Editorial, 12 February 2022
The supply crisis affects the industrial sector – Ana Jiménez
Industry has been in decline in Catalonia for years. The trend is worrying. So much so that at the time the economic and social agents as a whole promoted the Pacte Nacional per a la tria (National Pact for Choice) to try to reverse the trend, but its implementation is progressing very slowly and with hardly any results, with the aggravating factor that the Generalitat’s industrial policy is practically non-existent. Revitalising industry in Catalonia, under the protection of new technological developments, is a strategic issue for the country. No developed country has renounced its industry and neither can Catalonia. Industry is key to generating wealth, employment and stable technology and, in this sense, it is essential to nurture a powerful services sector.
It is in this context that the manifesto of the Industry, Energy and Sustainable Development Commissions of the employers’ organisation ‘Foment del Treball’ in favour of a “competitive and strong” Catalan industry should be understood. It does not demand more resources from the Government. It does not even call for a more effective industrial policy, as would really be necessary. It only asks – from the outset – that it does not put obstacles in the way of the country’s industrial development and that it corrects all the decisions that contribute to the fall in competitiveness in Catalonia.
Risk of more companies fleeing the country due to the environmental demands of the Generalitat
The Catalan employers’ association even warns that there is a serious risk of industrial relocation. The most immediate threats – and which are being rejected by industry as a whole – are the new tax on installations that emit greenhouse gases and the limitations imposed on waste incineration. Both measures could put industries based in Catalonia out of competition with those in other autonomous regions and the rest of Europe. The Catalan employers’ association is not opposed to actions in favour of a more sustainable industry, but asks that those that are adopted should be homologous with Spanish and European ones to guarantee the same framework for action. In this respect, it considers that industry is mistreated in Catalonia when the opposite should be the case. In this respect, it pointed out that almost all Spanish regions have lost competitiveness, but not as much as Catalonia.
The Government is obliged to respond promptly to the demands of the Catalan employers’ association, which reflect the feelings of the industrial sector as a whole, so as not to penalise progress and employment. Catalonia has already taken many steps backwards and should not take any more. On the contrary, it should promote an ambitious industrial policy, especially now that it could count on European funds.