The president begins a three-day tour, without political meetings, with the aim of attracting investors to projects around the great European fund
Pedro Sánchez wants to completely change the third of the political agenda and move from the total confrontation with the opposition and the tension over the pardons of the procés to a phase in which the economy and recovery are the main focus of the debate. The great step for this turn has been the radical change of Government – “we have gone from the Executive of the pandemic to that of the recovery” , insists the mantra of La Moncloa, where all the ministers repeat – and now there is a new obvious gesture. The president begins a three-day tour of the United States this Tuesday – with a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday agenda – with a clearly economic focus. Sánchez will visit the financial heart of this country, New York, the capital of the largest investment funds on the planet, and then he will go to California and visit the technological heart of the world, with an appointment at Apple and meetings with several executives from other companies in this sector, with the intention of “selling Spain” .
Its objective is to convince the heads of investment funds, venture capital funds and large technology companies, such as Apple, or audiovisual companies, such as Netflix, that Spain is an ideal place, thanks to the 72,000 million euros of the large European fund that has to be spent in three years, to invest in large projects to modernize and digitize the economy. Sánchez, as explained in La Moncloa, is now traveling to anticipate other European countries that also compete with Spain to obtain financing and bets from the largest companies on the planet in projects that promote the transformation of the Spanish productive fabric.
The president has been very critical in the past with the strategies of these large companies to avoid taxes, and in a debate in Congress he spoke specifically about Netflix: “A well-known digital platform paid in Spain [in 2018] 3,146 euros in Tax of Societies. It’s not the only one. This is not only unsustainable, but it violates the most elementary principles of responsibility and fiscal justice, ”said the president in 2019. However, in La Moncloa they do not clarify whether the president will now directly reproach them for this strategy or explain his intentions to implement the so-called Google tax, which affects all these companies.
Sánchez will also take advantage of the trip to visit Los Angeles, the heart of Spanish in the US and also of the audiovisual industry, a matter in which Spain is especially interested, which wants to become a great world pole of content production in Spanish, something That is already starting to happen with the large presence of Netflix and other companies. The president will visit Universal Studios and meet there with heads of various companies in the sector.
Spain, thanks to EU funds, has a lot of money for huge projects to modernize the economy. And what is missing now is to specify these initiatives so that they are truly transformative and imply that companies also put their investment and propose ideas that provide employment and long-term growth. At this moment all these ideas are being defined and La Moncloa, the ministries and the autonomous communities are focused on this selection of projects. That is why Sánchez’s trip, designed to invite all these large companies to join, takes place now, according to his team, just when the Spanish recovery plan has been approved in Brussels and when many of these companies are making their investment decisions between the different candidate countries that also have these huge funds in Europe,
No meeting with Biden
The trip is clearly cheap, so much so that Sánchez’s team has not even tried to take advantage of the transoceanic jump to organize a meeting with the president of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden. The veteran politician has quickly become a world reference for the Social Democrats and therefore for the Spanish Government, but he has not yet had any quiet meeting with Sánchez nor has he called him by phone since he became president. Biden and Sánchez only had a fleeting crossing in a corridor at the NATO summit in Brussels, a major fiasco for La Moncloa, who thought he could achieve a real meeting between the two.
That failure, especially in the management of expectations, generated internal tension in the Executive, and the president blamed Iván Redondo, then all-powerful Chief of Cabinet, who left shortly after the government. Sánchez’s team explains that it is not yet the time to seek that meeting in the White House, although they insist that relations are excellent. One of the objectives of the new Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, will undoubtedly be to close that meeting, although it does not seem easy because Biden is not very focused on his international agenda, much less with a second-tier country like Spain.
Sánchez travels this time, not with large entrepreneurs, as he usually does in other countries, but with a group of five small entrepreneurs from successful start-ups , which he wants to use as an example of the innovative breeding ground in Spain. However, the appointments already closed on Sánchez’s agenda are not with small companies, but with the heads of controversial investment funds, highly criticized in Spain by his partner United We Can for his accumulation of thousands of homes and his pressure to there are no limits to the rental price.
Sánchez will have, for example, a lunch in New York with Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, reviled by much of the world left, but at the same time a key man in making investment decisions in a fund with a large presence in Spain. He will also meet with Michael Bloomberg, financier and former mayor of New York, and meet with other investment fund managers.
At Apple, Sánchez will visit the headquarters, the famous circular building in Cupertino, with extraordinary security measures, and will meet with its head, Tim Cook, also with the intention of “selling Spain” and convincing him to bet on investing in technological projects in the country. You will also meet the heads of other technology giants such as HP, Intel, Paypal, YouTube or Zoom, and with venture capital funds specialized in investments in the technology sector.
A trip of clearly economic content, designed to deepen that change of total third that Sánchez wants to give to this second part of the legislature. The president and his team are convinced that economic recovery will be the key to turning the polls around and regain the primacy they had in them until the crushing defeat in Madrid and the beginning of the reunification of the right with the fall in Picado de Ciudadanos changed the political environment.
If the economy was what sank the previous socialist government, that of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, that of Sánchez is convinced that if the political debate is centered there, it has everything to win against the PP. And that is what it will try to do from now on.