- It has also set aside the additional €94 million needed to help freelancers or micro-enterprises financially affected by the pandemic
- The Government allocates €52 million from the budget of the extraordinary fund in order to continue with the implementation of the Digital Education Plan of Catalonia, started in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Minister of the Presidency and spokesperson for the Government, Meritxell Budó has assured that the Spanish government has “a magnificent opportunity to face the political conflict in a politic way” thanks to the Amnesty Law Bill registered by pro-independence parties in the Congress of Deputies and asked for "responsibility". She recalled that the Government "put a proposal on the table a long time ago but the state government has never had a govern proposal for Catalonia”.
In this sense, she explained that the Catalan Government "is waiting to know what is the proposal of the Spanish State for Catalonia" because "apart from repression, we have not heard anything else in relation with the political conflict”. She also demanded a negotiating table and "negotiations between governments to be initiated immediately".
In response to questions from journalists, Budó explained that the vaccination campaign "will be affected by a 15-day suspension of AstraZeneca vaccines" and recalled that "these vaccination problems” are not a “decision taken by the Government of Catalonia”, as “it has not even been possible to participate”. The spokesperson assured that the Government of Catalonia "will continue to vaccinate with the vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer". "We hope that everything will be normalized and that the planned vaccination schedule can continue in order to move towards herd immunity," she concluded.
Reversing the effects of COVID-19
In order to keep fighting against the consequences of COVID-19, the Government has approved to create a Programme for the management of grants and subsidies aimed at the economic sectors affected by the pandemic within the competence of the Ministry of Business and Knowledge. This programme "will strengthen the staff of the Ministry and improve the measures planned in the immediate future to counter the current exceptional situation", specified Budó, who also said that "the aim is to increase the response capacity of the Administration to the new needs generated by the COVID-19 crisis."
In addition, "with the aim of implementing the community measures of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)", said Budó, and boost the economy and the territory in the face of the effects of COVID-19, the Government has agreed to create a reinforcement programme. The initiative aims to provide the necessary resources to implement ERDF calls and aid local entities that have been affected in a unique way by the consequences of the pandemic. The financing of the programme will be borne by the Labour Reserve Fund by 50% and the remaining half by the ERDF. The aim is to mitigate the effects of the existing health crisis in all Member States affected in a unique way by the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In order to provide the health care service need caused by the COVID-19 with the utmost urgency, the Government will expand the Hospital de Granollers (Vallès Oriental). The Executive has taken this decision with the approval of a new multipurpose building linked to this hospital with exemption from planning permission, due to its urgency and exceptional public interest.
The Government has approved the transfer to the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Families of the additional €94 million needed to help freelancers or micro-enterprises financially affected by COVID- 19. "These resources will be used to increase the budget of the aid to €374.7 million and be able to respond to the 187,392 people who have registered for the aid and are entitled to it", said the Minister. The transfer will enable the payment in the coming days to freelancers financially affected by COVID-19. The payment of all direct aids managed by the Ministry -people in Temporary Record of Occupation Regulation and those in permanent discontinuous contract and those of self-employed professionals- will be ready, as promised by the Government, before 31 March. This amount is in addition to the €280 million initially planned to reach freelancers who meet the requirements for aid and will receive a single payment of 2,000 euros in the coming days.
In addition, in order to continue with the implementation of the Digital Education Plan of Catalonia, started in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Government will allocate €52 million from the budget of the extraordinary fund. This project was to be launched in stages but, due to the pandemic and the lockdown, it will be developed immediately. "The aim of the Digital Education Plan of Catalonia is to move towards the digitisation of classrooms with equity criteria for all students in our country," said the spokesperson. The budget approved today will enable the installation of LAN-Wifi in schools, connectivity for students, and the provision of computers for both teachers and students.
Plan to expedite administrative procedures
In the economic field, the Government will launch the Action Plan to expedite the administrative procedures that affect economic activities with impact and, as the Minister said, "to optimize the terms of granting permits, licenses and authorisations to carry out certain economic activities”.