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Spain Unveils Plan to Spend 140 Billion Euros, A Pioneering Child Protection Law, and the Launching of the COVID-19 Digital Green Certificate in June

Spain Unveils Plan to Spend 140 Billion Euros, A Pioneering Child Protection Law, and the Launching of the COVID-19 Digital Green Certificate in June
Spain Unveils Plan to Spend 140 Billion Euros, A Pioneering Child Protection Law, and the Launching of the COVID-19 Digital Green Certificate in June

Dear Expat,

What can a depressed economy do with an injection of €140bn to be spent over three years? The answer came at a press conference on Tuesday, during which Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez suggested we should better brace ourselves for the most profound economic transformation since Spain joined the EU almost 40 years ago. In the meantime, there are other equally groundbreaking reasons to celebrate. The Congress of Deputies passed the pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law, also known as “Rhode’s Law”, in honour of the Madrid-based British pianist who championed the campaign that led to today’s historic legislation. And finally, the EU’s Digital Green Certificate, due to come into force in June, will boost our ailing tourism sector.Spain news in english

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published on Fridays to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the week.

A Plan to Rescue A COVID-19-hit Economy with €140bn

Spain is set to receive 140 billion euros from the European Recovery Plan, €72 billion in grants and €68 billion in loans. As one of the countries hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is one of the major beneficiaries of the 750 billion package for COVID-19 recovery adopted by EU leaders last year, called Next Generation EU. 

On Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez set out the guidelines of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (RTRP). And he did so even though this longed-for shower of millions is yet to be ratified by all 27 members. In late March, the German Federal Constitutional Court paused the ratification process sine die, which means the funds will not be available until the third quarter of 2021 or even until 2022. 

Drawing inspiration from the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the plan seeks to revive and modernise the wretched Spanish economy, heavily dependent on the service sector and distressed by other crippling structural problems, notably the labour market. 

 

The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is the most ambitious attempt at modernising the Spanish economy since it joined the EU almost 40 years ago

 

With high unemployment rates among young people and those aged over 50, a high percentage of the long-term unemployed, low-skilled workforce, and a high level of temporary employees, the plan includes a total of 110 large investment projects and involves 102 planned reforms that “will have an immediate impact on jobs this year”, said Pedro Sánchez during the press conference. 

“This plan is the greatest opportunity for Spain since it joined the EU, and that was 37 years ago”, he added. Sánchez is pinning his hopes on a plan that he sees as a catalyst to right the wrongs of an economic model resulting from the 2008 crisis. “In 2020, the negative effects of the ‘austericide’ became evident in the weakness of our welfare state,” said Sánchez. “We have learned that the real solution lies in undoing the mistakes of the past”.

The RTTP is structured around four transversal axes that will provide the backbone for the transformation of the economy as a whole —ecological transition, digital transformation, gender equality, and social and territorial cohesion. It also features ten structural reform levers that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth, promoting the decarbonization of the economy, and digitization. 

Over the next three years, 39% of the €72 billion in grants will be invested in ecological transition and 29% in digital transformation. About 13 billion euros will be earmarked for electric cars, the building of renewable energy capacity and hydrogen projects. Another 6.8 billion will be allocated for housing renovation projects to achieve greater efficiency, €4.3 billion to streamline government agencies, €4 billion for the digitalization of small- and medium-sized businesses, and €4 billion to roll out 5G technology.

The European Commission has made the funds conditional on major reforms on labour, pensions, and taxes. The Spanish government, however, has not provided information on how these sensitive reforms will play out. 

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go.
Sign up to Dearexpat,

Spain Passes Pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law

On Thursday, Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, passed a historic and pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law, also known as the “Rhodes Law” in recognition of the campaigning by British concert pianist James Rhodes in defence of children rights.

The bill seeks to promote a paradigm shift in the same way the 2004 gender violence law contributed to changing attitudes towards violence against women. It comes just over a month after the Euthanasia Law was passed, adding another milestone to the expansion of individual rights and setting a precedent for similar legislation in other countries. The closest example is Norway, which has developed a protection strategy for the family and educational environment.

The vast majority of lawmakers supported the bill —268 votes in favour, 57 votes against it from extreme-right party Vox and the Basque nationalist party PNV due to competence issues, and 16 abstentions.

«This law is an enormous step – not just for Spain, but for the world,» James Rhodes, who was abused by a teacher while at school in the UK, told Spanish news channel RTVE.

 

 

 

Ver esta publicación en Instagram

 

Una publicación compartida de James Rhodes (@jrhodespianist)

However, Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra said the law «must continue to be improved» as it is debated in Spain’s Senate. «The objective of the law we are passing today is to understand that violence against children is not acceptable in any form», she said.

Under the new bill, serious crimes against minors, including paedophilia, will not go unpunished. Survivors will be able to report abuse for up to 15 years after turning 35 instead of 18. It will also create special courts for cases involving violence against children and adolescents and reduce the number of times that children under the age of 14 must testify to just one to avoid re-traumatising them.

The new legislation guarantees the rights of children and adolescents against any form of violence, from physical punishment to sexual violence and cyberbullying, and includes measures to increase awareness and facilitate detection, protection and reparation to victims.

The bill also introduces the duty to report. Any citizen who notices signs of violence will be obliged to report it to the authorities. Minors themselves may also report without the need to be accompanied by an adult.

A Digital Green Certificate to be Operational in June

Good news for the tourism industry. The European Union’s Digital Green Certificate will come into force in June. The aim is to facilitate safe and free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic within the EU. 

The Digital Green Certificate will be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19 that can be used across all EU Member States. 

Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, is optimistic that tourism will be reactivated thanks to this certificate and the vaccination programme. “These measures will allow us to reopen safely and be pioneers.»

The document will come in the form of a free QR code certifying the bearer has received a vaccine, has recovered from the virus or has recently had a negative test result. Thus they won’t have to go into quarantine or take a coronavirus test when coming to Spain. 

Meanwhile, as we all feared, the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is gaining pace. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 10,474 new infections and a higher 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, now standing at 201. The worst-off regions are Navarra (436), Madrid (348) and the Basque Country (358), whereas only the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Galicia and Murcia are under the 100 mark.

The Spanish government was expecting to speed up the vaccination campaign thanks to the Janssen vaccine but following the reporting of six cases of rare blood clots in the United States, one of which was lethal, Johnson & Johnson announced it was putting the rollout of the vaccine in Europe on hold. 

«Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of our vaccine,» adding: «In addition, we have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities. We have decided to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe», said the company in a statement on Tuesday. 

Spain received over 145,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine on Wednesday but will be kept in storage until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announces next week regarding the vaccine’s safety, the Spanish Health Ministry said.

Over 95% of people over 80 has received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines. People in their seventies, who account for almost four million people, are now being called to receive their first dose. In the meantime, the AstraZeneca jab is being used for people between 60 and 69 years of age.

Dear Expat,

What can a depressed economy do with an injection of €140bn to be spent over three years? The answer came at a press conference on Tuesday, during which Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez suggested we should better brace ourselves for the most profound economic transformation since Spain joined the EU almost 40 years ago. In the meantime, there are other equally groundbreaking reasons to celebrate. The Congress of Deputies passed the pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law, also known as “Rhode’s Law”, in honour of the Madrid-based British pianist who championed the campaign that led to today’s historic legislation. And finally, the EU’s Digital Green Certificate, due to come into force in June, will boost our ailing tourism sector.

A Plan to Rescue A COVID-19-hit Economy with €140bn

Spain is set to receive 140 billion euros from the European Recovery Plan, €72 billion in grants and €68 billion in loans. As one of the countries hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is one of the major beneficiaries of the 750 billion package for COVID-19 recovery adopted by EU leaders last year, called Next Generation EU. 

On Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez set out the guidelines of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (RTRP). And he did so even though this longed-for shower of millions is yet to be ratified by all 27 members. In late March, the German Federal Constitutional Court paused the ratification process sine die, which means the funds will not be available until the third quarter of 2021 or even until 2022. 

Drawing inspiration from the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the plan seeks to revive and modernise the wretched Spanish economy, heavily dependent on the service sector and distressed by other crippling structural problems, notably the labour market. 

 

The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan is the most ambitious attempt at modernising the Spanish economy since it joined the EU almost 40 years ago

 

With high unemployment rates among young people and those aged over 50, a high percentage of the long-term unemployed, low-skilled workforce, and a high level of temporary employees, the plan includes a total of 110 large investment projects and involves 102 planned reforms that “will have an immediate impact on jobs this year”, said Pedro Sánchez during the press conference. 

“This plan is the greatest opportunity for Spain since it joined the EU, and that was 37 years ago”, he added. Sánchez is pinning his hopes on a plan that he sees as a catalyst to right the wrongs of an economic model resulting from the 2008 crisis. “In 2020, the negative effects of the ‘austericide’ became evident in the weakness of our welfare state,” said Sánchez. “We have learned that the real solution lies in undoing the mistakes of the past”.

The RTTP is structured around four transversal axes that will provide the backbone for the transformation of the economy as a whole —ecological transition, digital transformation, gender equality, and social and territorial cohesion. It also features ten structural reform levers that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth, promoting the decarbonization of the economy, and digitization. 

Over the next three years, 39% of the €72 billion in grants will be invested in ecological transition and 29% in digital transformation. About 13 billion euros will be earmarked for electric cars, the building of renewable energy capacity and hydrogen projects. Another 6.8 billion will be allocated for housing renovation projects to achieve greater efficiency, €4.3 billion to streamline government agencies, €4 billion for the digitalization of small- and medium-sized businesses, and €4 billion to roll out 5G technology.

The European Commission has made the funds conditional on major reforms on labour, pensions, and taxes. The Spanish government, however, has not provided information on how these sensitive reforms will play out. 

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,

Spain Passes Pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law

On Thursday, Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, passed a historic and pioneering Child and Adolescent Protection Law, also known as the “Rhodes Law” in recognition of the campaigning by British concert pianist James Rhodes in defence of children rights.

The bill seeks to promote a paradigm shift in the same way the 2004 gender violence law contributed to changing attitudes towards violence against women. It comes just over a month after the Euthanasia Law was passed, adding another milestone to the expansion of individual rights and setting a precedent for similar legislation in other countries. The closest example is Norway, which has developed a protection strategy for the family and educational environment.

The vast majority of lawmakers supported the bill —268 votes in favour, 57 votes against it from extreme-right party Vox and the Basque nationalist party PNV due to competence issues, and 16 abstentions.

«This law is an enormous step – not just for Spain, but for the world,» James Rhodes, who was abused by a teacher while at school in the UK, told Spanish news channel RTVE.

 

 

Ver esta publicación en Instagram

 

Una publicación compartida de James Rhodes (@jrhodespianist)

 

However, Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra said the law «must continue to be improved» as it is debated in Spain’s upper house. «The objective of the law we are passing today is to understand that violence against children is not acceptable in any form,» she said.

Under the new bill, serious crimes against minors, including pedophilia, won’t go unpunished. Survivors will be able to report abuse for up to 15 years after turning 35 instead of 18. It will also create special courts for cases involving violence against children and adolescents and reduce the number of times that children under the age of 14 must testify to just one to avoid retraumatising them.

The new legislation guarantees the rights of children and adolescents against any form of violence, from physical punishment to sexual violence and cyberbullying, and includes measures for awareness, detection, protection and reparation to victims.

The bill also introduces the duty to report. Any citizen who notices signs of violence will be obliged to report it to the authorities. Minors themselves may also report without the need to be accompanied by an adult.

A Digital Green Certificate to be Operational in June

Good news for the tourism industry. The European Union’s Digital Green Certificate will come into force in June. The aim is to facilitate safe and free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic within the EU. 

The Digital Green Certificate will be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19 that can be used across all EU Member States. 

Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, is optimistic that tourism will be reactivated thanks to this certificate and the vaccination programme. “These measures will allow us to reopen safely and be pioneers.»

The document will come in the form of a free QR code certifying the bearer has received a vaccine, has recovered from the virus or has recently had a negative test result. Thus they won’t have to go into quarantine or take a coronavirus test when coming to Spain. 

Meanwhile, as we all feared, the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is gaining pace. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 10,474 new infections and a higher 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, now standing at 201. The worst-off regions are Navarra (436), Madrid (348) and the Basque Country (358), whereas only the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Galicia and Murcia are under the 100 mark.

The Spanish government was expecting to speed up the vaccination campaign thanks to the Janssen vaccine but following the reporting of six cases of rare blood clots in the United States, one of which was lethal, Johnson & Johnson announced it was putting the rollout of the vaccine in Europe on hold. 

«Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of our vaccine,» adding: «In addition, we have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities. We have decided to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe», said the company in a statement on Tuesday. 

Spain received over 145,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine on Wednesday but will be kept in storage until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announces next week regarding the vaccine’s safety, the Spanish Health Ministry said.

Over 95% of people over 80 has received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines. People in their seventies, who account for almost four million people, are now being called to receive their first dose. In the meantime, the AstraZeneca jab is being used for people between 60 and 69 years of age.