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The chairman of Iberdrola says that to optimise the impact of European funds, projects must be assigned to companies that are genuinely committed to Spain and with the management capacity needed to drive the Spanish industrial sector

Ignacio Galán underlines the need to forge a business and industrial ecosystem to harness the country's potential

  • Ensuring that the Next Generation EU plan focuses on rebuilding and creating new sectors with a future; streamlining Spain's transformation; and projects aligned with a green and digital economy.
  • Iberdrola has 150 initiatives that will mobilise more than 21 billion euros and involve hundreds of companies.
  • These projects will create 45,000 jobs per year, stimulating economic growth by more than 1.5% of the GDP, improving competitiveness and the balance of payments with between 500 million and 1 billion euros per year and helping to meet the demographic challenge by including more than 7 billion euros for rural areas.

"These are unprecedented times in terms of severity and global impact. However, the ingredients for emerging from this crisis are still the same: more investment into production sectors and industries with a future and driving efficiency and competitiveness to leave the country better for the generations to come," said Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galán at the beginning of this speech at the EUROForo Next Generation EU conference, underlining the need to work together to drive future initiatives and create prosperity. Mr Galán talked of the need to forge a business and industrial ecosystem to harness the country's potential.

The company has already contributed to the growth and internationalisation of 22,000 companies. It is developing a 75-billion-euro investment plan with a 2025 horizon, not to mention further projects linked to European Funds. It looks upon the Next Generation EU as an opportunity to ramp up its activities and help to foster new types of public/private cooperation.

"This is a historic opportunity for Spain, and we can't miss this train," he said. "We have to act now, decisively and in coordination, to transform this opportunity into a reality," he said.

A total of 150 projects to create jobs, drive economic growth and contribute to the demographic challenge

Iberdrola has 150 initiatives in this plan, which will mobilise more than 21 billion euros in investment into projects related to the roll-out of innovative renewables, smart networks, energy storage, smart electricity, energy storage, sustainable mobility, heat electrification, green hydrogen and component recycling using clean technologies.

"These projects will create 45,000 stable, highly qualified jobs per year and will trigger economic growth of more than 1.5% of GDP," he pointed out. "They will also improve competitiveness and the balance of payments (between 500 million and one billion euros/year), lower emissions, improve urban environments and contribute to the demographic challenge, because they already include more than 7 billion euros for projects in rural areas."

The initiatives involve hundreds of companies –mostly SMEs– based in all of the autonomous regions, as well as Spanish technology centres throughout the value chain and public bodies.

Assigning the country's projects to enterprises with a real commitment to Spain with management capacity and able to drive the local industrial sector

The magnitude of the European Union and Spanish government's reconstruction plans make them an unprecedented opportunity to drive rapid recovery and to transform the economy into one that is more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and competitive.

To achieve this, Galán says that "funds must be allocated to rebuilding or creating new sectors with a future - green hydrogen, electric mobility, offshore wind farms, for example, aligned with European Union directives based on the digital economy, to improve competitiveness, the green economy that promotes sustainability, improving the environment and health." In this regard, he stressed that the electricity sector has specific projects for this transformation that benefit people (jobs, clean air in cities, lower emissions and lower energy costs); and for the nation, in terms of improving competitiveness, GDP, the balance of payments and medium-term returns on aid.

During his speech, Iberdrola's chairman also said that "in order to make good use of the funds, the country needs to entrust these projects to companies that are genuinely committed to Spain, with a proven track record and the capacity to execute and manage and, above all, to drive the Spanish industrial sector."

This also requires "reducing the amount of red tape, reviewing tax on energy and improving coordination between the administration and the public and private sectors, as well as embarking upon an educational reform," he concluded.