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The Canada-Spain Chamber of Commerce Assesses the Recovery in Canada and Spain

The Canada-Spain Chamber of Commerce (CCCE), as part of its regular programme of events for its members, organized an international workshop on pandemic recovery efforts underway in Canada and Spain.

The workshop, entitled “A Working Session with the CEOE Internacional on EU Next Generation Funds,” was live streamed from Madrid and included members from Canada, Spain and the UK. The panel of top speakers included the Honorable Ambassador of Canada to Spain, Wendy Drukier, the President of the CEOE Internacional, Marta Blanco, and members of her team, including Luis Socias, Head of the CEOE´s office for European projects, who provided an in depth analysis of the EU´s Next Generation Funds and presented the CEOE´s new platform to support SME’s .

Zulema Aragonés Monjas, President of the CCCE, and Head of DBRS Morningstar in Spain, opened the session, stating that “Spain is fundamental for the EU´s financial recovery and the €750 Bn Next Generation funds are part of an ambitious plan for Europe to become greener, bluer, more digital, more inclusive, more diverse and generally better able to address current and future challenges.” The CCCE President added that the Spanish government, which expects to receive €140 Bn of the funds, “has a historic responsibility to make good use of the funds and carry out the accompanying reforms.”

The Honorable Ambassador from Canada to Spain, Wendy Drukier then spoke about the extent of government efforts to support recovery in Canada, and noted that there will be “many opportunities emerging in Canada” as a result. Ambassador Drukier also commented that CETA, the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, is “working as intended, and has helped soften the blow” caused by the pandemic. The Canadian Government has won international recognition for its “Feminist Recovery” as it puts people first, and has programmes in place to protect businesses and individuals over the long term, ensuring a more equitable, greener and prosperous recovery. The Government of Canada is also focused on Cleantech and Renewables, and has launched far reaching and ambitious programmes such as the Net Zero Accelerator Programme, to decarbonize key sectors such as steel, aluminium and cement, and adopt clean technology for sectors including the aeronautic and automotive industries. The Ambassador stressed that “We believe the time is right for Canadian and Spanish companies to explore business and collaboration opportunities. Canada, Spain and the EU share key objectives for a post-covid recovery: People, women, SMEs, protection of the environment, greening and digitalization of industry. All will play a key role in our full economic recovery and in the building of a resilient future”.

CEOE Internacional´s President, Marta Blanco, identified the private sector as a key driver of the economic recovery and, as its principal representative body, wants to be at the center of the debate on how to exit Covid 19 and to help design the pathway to recovery. The CEOE International president cited the opportunities for a more green and digitalized economy, and that key issues and challenges included global rollout of vaccines, increased economic output, and the need for an impetus for a sustainable recovery, insisting thatgovernment has to support an agenda of trade and investment, with priorities to respect and preserve the gains made in ESG, and a Women Agenda. Marta Blanco praised Canada´sinitiative and “great job” for G-20 Empowerment.

Luis Socias, Head of EU projects at the CEOE, provided an overview and update on the EU´s 750 Bn Euros Next Generation Fund, under which Spain is to receive Euros 140 Bn for its national economic recovery plan, currently under review by the EU, and pointed out certain similarities to the Canadian Recovery Plan. The four main goals of the Spanish plan over the next seven years are focused on a green transition, a digital transition, gender equality and social cohesion /focus on rural areas. Whilst there are various segments, the major agenda items are: a rural and urban agenda with green energy and mobility, 2) renewable energy, where Spain is a strategic partner in green energy in Europe, and 3) science and innovation. Luis Socias also presented the CEOE´s platform for SME´s with regular information updates on the EU Next Generation Funds, which has generated strong national and international interest, and meets a growing demand by SME´s to access these funds as a cornerstone of Spain´s Economic Recovery Plan.

The event provided an in depth look at Spain´s and Canada´s recovery plans, and noted the common goals and interesting opportunities for further collaboration between Canada and Spain. The CCCE is taking an active role in connecting participants for further discussion and follow up.

For more information about this event and video recording, or about the CCCE, please contact Michael Di Santo, VP & General Manager, CCCE, by email at info@canadaespana.org.