© Reuters. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez speaks during a Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event at the Cervantes Institute in Manhattan, New York, USA, July 21, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly
By Belén Carreño and Clara-Laeila Laudette
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Spain’s recovery plan needs the support of US investment, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday during a trip to the United States, highlighting the improvement in his country’s economic prospects.
Spain’s economy grew approximately 2.4% in the second quarter from the previous three months as it recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is on track to grow 6% this year and 7 % in 2022, Sánchez said Wednesday.
Employment grew 4.9% in the same period, he told a Reuters Newsmaker event, expressing hope that Spain will soon become “the fastest growing economy in the developed world” with the support of government reforms. , planned in areas such as work. pensions and environment.
Spain was one of the countries that suffered the most from the first wave of the pandemic last year, and its subsequent strict closure led to a record 10.8% drop in GDP last year.
Sánchez said Spain aims to attract $ 500 billion in private investment to complement a recovery program funded with aid from the European Union, and hopes that modernization projects spanning education, energy and digitization will attract US investors.
Spain will receive a total of 140 billion euros (165 billion dollars) in European recovery funds, half of them in grants. This year, Spain will receive 19,000 million euros.
Sánchez met in New York with several top investors, including Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc (NYSE :). He will continue his tour in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he will meet with CEOs from the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley.
Sánchez said that Spain will allocate 40% of its European recovery funds to projects related to sustainability and the environment.
However, he highlighted the contradictions of some of the measures proposed in Europe to fight climate change, in particular a proposal for a carbon tax, a tax on energy brought in from third countries where the ‘cleanliness’ of the production.
Spain was one of the first countries to request a tax of this type in Europe.
“It’s a question of having a level playing field – in Europe we don’t feel like we are playing with the same level of protection,” he said, referring to competitors in Asia.
However, Sánchez warned that the policy could have a “regressive” effect by harming low-income consumers and said European leaders should consider the potential impacts.
“It is key that this transition has an inclusive and not elitist perspective,” he said.
Noting the end of coal mining in Spain, which included a compensation fund for former coal workers, Sánchez said similar mechanisms might be needed to minimize the potential for deepening inequality from the proposed carbon tax.
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