Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Catalan Government is working on a National Pact for the Industry

Some weeks ago, 138 proposals were presented to the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, by the representatives of business associations, trade unions, academic experts and leading professionals, who form the so-called ‘Agreement for the Industry’ platform. This comprehensive series of measures favour a clear industrial strategy for the economic revitalization of Catalonia and the recovery in employment, since “there cannot be a strong economy without a strong industry”. 

Artur Mas stated that those proposals are “a possible seed” for a broader agreement: a National Pact for the Industry that will define the priorities and main guidelines of Catalonia’s industrial policy for the next decade. The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment said that the 138 proposals coincide with “between 70 and 80%” of the Executive’s industrial policies. However he pointed out that the Government couldn’t bring all of them on board for budget or jurisdiction limitations.


The President of the ‘Agreement for the Industry’, Joan Trullén, acknowledged that it was “ambitious” for the proposals to include so many different fields, all aimed at the recovery of the Catalan economy at the hands of the country’s industry.

Comprehensive proposals to build an “economy competitive for the 21stcentury”

Indeed, the 138 proposals that were approved last June cover a wide array of fields: finance, training, research and development, cluster policy and infrastructure or energy development, all of them within the European framework for industrial development (Europe 2020). The proposals are part of a strategy to overcome the crisis by promoting growth, increasing competitiveness, fostering export capacity and encouraging the recovery of employment to pre-crisis levels, according to the representatives of the platform.

The main message is that “there cannot be a strong economy without a strong industry. “Only an industrial response can get Catalonia out of the current crisis, as it has in the past. The broad scope of activities in Catalonia, from manufacturing as a core sector of the industry to research and the dissemination of knowledge should be the basis of a strong and productive economy, competitive for the twenty-first century”, explained Joan Trullén. 

The proposals could eventually lead to a National Pact for the Industry

Joan Trullén, explained that Catalan President, Artur Mas, had reacted in a “very positive” way to the proposals, which favoured “a new global industrial process” and “a strategic agreement in the country”, in the words of the President of the ‘Agreement for the Industry’.

Indeed, Mas agreed to the “commitment to accept the bulk of the measures” and stated that the proposals were “a possible seed” for a broader agreement: a National Pact for the Industry that will define the priorities and main guidelines of Catalonia’s industrial policy for the next decade. In the meantime, all the representatives have asked the Catalan President to present a budget and implementation schedule in the coming months.

The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, stated that the 138 proposals coincided with “between 70% and 80%” of the Executive’s industrial policies. However he pointed out that the Government could not implement all of them for budget or jurisdiction limitations.

The event was attended by the main Catalan leaders and experts in the industry sector, notably Joan Carles Gallego, Economist and Secretary General of Catalonia’s Workers Commissions trade union (CCOO); Josep Maria Álvarez, Secretary General of the Workers General Union (UGT); Joaquim Gay de Montellà, Chairman of the main employers’ organisation in Catalonia, Foment; Josep González, President of the main SME association Pimec; and Dídac Ramírez, Economist and President of the University of Barcelona, among others.

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