The health emergency has only accelerated an economic crisis that was already existing due to a very wide inequality gap since the 2008 crisis that the pandemic has deepened even further1. The solution proposed by the European Union is the most ambitious package of funds in its history of 750,000 million euros2. However although the pandemic affects the most vulnerable groups everything indicates that the efforts are once again aimed atrefloating or propping up the economic elites.
In June 2013 Angela Merkel declared that Eurobonds would not be issued “as long as she lives“3. Issuing European debt to support member states has always been a taboo in Europe, mainly for Germany, in the interest of keeping Central European banking strong and protecting the value of exports. Nevertheless in May 2020 Merkel and Macron announced an aid plan of 500,000 million for the reconstruction of Europe4. The reason for this change is simple: An economic contraction5 unprecedented in recent history and comparable to the effects of a war. The package of funds which has been given the name NextGenerationEU6, arises out of the need to avoid the collapse of the European Union.
These funds have become the most important instrument in both government and business spheres. In order to qualify for them the European Union requires the preparation of an austerity and resilience plan. This is what the Spanish state did with its plan called “Spain can: Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan” which was later ratified in a law7. Many autonomous communities also opt for them, in addition to transnational companies, all of them with little probability of seeking beneficial changes for the population: Endesa, Petronor, Iberdrola, Inditex or the aviation sector with Iberia or Vueling are some of those that have presented Projects. As an example of business interest a training session at the IESE Business School advertises the funds among Spanish companies8.
As the ODG organization explains in a letter to the deputies9, the funds are being allocated in a very non-transparent manner and mainly supporting big companies many of them with harmful impacts on a social or environmental level. Financial entities are used as intermediaries who will make decisions about who receives the aid without social or ecological criteria and without taking into account a fair economy. All this will end (given the immense amount of aid) leading to a very high debt that we will have to pay for the citizens and that will further widen the gap between the popular classes and the great fortunes.
As always in crises there is a danger that they will be used to delve into neoliberal and austerity policies. We must be the people who stand up and refuse to pay for funds that will mainly benefit private capital and once again influence practices that are harmful to the environment.
1 https://www.eldiario.es/opinion/zona-critica/pandemia-desigualdad_129_6263461.html 2 https://www.publico.es/internacional/ue-aprueba-plan-anticrisis-historico-750000-millones.html 3 https://www.libremercado.com/2012-06-26/merkel-dice-que-no-habra-eurobonos-mientras-viva-1276462350/ 4 https://elpais.com/internacional/2020-05-18/merkel-y-macron-presentaran-una-iniciativa-conjunta-para-la-reconstruccion-de-la-ue.html 5 https://www.markiteconomics.com/Public/Home/PressRelease/72100ed3e7804322aa9ede82aeb8a312 6 https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/recovery-plan-europe_es 7 https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2020/12/31/pdfs/BOE-A-2020-17340.pdf 8 https://alumni.iese.edu/evento/perfil/-/fucontent/el-plan-next-generation-eu-y-las-oportunidades-para-la-empresa-espanola 9 https://odg.cat/es/blog/carta-diputados-ayudas-covid/