More than ever, we need to join efforts. Although 2021 will be a year of transition, with a still very difficult outlook, it is also the moment to lay the foundations for a solid recovery. We are at a turning point, a historical moment of change, and if properly approached as a collaborative effort, it can bring about transformation in the Spanish economy for the next 15 to 20 years. It is an opportunity to move towards a more sustainable, digital, innovative and competitive economic and productive model.
Decarbonisation is already an unquestionable challenge, and it is going to be Europe’s main lever for recovery. Green Deal will be the roadmap and an instrument with great potential to promote a fair and inclusive transition that leaves no one behind, while creating jobs and having a positive impact on society as a whole.
Technology has become an essential pillar, and technological progress must serve to reduce inequality, as this is one of the greatest risks posed by this health, economic and social crisis. And innovation will be more essential than ever if we are to bring about competitive reindustrialisation.
Collaboration is key. Firstly, within the country’s business and industrial fabric. In order for decarbonisation to become the engine of recovery, there must be projects specifically aimed at reactivating the economy, so that they will be driving the entire value chain, boosting the development of Spanish industry and generating sustainable employment. And because they will involve innovative technological solutions, such as green hydrogen.
This is how we are approaching it from the energy sector. After holding up reasonably well in 2020 while ensuring the provision of an essential service for the country, energy companies are now in the “rebuilding” stage, focusing on recovery and facing the challenge of reinventing our sector. Small, medium and large companies are collaborating on major projects –many of which are already being materialised and will be a reality in 2021– demonstrating that we all want to pitch in to overcome this crisis, add value and contribute to the future of Spain, making it a different and more sustainable future.
And secondly, public-private partnership, which is decisive in this context. This will enable rebuilding plans to be put into action in order to drive these private sector projects by means of the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks, financing, etc.
The European Union’s Next Generation funds will provide a major stimulus for competitiveness and innovation by complementing the investments made by companies, helping these transformational projects to become viable. Also to ensure that resources reach companies of all sizes, given that the pandemic has hit many SMEs and the self-employed particularly hard. Large companies also play a role here, by entering into contacts with Spanish and European suppliers, by maintaining contracts or advancing payments, among other initiatives.
The great economic and social challenge posed by this crisis is once again employment, especially in the case of young people, who face a very uncertain future and have seen how the pandemic has brought great uncertainty to their projects. We must try to avoid irreversibly alienating this generation and rise to the challenge, because what we do now will be the legacy we leave them. Young people must be part of the reconstruction effort because they are the future of this country.
This approach of responsibility, solidarity and cooperation, of rebuilding together, will enable us to rebuild better.
This article was originally published on 7 February 2021 in the special feature “Perspectivas 2021.Claves para la recuperación económica” by Prensa Ibérica.