Spain is the most benefited country of the European economic stimulus plan. It will receive a total of 140,000 million of the 750,000 that make up the NextGenerationEU fund, the major fund destined to revitalize the European economy by promoting digitalisation, ecological transition, social and territorial cohesion and equality.
All this money is distributed through various programs such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (MRR), React-EU, the Horizon Europe innovation program or InvestEU funds.
A stone of direct aid (the majority will be non-refundable subsidies) to companies of all sectors and of all sizes, for which it is practical to be well prepared, since the Spanish government, although it has not specified how they will be distributed, has 27,000 million Euro in the general state budgets advanced so that they reach the companies as quickly as possible.
There is therefore a lot of uncertainty regarding certain programs, but we already have some certainties. As explained Gerard Brinquisresponsible for the Next Generation area in consulting FI groupcompanies can work in two directions: “First, determine a Strategic plan aligned with the program ‘Spain can‘, which the government has dubbed the Economic Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which will guide the implementation of €72,000 million (nearly 50% of total European funds) by 2023.
“Second, work with that expressions of interest, these are the channels of communication activated by different Ministries and the Autonomous Communities to identify what strategic lines companies in a sector have in the face of a specific challenge. These expressions of interest do not stop giving us indications of where the calls will go: expressions of interest have been prepared for hydrogen, sustainable mobility, industry, circular economy, renewable energy, 5G … There will be calls to respond to these challenges that they name and that have just been created so that the funds don’t just go to big companies,” says Brinquis.
Specific aid for SMEs
SMEs will have two ways of accessing these funds: separately, if their needs, as we have said, match the requirements of Spain Can, and by becoming part of a consortium of companies made up of one or more large companies or many small ones.
“These grants have a strong commitment to SMEs, so one of the requirements is that at least 40% of the companies participating in these projects are SMEs. And if we go to Spain, it’s possible, in the draft recovery plan there are even lines within the 10 levers that focus heavily on SMEs. For example, when we speak of Lever 5, which is the modernization and digitization of the industrial structure and of small and medium-sized businesses, then that specifically speaks of the promotion of small and medium-sized businesses, of the digitization of small and medium-sized businesses”.
“There will be large consortia led or driven by large corporations capable of developing Strategic Economic Recovery and Transformation Projects (PERTEs), but there will also be other types of calls that SMEs actually submit individually can, since there are currently organizations such as CDTI, IDAE, Red.es, which are already known, which have already had recurring views and which will receive a greater budget allocation. As such, this opens up a range of larger holdings within companies and can deliver much more of the current business structure,” commented Gerard Brinquis.
“The first three years that Spain has activated are direct transfers, non-refundable grants that will be awarded between 2021 and 2023 within NextGeneration. And at the moment, 27,000 million euros have already been drawn in the general state budgets for the various companies, be they IBEX 35 or newly founded startups,” says Brinquis.
“Around June these Treasury led PERTEs will be released and possibly between August and September these calls can be presented via the PERTE register, which is the new funding tool created nationwide for big political tractors. Strategic projects responding to the ecological transition, digital transformation, R&D, etc.,” comments Gerard Brinquis.
Which real projects does the European Economic Recovery Plan support?
The recovery plan, dubbed “Spain Can”, will be structured around four fundamental axes:
digital transition. Representing 33% of the funds, it is structured by Spain’s Digital Agenda 2025, in which the promotion of connectivity through 5G and the digitization of the public and private sectors play an important role, with a particular focus on the Pymes.
“The funds will not respond to projects we already had in our portfolio or initiatives that continue the policy. The funds aim to respond to transformative strategies, and within those transformative strategies, not all sectors are equally digitized. Therefore, there will be industries whose digitization is seen as more transformative than others that are already heavily digitized,” commented Gerard Brinquis.
«Then we have to see the different lines: plans for artificial intelligence or digital transformation of the SME, which are plans that have been published, they have to land their calls, because today what we have are the headlines. We know that new technologies like AI or blockchain want to be integrated into this plan, but when we talk about the digitization of SMEs, the field is very open today. This landing of what the public administration understands by digitization of the middle class is missing,” he continues.
ecological change. It is the most important item of funds; will monopolize 37% of the aid. Among the goals of the great personalities are to reach a volume of 250,000 electric vehicles by 2023, create 100,000 charging points, rehabilitate 500,000 households, switch energy to 100% renewable sources by 2050 and promote sustainable and quality tourism.
“It’s about reacting as sustainably as possible to the entire transformation of any business model. The Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has been most active in publishing its challenges in Spain Can. We are talking here about circular economy concepts, renewable energies, energy efficiency, how we understand energy in the Balearic and Canary Islands, we are talking about local energy communities, we are talking about making the energy system more flexible, we are talking about sustainable mobility, well, we are talking about different ones here Fields of action that will really respond to this part of the ecological transition,” says Brinquis.
Social and territorial cohesion. Another fundamental axis of this transformation of our economy and that refers, for example, to “empty Spain. It is about responding to the most rural areas, so that every population center has connectivity, that 5G connectivity can reach every corner. There’s also a part of the Department of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge that deals precisely with this demographic challenge. When we talk about the tourism sector, we talk about how to reclaim communities that are mature, that are really on a curve, that are practically seasonal and only have life a month or twice a year… With that, the challenges of an empty Spain solve funds,” emphasizes Brinquis.
In short: improvement of infrastructure, health, education and employment in rural areas.
gender equality. Help to ensure equal opportunities on the labor market with “Policys of Continuing education Y retraining and the integration of vulnerable profiles into the labor market. And above all, honor the work of all areas, without gender differences,” adds the person responsible for the Next Generation area at the management consultancy FI Group.
How do you ask for help?
Once authorized and operational, access to them will be through the Autonomous Communities, which manage much of the funds, and through traditional state bodies such as Red.es, CDTI, IDAE, etc. .