The Conversation Spain
The hopeful future of post-pandemic Europe
The European semester seems important in the construction of the idea of Europe. Funds from the recovery plan (Next Generation EU) will help set priorities and anchor projects that should be strategic for a different Europe in 2030. Sustainable economy, recovery of industries to reduce dependence on global supply chains, the digital transformation of SMEs, the modernization of public administration, urban mobility, energy autonomy or the strengthening of the public health system appear as axes of growth. The success of the funds resides in the conditionality of the reforms, whose agenda links financing to specific projects and the evaluation of public policies. Investments in education, in hospital networks, universities or public administrations are eligible, if they meet green building criteria and serve the transformation of services. The refrain repeated in Brussels is the quality of spending, the efficiency and the sustainability of the initiatives. Public-private collaboration, continuing education and a business-friendly environment are safe values within the multi-year financial framework (2021-2027, 1,074 billion euros) and the financing lines. Its value reaches 750,000 million euros (390,000 for subsidies, 360,000 in loans) plus 540,000 million euros in health spending. These figures represent 17% of the European national income and a multiplier effect by three is expected in the internal market. Recovering the lost honor of the acquis communautaire Political conditionality, with all the nuances that the Hungarian and Polish governments want, is at the heart of European construction. The counterbalance function exercised by the European Parliament, plus the institutional leadership of Angela Merkel, serve to recover the lost honor of the acquis communautaire. The European Union of 2030 cannot be a mercantile club without political project aspirations, because in this scenario the temptation of Syracuse – read the attraction for Chinese or Russian investments without ties of compliance with criteria typical of liberal democracies – is more how likely. Political freedoms are relevant to the receipt of funds. Likewise, it is clear that we are not living a “Hamiltonian moment”, as some authors wrote back in April and May of this year. There is no fiscal consolidation, we do not have corona bonds and there will not be any in the short term. The mutualisation of debt did not assure the Carthusian countries – the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark – more liberalization in technology or digital markets or an increase in VAT or fiscal discipline. The timid joint issuance of debt is a success in ensuring a joint solution for the next two generations of Europeans. If anyone expects the resurrection of Alexander Hamilton, perhaps it is better to push for a common European industrial policy without national champions, gold stocks, Franco-German axes and artificial barriers to growth. The much-talked about resilience goes through the ability to be flexible in strategic sectors with investments distributed throughout the territory, not only in the riverbed of the Rhine. Faced with the digital transformation, the European regulatory power may limit the Chinese or American dominance of the networks of 5G, but it can’t create big tech. Perhaps the lesson of the vaccine is this: the 900 million euros needed are the result of European research policies, private investment and the right to health. The Brexit question mark Next year, the Brexit question mark will still be cleared up, which we already anticipate will be a process rather than an end point to agreements and exchanges with the continent. The close relationship is not closed with an agreement: 43% of imports come from European Union countries, while a bad resolution will contract the European GDP another 0.5%. Let’s not expect a great agreement, but the cession divided by part of the United Kingdom due to the impossibility of leading a free trade zone with the United States, Australia and India. Imperial nostalgia has not yielded the expected returns. The backbone of the funds presents two relevant coordinates. Climate change can be a lever for competitiveness, if European action is aligned with the priorities of the Biden Administration. The political and commercial bloc is a serious alternative to Chinese industrialization, without environmental or social criteria. Industrialization, with ecological bases and energy efficiency, is the foundation of economic and strategic autonomy, as well as a preferred route for the incorporation of new partners in Latin America and the Asian continent. Tourism corridors will be consolidated In the field of tourism, while the vaccine is standardized, we will end up getting used to tourist corridors, that is, the correspondence between European territories with a low infection rate. This is good news for the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, provided that the epidemiological inspection and control criteria are met. The funds could be used to expand health insurance at airports and stations with substitute benefits in case of quarantine. European coordination mechanisms, health capacity on the ground and tracing require European leadership, not regional or national. In the same way, local tourism will grow, either rural or active. In open spaces, the agglomeration disperses. It will be necessary to promote tourism with digital support that supports pre-sales, updated information on mobile phones or cultural vouchers to order visits. In short, vaccines open a new horizon of economic recovery. When we can go outside, everything will be there ready and ready to be reactivated. The investments of the European fund are enormous and can articulate the transformation of Europe into a prosperous and sustainable continent. We already have a minimum legislative framework. It is the time of political leadership with a European vision.This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original. Juan Luis Manfredi does not receive a salary, nor does he carry out consulting work, nor does he own shares, nor does he receive financing from any company or organization that can benefit from this article, and has declared that he lacks relevant links beyond the academic position cited .