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Spain is asking Brussels to extend EU investment efforts until 2026

Spain is asking the European Commission to extend investment efforts to save the industry beyond 2026, the period in which European funds approved to tackle the pandemic crisis must be implemented. That’s what Pedro Sánchez’s government sums it up in a working document it sent to Brussels on Wednesday to negotiate a plan for the Group of 27 to deal with the United States’ Inflationary Reduction Act (IRA). Priorities to increase the competitiveness of the European economy include the reform of the electricity market for Spain and the promotion of “key sectors” such as semiconductors, electric vehicles or renewable energy, which will also allow progress towards strategic autonomy far away on the continent. Faced with competition from China or the US.

“The reform of the electricity market is a top priority because it addresses the main competitive disadvantage of European industry,” says Spain, which wants to lead the debate and has already prepared a proposal proposing fixed prices for nuclear and hydro. Avoid their benefits falling from the sky. The government criticizes the current model, in which prices rise and there is great volatility, leading to “costly and unsustainable” aid programs. That is why it claims to give investors the “right signals” and predict the benefits of the energy transition.

If the reform of the electricity market is one of the discussions that the EU has ahead, perhaps the most pressing one is related to the specific response given to the protectionist plan of Joe Biden and which it is divided. Countries like Germany are committed to debt relief, while others are reluctant to base the plan on aid. “Massive public and private investment is necessary to realize the objectives of the recovery plan and ensure an advantage in key sectors,” the Spanish document said, with semiconductors, electric vehicles and renewable energy among the key aspects of the plans.

What Spain defends is to improve the processes of access to state aid and European funds to speed up their investments and the framework of action to be limited in time and targeted at specific sectors. This is an idea that is repeated in the document now sent to Brussels: “State aid rules should ensure an accelerated procedure for strategic projects of the recovery plan and for key sectors that provide great strategic, technological and energy autonomy. such as renewable energy, semiconductors or electric cars”.

In addition to promoting access, Spain wants aid to go beyond the 140,000 million euros set for the next generation EU, which must be implemented by 2026. In fact, the government’s intention is to extend the PERTE performance deadline for electricity. A vehicle that expires in May 2025. A limit that has alarmed employers in the sector. “I can say that we are in negotiations with the European Commission, which have results, and we are going to expand Perth so that the investments have more time to develop, maybe we will leave at the end of 2027 or even. in 2028”, he said. This Friday, the minister will attend the tourism sector conference, reports Servimedia.

The Sánchez government welcomes the general outline of a proposal made last week by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the plan, which Brussels plans to formally announce on February 1 and which the leaders of the 27 will discuss at a summit. It is planned for the 9th and 10th of the same month.

Among the measures outlined by von der Leyen were a commitment to the United States and other strategic partners on raw materials, a zero-emissions law to plan European clean technologies until 2030 and a temporary framework for state aid. “We welcome the reform of the state aid framework so that it preserves the single market, is temporary and ambitious for the green and digital transition in strategic sectors,” the government notes.

The worry in Spain and other countries is that the single market will break up because some countries have more opportunities to save their industries than others. For this reason, among Spain’s demands is that the temporary aid framework contain transparent criteria that “avoid” distorting the equal opportunities of member states to finance strategic projects of companies from at least two European countries or be limited to only. Certain sectors, among others.

For now, the draft conclusions of the European Council include “simplification, faster and predictability” of procedures for access to state aid and specifically mentions important projects of common European interest, as well as “flexibility” of currently available funds. To guarantee “solidarity”, the document includes SURE funds, an instrument created to finance ERTEs during the pandemic, as a successful tool to address this challenge.

Source: El Diario





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