The Basque Government spokesperson and Minister of Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, appeared at the regular press conference following the Governing Council, together with the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu.
The Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu, has announced the Governing Council’s approval of the Euskadi Next Programme update, which includes a clear commitment to economic transformation and enhancing the strengths of the Basque Country, in the use of European funds from the MRR Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, through nine regional PERTES. The minister has clarified that this Basque programme update is due to the disclosure during the first few months of this year of issues related to the management of funds and their governance in Europe, Spain and the Basque Country, which must be taken into consideration at the time of focusing on them.
A total investment of 5.085 billion euros across 29 projects provided in Euskadi Next with a clear relationship with the state PERTEs have been identified to date.The Basque approach also proposes the role of REGIONAL PERTES, which can be rolled out to the rest of the Autonomous Communities. “This is about offering a way to not fragment through different“ministerial windows” and to activate all capacities, both public and private.” Euskadi Next is considering 9 REGIONAL PERTES that include projects worth €6.400 billion across 63 projects.
Euskadi Next also includes any initiatives that will be developed through the option of attending calls for grants or other instruments in force from the different Public Administrations that will serve to channel a significant part of the MRR. Minister Azpiazu explained that this formula will represent the most relevant channel for funds to be channelled to all socioeconomic agents.
Spokesperson Bingen Zupiria highlighted this year’s celebration by the Basque Country of the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Basque Country Delegation to the European Union and the 35th anniversary of the Basque institutional presence in Brussels. Brussels was the first of the delegations created by the Basque Government abroad and marked a milestone in the Basque Country’s international action, therefore seeing the active presence of its institutions and agents at the epicentre of community decision-making reinforced. The Brussels Delegation has become the “flagship” over the years for the defence of Basque interests in the European Union and a benchmark for Basque agents in their multiple relationships with the different Community institutions and bodies
The Minister of Health has also released theupdated data on the incidence of the coronavirus in Euskadi yand explained our reasons to be hopeful, while saying that it should encourage us to continue applying and strictly complying with preventive measures, until we achieve the values we all desire. He added, "The pandemic continues to exist and we have to continue to be careful in our family, work and social life.”
Minister Sagardui reported Osakidetza’s administration of 117,701 vaccines last week, meaning that at least 43.9% of Basque society has had at least one dose and 19.5% have obtained maximum immunity against Covid-19. He drew attention to the latest news about Janssen’s approval this week to be used in the under-60s, thanks to the new vaccination strategy update, the seventh of its kind, following the review carried out last week by the Public Health Commission.
The Minister of Health stated Osakidetza’s continuing focus this week on three objectives: to finish vaccinating the 70-79 and 60-69 age groups and to start vaccinating the 50-59 age group. “We are contacting anyone who have not responded to the messages sent by Osakidetza for their appointment for whatever reason. In any case, anyone aged between 70 and 79 who may be in this situation can contact Osakidetza to request the vaccine by calling their health centre if they so wish,” he stated. According to Sagardui, being so close to completing the 70-79 age group and the 60-69 age group has made it possible to look at vaccinating the younger population. All health organisations are already giving appointments to and vaccinating people aged 59 and younger.
OTHER AGREEMENTS OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL
The Governing Council authorised the partnership agreement on the Vitoria-Gasteiz capital charge for the 2021-2024 period today. The Basque Government will therefore contribute a total of 40 million euros during the next four years at a rate of 10 million per year, to enable a series of investments that contribute to the maintenance of the urban environment, public safety, and improved mobility and accessibility infrastructures and public services in general.
AThe Governing Council also approved today the allocation of 100,000 euros this year to promote female entrepreneurship and the incorporation of female talent in corporate management bodies. . This initiative is one of the new items added to this year’s budgets by the Department of Labour and Employment to achieve equality between men and women in the workplace.
Regarding the Economy and Finance, the Governing Council has approved the agreement to be signed with the Spanish Government for the management of direct aid worth 218 million euros to the sectors affected by COVID- 19, included in the extraordinary measures to support business solvency. The Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu, will sign the agreement this week, to enable the launch of the public call for aid in June.
According to Azpiazu, the Basque Government has been working in parallel on the design of the call for aid, which is scheduled to be launched in June, and which will include new economic activities that may receive aid based on their economic situation due to the pandemic in the Basque Country and resources will be provided from the current budget to expand direct aid to the affected sectors. Added to this is the approval of the recruitment of 43 technicians to manage the aid by the Governing Council.
The Governing Council has also approved a new budget allocation of 180 million euros for the relaunch of underprivileged regions or Preferred Action Areas (ZAP), in addition to the ordinary budget. Minister Azpiazu explained that this action seeks to stimulate a series of seed projects in underprivileged regions that will be launched during the 2021 financial year and will be executed in collaboration with Provincial Councils, Town Halls and Regional Agents between 2021 and 2023.
The Governing Council, acting on the recommendation of the Department of Education, has given the green light to several calls for aid, including the approval of the 11.5 million euros expenditure for the construction of the new Early Childhood and Primary School building Aldaialde(Aldaialde HLHI primary school), in Vitoria-Gasteiz
The Governing Council also approved the Order during its meeting today inviting Basque Early Childhood Education, Primary Education and Secondary Education schools to apply for action projects that allow coeducation and the prevention of gender violence to be addressedto take place during the following two 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years.
The Basque Government approved the 2021 call for aid for health-related research and development projectswith a budget of 5.6 million euros. Minister Sagardui explained that this is divided into two main blocks: €3,150,000 for projects promoting health research and the intensification of health research, and €2,500,000 for projects involving strengthening health research of a strategic nature and complementary projects of special interest
The Governing Council has also given the green light today to calls for this year for the three lines of grants that are included in the Elkarrekin Bonds programme, totalling 600,000 euros. The main purpose of the programme is to promote partnership between associations, organisations, schools, town councils and the public in matters of peace-making, coexistence and a culture of reconciliation.
On a final note, the Minister of Culture and Language Policy announced the Governing Council’s approval at its meeting today the call for grants for the organisation of cultural festivals.Grants will be awarded for the organisation of music, performing arts, books, audiovisual and visual arts festivals, The Department of Culture and Language Policy will allocate 350,000 euros to these grants with the aim of allowing general public access cultural productions.
The Governing Council also approved today grants to the museums and collections registered in the Register of Museums and Collections from the Basque Country. for a total of 1,000,000 euros.