In the American charm offensive, the Spanish PM highlights the recovery to attract investment
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Spain’s stimulus package needs the backing of U.S. investment, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday during a trip to the United States where he highlighted improving economic prospects from his country.
The Spanish economy grew by around 2.4% in the second quarter compared to the previous three months as it recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is set to grow by 6% this year and 7% in 2022, Sanchez said on Wednesday.
Employment grew 4.9% over the same period, he told a Reuters Newsmaker event, expressing hope that Spain would soon become “the fastest growing economy. rapid development “with the support of government reforms, planned in areas such as labor, retirement and environment.
Spain was one of the countries that suffered the most from the first wave of the pandemic last year, and its ensuing strict lockdown resulted in a record GDP drop of 10.8% last year .
Sanchez said Spain aims to attract $ 500 billion in private investment to complement a stimulus program funded by European Union aid, and he hoped that modernization projects covering education, the energy and digitization would attract American investors.
Spain will receive a total of 140 billion euros ($ 165 billion) in European stimulus funds, half of which in grants. This year, Spain is expected 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 CEOs from the entertainment industry and Silicon. Valley.
Sanchez said Spain will allocate 40% of its European stimulus funds to projects related to sustainability and the environment.
However, he underlined the contradictions of certain measures proposed in Europe to fight against climate change, in particular a carbon tax proposal, a tax on energy imported from third countries where the “cleanliness” of production could not be certified.
Spain was one of the first countries to demand such a tax in Europe.
“It’s about having a level playing field – in Europe we don’t feel like we’re playing with the same level of protection,” he said, referring to Asian competitors.
However, Sanchez warned that the policy could have a “regressive” effect by hurting low-income consumers and said EU leaders need to consider the potential impacts.
âIt is essential that this transition has an inclusive and non-elitist perspective,â he said.
Highlighting the end of coal mining in Spain, which included a compensation fund for former coal workers, Sanchez said similar mechanisms may be needed to minimize the potential for worsening inequalities from the proposed carbon tax. .
Reporting by John Foley in New York, Belen CarreÃ±o and Clara-Laeila Laudette in Madrid, editing by Andrei Khalip and Richard Pullin