by the European Union in July for member states.
A first block of 72 billion euros will be used between 2021 and 2023 to finance “projects which can be executed in three years and which favour the modernisation and the creation of jobs,” he said, unveiling the government rescue plan.
The entire 140 billion euros will be used between 2021 and 2026 to modernise the economy and “transform the hard blow of the pandemic into an enormous opportunity,” Sanchez added.
“It is not just about recovering the GDP that the pandemic tore from us, it is about growing in a new way…more sustainable,” the prime minister said.
Nearly a third of the all the money received from the EU will go towards the economy’s digital transformation while over 37 percent will be used to transition to greener energy sources, in alignment with targets set by the European Commission.