The European Commission in Brussels has directly recommended that Spain “increase investment and reinforces their health system” as the coronavirus crisis has both taken its toll on the system and, simultaneously, shown its cracks.
The recommendations outlined in the economic policy recommendations published by the European Commission involves reinforcing both the structure of health professionals as well as the supply of medicines and essential infrastructures.
Brussels has also urged the development of “crisis plans” within the health sector which can include the “improvement of purchasing strategies, diversification of supply chains and the constitution of strategic reserves of essential supplies”.
The socio-economic consequences of the pandemic will have an “uneven” impact among the Spanish regions. The European Commission indicates that the communities on the Mediterranean coast, Andalusia and the islands, where a quarter of all jobs are linked to tourism, will suffer more and have a “stronger risk of aggravating regional disparities”.
The document also proposes that the government should maintain employment, strengthen protection for workers, especially temporary workers, and improve coverage for families with direct aid and the minimum income. The recommendations warn about the risk of poverty for the most vulnerable families, especially those who have children and ask that their access to education be facilitated online.
The Commission has also touched upon autonomous workers and small companies and the report stresses that Spain must protect them, by guaranteeing liquidity and offering public projects that promote private investment and promote economic recovery.
The Community Executive emphasises an ecological transition, digital transformation and the promotion of research, development and innovation within this area. It also calls for an improved level of coordination between the different administrative layers including from the central Government to the autonomous communities and further down to include town councils.
The Community Executive has outlined the main issues and concluded that Spain “continues to present macroeconomic imbalances; a significant amount of debt, internal and external, public and private, which is a serious vulnerability when placed within a context of a high unemployment rate”.
The European Commission has supported the fiscal support policies established to battle the threat of the coronavirus and support growth and consumption, however it warns that EU countries have to return to budgetary rigour whenever possible.
Brussels has abandoned its customary calls to ensure deficit targets are met and merely issues guidelines to member states on how to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in the short term and achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in the medium term which will facilitate digital and green transitions.
For the European Commission, recovery and investment must go “hand in hand” in order to reshape the EU economy, which has also been faced with green and digital transitions. It proposes to “revitalise” the economy after the pandemic, with the development of sustainable environmental projects, such as clean energy or infrastructure that have a”great social impact”.