The Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, highlighted this afternoon in her first intervention in the Economic Affairs Committee of the Congress of Deputies of this legislature that the Spanish economy endures the economic slowdown with greater strength than other countries and has framed the cooling of growth since its 2015 highs in the progressive maturation of the cycle and in a convergence towards potential growth. In addition, he stressed that international organizations, with their forecasts (the most recent, this morning from the European Commission), coincide with the Government that supports the positive trend of economic growth.
In addition, beyond the estimated figures of GDP expansion for this year and the following, Calviño has stated that right now Spain grows on more robust bases than in the past, since now both the foreign sector and domestic demand are contributing positively to GDP, something that has not happened since 2016. He also stressed that now the Spanish economy is growing without bubbles and without inflationary tensions, unlike other times in the past .
This growth of domestic GDP has been accompanied, as he has reported, by a great dynamism in job creation, having already reached 20 million employed, one million more than ten years ago, and without construction now contributing so many jobs I work as in the past. Regarding the labor market, Calviño has shared some forecasts: he has estimated that in the legislature, that is, until 2023, 1.2 million jobs will be created, which will lower the unemployment rate by two points, up to 12%.
But on labor issues too, Minister Calviño seemed to open the door to the possibility that there may be different interprofessional minimum wages by sectors. Although he has defended the market unit and that in all the autonomies there is the same interprofessional minimum wage (SMI), he said that, «without prejudice to specific sectors being specifically treated».
Regarding its priorities, it has announced a main line: inclusive growth. «It is not growing at any price», has assured. “It must be a sustainable growth” financially, socially and environmentally, he has listed a “balanced and sustainable growth, which leaves no one behind and does not deplete natural resources,” he said. “That is the philosophy of the economic agenda of this Government,” he insisted.
He has also used other adjectives and phrases to define his Government in economic matters: “Predictable” and that “builds trust”. And it has referred to the results of its management in recent months, those of the Government after the motion of censure, in which the rating has improved and the risk premium of the Spanish debt has fallen. He has also mentioned the participation of international investors in the latest Treasury issues, especially in the syndicate of a few weeks ago, with record demand figures and low interest rates.
The minister is committed to fiscal discipline to reduce debt and deficit and has reproduced the path of budgetary stability approved in the Council of Ministers on Tuesday and that proposes to reduce the imbalance of public accounts to place it below 1% at the end of the legislature and a decrease in debt on the GDP until placing it below 90% in the same period. In that sense, the minister has revealed that public debt closed last year below 96% of GDP.
“Our government action will be directed towards the objective of combining inclusive growth and sustainability of public accounts,” Calviño has synthesized.
For this reason, he said, the reduction of the deficit and the debt must be compatible with measures to tackle the increase in inequality and poverty that has been dragging on since the beginning of the economic crisis. And he recalled a recent report from the International Monetary Fund, which insisted on the need to improve the social protection of the most vulnerable.
And finally, he referred to the need to address structural reforms to meet the most urgent and medium-term challenges. In this sense, he has affirmed that the international consensus has gone from giving priority to economic growth and then redistributing, in order to consider that both challenges must be tackled simultaneously, with inclusive growth, economic expansion while redistributing.
The Minister of Economy has extended her hand to the deputies: «I want to make clear the best disposition of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation – starting with myself- to reach agreements and to work together». And he has alluded to the social support he perceives to have the general lines of the economic policy of his Government, which has led him to call for that social consensus to be reflected “in a broad agreement of the political groups.”
He has shelled some of the Priority actions of the Ministry of Economy and that they go through the impulse of human capital with training throughout their working life; the protection of natural capital with fair transition policies, which will require the mobilization of an investment volume estimated at 200,000 million euros in the next decade; the development of the productivity of technological capital; the approach to the equity of the labor market, relying on social dialogue to move towards a Statute of Workers of the 21st century; the intergenerational solidarity on which the pension system depends; the closing of the gender gap; the depopulation brake; as well as the reinforcement of the quality of public administration; the improvement of the business climate; the strengthening of non-bank financing; or the momentum of business growth.
Upcoming legislative initiatives
Has also advanced several legislative initiatives, such as the one that seeks the creation of the financial sandbox, a controlled testing environment that allows the combination of the entry of new digital technologies in the financial sector with a regulatory and supervisory framework that guarantees consumer protection and financial stability This project can be processed shortly in the Cortes.
Likewise, he has anticipated the creation of the Financial Client Protection Authority (although he acknowledged that this draft bill “will still take time”).
And also announced regulations and regulations to avoid the emergence of perpetual debts in consumer credit with several measures: on the one hand, to favor access to customer information on revolving credits, and measures to improve the form and responsibility of entities to assess the solvency of their customers.
He has also pointed out that during this term the development of a white paper on economic governance will be addressed.
In addition, Calviño reported that the Government works to strengthen the financial architecture of the State around the Official Credit Institute, with the aim of being able to leverage from the public sector the investment necessary to successfully tackle the ecological transition or digital transformation.