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Sunday, May 29, 2022
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Sustainable mobility in Southern Europe

Under the cloud of tension that surrounds Spanish politics, different things are happening. And some hope. It can be said that life goes on despite the upheavals that shake institutions in Spain. It happens, for example, that the evolution of employment is going better than many expected. For the first time, the figure of 20 million social security branches was reached with the entry of open-ended contracts. They talk about the strength in the labor market, which has surpassed all expectations. Despite the pandemic and the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, the data is so good that it allows us to approach with some positive energy the problems of a difficult economic situation, such as controlling inflation, the need for an income pact and wage negotiations between unions and employers, is broken right now.

Strong welfare policies with mechanisms such as temporary regulations in place in the face of the COVID-19 crisis will have something to do with good employment news. And, above all, this labor reform, approved by everyone in Congress, which provoked so much hostility from the right and so little affection, reaped the rewards from some of the government’s parliamentary partners, some repeat offenders in their indifference to civil emergencies, when they later rejected significant measures to mitigate the impact of Putin’s war on energy costs, rising fuel prices, and supply and export difficulties in some manufacturing sectors. This is a “useful policy”, that “various public policy”, which the second vice-president of the government and the head of the Labor Party, Yolanda Diaz, so insists on.

Life goes on, fortunately, albeit accidentally, in the wonderful parliamentary statements of these useful politicians, at a time when stopping the reforms of the economy and industry is not an option, because climate change and model transformation do not go into them. wait for a truce in the silent daily political battle. The same day that the director of the National Intelligence Center appeared in Congress, surrounded by the highest expectations due to a major phone spying scandal, such as that of Catalan President Pere Aragones with the infamous computer tool called Pegasus, it became official in Sagunta. installation of a large plant for the production of Volkswagen electric batteries. Pedro Sanchez did not miss the opportunity and was on the ground where he will be located, along with Generalitat Valenciana President Ximo Puig and the German multinational Herbert Diess. It is the figurehead of the €10,000 million electric and connected vehicle project PERTE, which involves 62 companies from eleven Autonomous Communities. “The largest industrial investment in the history of Spain”, according to Diess.

Giant business investments backed by European funds include the electrification of Seat’s car factories in Martorella and Volkswagen’s in Pamplona, ​​but the biggest highlight is the battery gigafactory in Sagunta. It will be the third, after plants in Germany and Sweden, of six battery assembly plants that the multinational car company plans to build in Europe. With more than 3,000 million euros of investment, about 3,000 direct jobs and up to 12,000 indirect jobs, the plant, which will cover an area of ​​200 hectares and will be powered by 20% renewable energy, is expected to be installed thanks to the installation of a 240-hectare photovoltaic plant, part of Iberdrola, in which 500 million euros will be invested. The whole project was baptized with the idea “Future: Fast Forward” and was credited with the slogan: “Electrification of Spain”.

Electrification, which is the concrete embodiment of decarbonization in the field of transport, or, in other words, the application of clean energy in one of the sectors responsible for the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, is a condition for an industrial revolution that cannot wait. . With the start-up of the plant in Sagunta scheduled for 2026, the Valencian Community aims to become, according to Ximo Puig, “the pole of sustainable mobility in Southern Europe”. Of course, Sagunta’s presentation was not without the oversight of Iberdrola President Ignacio Sánchez Galán, who called “fools” the increase in their accounts of consumers who benefit from a regulated tariff (that is, those with the lowest economic opportunity), nor the echoes of the crisis that the Government worries with himself and with his parliamentary partners over an espionage case in which the president and some of his ministers were also victims. This atmosphere has contributed to the recurring sense that the violent and chaotic political superstructure to which we are almost accustomed is operating in a different setting, in a reality parallel to the one in which we began to enter the era in which, as the title of this great automotive project proclaims, we must move quickly into the future.


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