The next few years will be marked by the arrival of the European Covid 19 Next Generation EU Recovery Fund from the Union that will have to finance the projects that contribute to the reactivation and especially the digitization of the Spanish economy. Some analysts even speak of a “founding moment”, such as the one that occurred with the entry of Spain into the European Union. We talked about it with Yago Arbeloa, president of Miogroup.
Question. In the field of digitization, what do we play as a country with the correct management and use of these funds?
Answer. The stakes are high. The funds should be invested in transforming part of the country’s productive model and accelerating its digitization in order to compete globally in the most efficient way possible. Spain must take advantage of this opportunity, which may be the last, and focus investment and efforts to get on the train of the great powers of technology.
P. What type of projects should Spain focus on in order to achieve the objectives of creating quality employment and contributing to the reactivation of the economy, what criteria should prevail in the distribution and what could be those driving forces or specific sectors?
R. It is important, first, to be clear about Spain’s production model, in which SMEs play a key role and are the ones that concentrate the country’s GDP and employment. According to Eurostat data, they generate almost 72% of national employment. In this framework, and in order to change the production model, the objective is for the funds to help them grow and transform themselves digitally. With this growth in size, their options to compete globally also increase and their fragility in critical situations is reduced, such as the one we are currently experiencing with the pandemic.
If we can also involve these small and medium-sized companies in strategic projects for the transformation of sectors in which Spain is already a leader, such as tourism, restaurants or the automotive industry, added value would be added and the whole country would benefit.
At the same time, the funds have to be used to build the ecosystem necessary to strengthen the factors that we already have to attract talent, such as the climate or leisure facilities. We must promote fiscal ecosystems and adequate infrastructures to attract talent, with the aim of being an attractive destination worldwide with the new reality of teleworking.
We must transform the productive and industrial fabric of the country, and at the same time, be able to attract global firms to settle here. The fact of having technological tractors in the Spanish ecosystem would also be a very relevant boost for our SMEs.
P. What are the mistakes that we should not make in the process of executing these funds to prevent what seems like a huge opportunity from turning into a big fiasco?
It would be convenient to avoid serving as a financing measure for large companies and their megaprojects. The objective is that the funds have a transforming effect, and not a financing one, betting on new models and innovative programs.