The First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, announced this Monday that her department is working, together with Agriculture and the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), to “fine tune and reinforce” the instruments so that the of VAT on food reaches citizens effectively.
Compliance with this discount, called to alleviate the cost of groceries -they rose 15.3% in November, and this Friday the data for December will be known-, has been questioned by consumer organizations such as Facua, which has denounced before the CNMC to seven supermarkets for not fully transferring the reduction to the shelves.
The minister has asked that the effort of the Spaniards to help alleviate the situation of families hit by inflation —by collecting less from the public coffers— should result in an improvement in their situation. That is to say, that prices have to relax, and in no case increase the income of distribution companies. “We are closely following the deployment of these measures,” said Calviño.
The vice president recalled how in the first part of this year they have eliminated “controversial” measures such as the bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel for private drivers, a reduction that was accused of promoting the consumption of fossil fuels and not being redistributive. And on the contrary, they have extended others such as free public transport or the aforementioned reduction in the price of food “very aimed at protecting the pockets of Spanish families.”
In the last package of measures to deal with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine and the increase in prices, from January 1 of this year, the reduction of VAT from 10% to 5% for oil and pasta was included. and the elimination of the 4% VAT that is applied to all staple foods, including bread or milk.
Expedite European funds
Calviño appeared this afternoon together with the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, with whom he met previously. Among the messages that she has conveyed to her, the vice president highlighted Spain’s request that aid from the Recovery Plan be accelerated, from which Spain must receive more than 160,000 million euros between grants and loans. The Executive has already discussed this issue days ago with the Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, and seeks to take advantage of the ongoing review of the legal framework for State aid so that Spain can benefit from the expediting of deliveries, especially in the case of PERTE.
In addition, Calviño reported that he plans to convene a sectoral conference with the autonomous communities in the coming weeks to collect their contributions to the addendum to the Recovery Plan that the Executive is preparing to send to Brussels. The text, according to the minister, will seek to promote industrialization and strategic autonomy in five dimensions: energy, agri-food, industrial, technological and digital.
Breton praises Spain for moderating inflation
Commissioner Breton, for his part, praised the evolution of the Spanish economy, which he praised for having closed 2022 with the lowest inflation of the 27 and strong growth – greater than 5%, according to the Government. “5.8% inflation is a lot for citizens, but it has been the best in the class […], there are other countries where it has been 10, 15 or 20%”, he pointed out.
The French politician explained that the European Commission is working on formulas to level the playing field in an environment in which State aid inside and outside the EU threatens to unbalance it, benefiting those with more financial muscle. Washington’s aid to its electric vehicle industry is especially worrying, which is why Brussels is in dialogue with the White House so that European manufacturers are not harmed.
He also referred to the meetings that several commissioners will hold tomorrow in Brussels with representatives of the Chinese platform TikTok, very popular among adolescents and young people. In his case, he will not participate in the meetings, although he will have a video call on January 19 with those responsible. Breton warned that they must adapt to European laws. “They are very protective of the citizens and include the transparency of their algorithm,” he said of the community rules.