The Minister of Economy and Finance of the Government of Catalonia, Natàlia Mas Guix, and the Governor of the Bank of Portugal, Mário Centeno, have agreed on the need for European regulations to facilitate investments to address the green transition, both to combat climate change and to help the reindustrialisation of the European Union.
“Green investment is already taking on an existential dimension,” Mas Guix said in Lisbon.“To fight climate change, in the first place, but also because it will be the key to reindustrialising our economy,” she added. According to the minister, “if we do not adapt the stability rules to our investment needs, we will not be able to address them”.
Both the minister and the governor agreed that the current European regulations should be adapted to create a legal framework that facilitates these investments. “If we were able to do what we did during the pandemic thanks to NextGenerationEU, it means there is room for this,” they agreed.
The minister also expressed her concern to Centeno about the increase in the cost of living and the impact this has had on families and companies, but at the same time expressed her hope that this inflationary situation is coming to an end.
Portugal, a role model in renewable energies
The meeting between Mas Guix and Centeno took place within the framework of a trip by the minister to Portugal, during which she visited Porto and Lisbon with an agenda that focused on the reindustrialisation of the economy and the need to promote renewable energy. “These are two portfolios that go hand in hand: If we have more renewable energies we will be able to decarbonise industry and this competitive advantage will allow us to attract more companies in this sector to Catalonia”, said the minister.
Portugal is a country that has taken major strides in this area. The country already gets 60% of its energy from renewable sources and plans to reach 80% by 2026.
The minister also met with Ana Gouveia, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate, who explained her successful model for the implementation of clean energy, especially offshore wind energy.
Both agreed that the future H2Med corridor will be crucial to the decarbonisation of industry in both countries, to attract new investments in the future and to bring more energy sovereignty to Europe.
In addition, both Mas Guix and Gouveia expressed their desire to strengthen ties between the two regions. Catalonia and Portugal are in the midst of a transformation process in the automotive sector and Gouveia underscored the major opportunity afforded by the fact that her country has the largest lithium reserves in Europe.
Deployment of the electric car
In terms of the automotive sector, the Government of Catalonia recently presented its plans to electrify its entire fleet of vehicles. The electric car and the deployment of charging stations to power them is also an area where “Catalonia can learn from Portugal”, the minister explained.
During the trip, Mas Guix also met with representatives of the Inesctec research centre, with the vice-president of the Porto City Council, Filipe Araújo, and with representatives of CCDRN, an organisation for the development of northern Portugal.
“The decentralisation of the management of NextGenerationEU funds is crucial and something we have been calling for since the beginning. And it is with this aim that we will work together with the CCDRN”, stated the minister.