What has been done so far in Europe, in the EU, while commendable, is insufficient. In a near horizon it is necessary to advance in a banking union and a fiscal union. All this without sparing resources and efforts in expanding its competencies in matters related to pandemics and major health challenges, as well as those deemed necessary for an adequate management, -with criteria of effectiveness and humanitarian-, of migration and asylum processes.
En our lives and more significantly than we think, there are several circumstances, but above all two, that have a decisive impact on our future.
The pandemic and the future of the European Union (EU) not only conditioned by the Brexi. Both force the convenience of thinking and conceiving these issues in a different way than has been done so far, including that different conception, the value, once again, of multilateralism together with a clarification of the great challenges of the EU. In this sense, various European organizations, such as the Club of Rome, have been providing a battery of suggestions regarding the changes that the EU should undergo with a future perspective.
The president of the Spanish Federal Council of the European Movement, Francisco Aldecoa, specifically, specified several. The urgent need to eliminate unanimity within the European Council and the Council of the Union, in addition to reducing the size of the European Commission, increasing, in parallel, its powers.
What has been done so far in Europe, in the EU, while commendable, is insufficient. On the near horizon it is necessary to advance in a banking union and a fiscal union. All this without sparing resources and efforts to expand the EU’s competences in matters relating to pandemics and major health challenges, as well as those deemed necessary for proper management, –with criteria of effectiveness and humanitarian–, of migration processes and of asylum. Perfected, all of this, with the determined impulse to develop the model of social welfare and public-private collaboration, encompassing working conditions framed in said welfare economy. The culmination would be given by the extension of the powers of the EU related to foreign policy, security and defense.
As is often the case, the statement of the objectives and actions to be carried out entail greater ease than the implementation of all this. In this sense, the way to achieve the changes would be based on three dynamics:
1.- Intensive and consensual implementation of the procedures contemplated in the treaties for the necessary modifications of said procedures.
2.- Complementarily, and failing that, put into practice the path contemplated in the treaties and made explicit in the Manifesto for a European Budget (For a European fiscal and budgetary policy), by means of which two or more states can agree between themselves measures and action agreements, not contrary to the Treaties, that involve, affect and commit the signatories of those agreements, with the other states being able to join later. This would likely create the Europe of multi-speed, which is better estimated than inaction.
3.- Launching of a forceful R & D & i process, carried out by the Academy –understood as an area made up of people independent from the university field and highly prestigious knowledge–, and that affects civil spaces , fiscal, administrative and legal, renewing concepts from Roman and Napoleonic law in too many cases and areas. The optimization and rationalization of the development and use of education, health and technology, centered on the person, should constitute the objective of all the changes to be implemented.
Part of what we are proposing has an immediate impact in time, I would say immediate, and, in addition, of a considerable economic volume.
We refer, first of all, to the matter Brexi, that despite its recent signing there are many doubts and the drift, especially economic, that it entails. In this, too, the year 2021 will be, from a historical perspective, strange. Very strange.
The second topic is the Economic Recovery Fund. After some reasonable doubts that have arisen, we can clarify some elements that will configure said fund and its application.
The pandemic is having a destructive economic effect, the extent of which is still unknown. To give some data, let us indicate that the most reliable forecasts on growth in the EU predict that in the year 2023, in the best of cases, the level of GDP will be reached (remember that for Spain this is 1.2 trillion euros ) obtained in 2019. For employment, wealth, and well-being – taking into account the opportunity cost – the expectations are simply devastating.
In terms of public debt, it is worth highlighting –for that of the references and the environment– that in France and Portugal they are, approximately, at the level of 124% of their GDP; if we look at Greece and Italy, this level reaches 200%.
But let’s go to the more positive plane. The Economic Recovery Fund, the product of a historic agreement within the EU, admitted its indebtedness in international financial markets. The EU as one of its member states!
The funds will adopt the figure of credits and grants, they will be requested by the states during the years 2021, 2022 and 2023. In 2024 there will be no such aid, however, the projects approved and, therefore, helped, may be developed until the year 2026.
Using community terminology, we can indicate that the macro objective of the application of these funds is to achieve, or at least advance, towards a greener, more digital and more resilient economy -in the sense of resisting by permanently adapting to changes-, structuring the application of financial flows with the following distribution: 37% of the funds must be applied to investments aimed at achieving an ecological transition in the productive apparatus, in particular, and in society, in general; 20% should be allocated to the digital transition and 43% to the modernization of production structures.
The forecast made on the distribution of funds is specified in 22.2% to Italy, 13% to France and 18.5% to Spain, among all destinations. For the latter case, Spain, represents a total of 140,000 million euros, of which 70,000 million will be subsidies, and another 70,000 million will take the form of loans to be repaid. Until April of this year, projects may be submitted.
The EU will approve in June those that meet a series of strict requirements aligned with the three aforementioned objectives, at which point 10% of the amount of each approved project will be contributed.
The unprecedented EU agreement also contemplates and enables two previously non-existent and unthinkable measures:
a) The EU may set some new European-wide taxes, mainly indirect, on certain products and at the European border.
b) The EU can and decides to borrow, as such Union.
Suddenly, two great community taboos fall. Circumstances have forced such a decision, along with the acceptance of asymmetries within the EU.