BarcelonaThe deterioration of the financial situation of companies and structural unemployment are two of the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic for the Catalan economy, according to the Note of Economy presented this Thursday by the Minister of Economy, Jaume Giró. An extensive review of the evolution of the economy in 2020, marked by the pandemic, from which positive lessons can also be learned.
Among the lessons learned from this pandemic, Giró highlighted the need to fight inequalities, as the large study highlights how the most affected have been young people, women and the most vulnerable people, as it has expanded the gender gap, the digital divide and duality in the labor market. Giró also emphasized that in Catalonia, health has taken precedence over the economy and the need to delve deeper into research policies, despite the fact that it has highlighted the Catalan health system and the mechanisms for helping people and the companies set up by the Generalitat.
The Minister of Economy also highlighted the role of the European Union in the fight against the crisis. “The idea of Europe comes out strengthened,” he said, although he again called for the management of European Next Generation funds by the Generalitat. “The only one But [a aquest mecanisme europeu] is the lack of sensitivity of the State when it comes to allowing us to make decisions as adults and to be able to allocate the funds that correspond to Catalonia “, said Giró, who also criticized that the State” puts the its recentralizing vocation to the interests of the Catalans “.
The General Director of Economic and Prospective Analysis, Marta Curto, has been in charge of presenting the number 106 of the Note of Economy, which contains the input of various aspects to analyze the impact of the pandemic on the economy and future prospects.
Curto highlighted the fact that the Generalitat has been the administration that has allocated the most resources – in absolute numbers and in proportion – to direct aid. Nevertheless, the impact of the pandemic has been much stronger in Catalonia than in the eurozone average. Catalonia lost 11.5% of GDP in the second quarter of last year, while the average for the eurozone countries was 6.6%. This is attributed, among other things, to the structure of the Catalan economy, especially due to the dependence on services and tourism, and the lower weight of stabilizing sectors such as agriculture or public administrations.
Value of ERTOs and investment
Among the main conclusions drawn from this study is the role of ERTOs as a measure to prevent unemployment from escalating. According to one of the authors of the study, Gemma Garcia Brosa, professor of applied economics at the University of Barcelona and researcher at the Institut d’Economia de Barcelona, without ERTOs, unemployment would have skyrocketed to 30%. . The ERTOs, he indicated, “have come to stay.” In the same vein, the Secretary of Economy and European Funds of the Generalitat, Matilde Villaroya, has indicated that it is necessary to end the duality of the labor market and enhance internal flexibility in companies, an aspect that can facilitate ERTOs.
Villaroya also pointed out the need to strengthen industrial policies in sectors where Catalonia may have opportunities, such as aeronautics or biotechnology. Another of the study’s authors, Joan Maria Mussons Olivella, responsible for the Generalitat’s economic situation, emphasized the need to boost investment, both in companies and in public administrations. Mussons recalled that since the financial crisis, investment has fallen sharply and in the last decade it has been 3.5 points below the eurozone average.