Spain has still not applied for any specific aid from the European Union for the tourism sector more than six months after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. This was stated by European Commission vice president Margrethe Vestager in an official response to Ciudadanos MEP and former Balearic Islands president José Ramón Bauzá according to the newspaper El Mundo.
In other words, while there are already other states that have begun the presentation of tourism industry assistance projects - a dozen have already received the green light - the team led by the Spanish industry minister, Reyes Maroto, has not even contacted Brussels to authorize such aid, despite requests from the sector.
These aids require the approval of the European Commission so that free competition rules are not violated, but due to the pandemic this guarantee is easier to obtain. Vestager already confirmed back in July that Pedro Sánchez's executive had not applied for the aid, despite the promise which he himself had made a month earlier to distribute 4.25 billion euros to the industry in an action plan.
Speaking to El Mundo, Bauzá criticized the absence of measures: "It's a chain of deception. It's shameful. It's the second time I've asked and got the same answer, when so many other countries are presenting their plans to boost their tourism sectors and seeing them approved," he declared.
General measures are "insufficient"
In her response, Vestager hastened to clarify that it has approved general aid plans for Spain - as for other countries - that benefit the tourism sector, such as tax deferral measures or aid to the self-employed. The EU has also approved the creation of a Solvency Support Fund for Spain, which will invest through debt and recapitalization instruments in companies of all sizes and sectors.
However, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement complaining that the general measures taken so far are not sufficient and demanded a specific plan. "The Chamber reiterates its request for specific and urgent measures for the sector in order to ensure its survival, which ultimately affects the recovery of all economic activity in the country" , stated the business body.