- Title: In U.S. charm offensive, Spanish PM highlights recovery to lure investment
- Date: 22nd July 2021
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITES STATES (JULY 21, 2021) (REUTERS) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER BEING INTERVIEW BY JOHN FOLEY OF REUTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "You know of course vaccination means economic rebound but we also need to understand we cannot do the same things we used to do before the pandemic, we need to modernize our economy and that is why I am here, to explain the economic recovery plan to foreign investors." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "What we need is also the compromise of private investment, we're expecting to leverage more or less 500 billion dollars on private investments and we're looking forward to having the collaboration and participation of the U.S. private sector." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "All the forecasts of international institutions and our own forecast we have for the economic rebound this year and the next year put us in levels of 6% for this year, 7% GDP next year, so you know we are going to be one of the fastest economies in the developed world in the recovery side. So, you know, this is the momentum and also because you know we have the legislative framework and the public funds to modernise our economy." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "We have to learn a lot from the pandemic and also how we are going to modernize our industry and for that it is crucial for the single market and the European economy to have a level playing field that we don't guarantee now with our major competitors, mainly Asia, and that is why, I think from my side, my point of view, it's important to develop this carbon border tax." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "I do believe we have to review some of these propositions made by the commission because in the end it could be a regressive policy and this is very important because as a progressive government it is indeed key that this transition has an inclusive perspective, not an elitist perspective. It is important that all of society, especially the most vulnerable, see these transitions (green/digital) as opportunities and not as an opportunity for a new exclusion." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ, SAYING (ON RIGHTS IN HUNGARY AND POLAND): "The (European) commission which is the guardian of this treaty and those articles must react against those governments that are abusing or weakening these values that are the fundamental values of the European democracy." INTERVIEW IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 5th August 2021 00:32
- Keywords: Sanchez in New York Sanchez visits US Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez investment in Spain
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EMSCCW7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Spain's recovery plan needs the support of U.S. investment, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday (July 21) during a trip to the United States where he highlighted his country's improving economic prospects.
Spain's economy expanded an estimated 2.4% in the second quarter from the preceding three months as it recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is on course to grow 6% this year and 7% in 2022, Sanchez said on Wednesday.
Employment grew by 4.9% in the same period, he told a Reuters Newsmaker event, expressing the hope that Spain would soon become "the fastest-growing economy in the developed world" with the support of government reforms, planned in areas such as labour, pensions, and the environment.
Spain was one of the countries which suffered the most from the first wave of the pandemic last year, and its subsequent strict lockdown led to a record GDP slump of 10.8% last year.
Sanchez said Spain aims to attract $500 billion in private investment to complement a recovery programme financed by European Union aid, and he hoped modernisation projects spanning education, energy, and digitalisation would draw in U.S. investors.
Spain will receive a total of 140 billion euros ($165 billion) in European recovery funds, half of it in grants. This year, Spain is due to receive 19 billion euros.
Sanchez met in New York with several major investors including Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc . He will continue his tour in Los Angeles and San Francisco where he will meet with CEOs from the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley.
Sanchez said Spain would 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 proposed carbon tax, a tax on energy brought in from third countries where the 'cleanliness' of production could not be certified.
Spain was one of the first countries to call for such a tax in Europe.
"It's a matter of having a level playing field - in Europe we don't feel we're playing with the same level of protection," he said, referring to competitors in Asia.
However, Sanchez warned the policy could have a "regressive" effect by hurting low-income consumers and said European leaders needed to consider potential impacts.
"It's key that this transition has an inclusive and not elitist perspective," he said.
Pointing to the end of coal mining in Spain, which included a compensation fund for former coal workers, Sanchez said similar mechanisms may be needed to minimise the inequality-deepening potential of the proposed carbon tax.
Sanchez, whose government has emphasised gender equality and champions diversity was also asked about his view of governments like those in Poland and Hungary which are not upholding European values.
"The (European) commission which is the guardian of this treaty and those articles must react against those governments that are abusing or weakening these values that are the fundamental values of the European democracy," he said.
(Production: John Foley, Catherine Macdonald, Belen Carreno, Clara-Laeila Laudette)
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