The European Commission urges the Spanish State to grant aid to companies in Soria, Teruel and Cuenca from 2022 in compliance with the guidelines of the European Commission so that they receive bonuses as sparsely populated areas, in the same way as those located in the Northern Europe (Norway, Finland and Sweden).
Madrid, November 18, 2021. The Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises (CEPYME) asks the Government to specify the incentives for companies to curb depopulation, contained in the General State Budget for 2022 in the corresponding Additional Provision. In this way, the Confederation joins the demands of the business organizations of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel so that the aid that the European Commission has recognized for companies in these areas for being sparsely populated is applied as soon as possible.
At the press conference held this morning, the presidents of CEPYME, Gerardo Cuerva, of the Federation of Business Organizations of Soria (FOES), Santiago Aparicio, of CEOE Teruel, Juan Ciércoles, and of CEOE CEPYME Cuenca, David Peña, presented the serious situation in these regions as a result of depopulation and the need to work to stop this process.
All of them have coincided in emphasizing that companies are a fundamental actor in successfully settling the population in the territory with expectations. Likewise, they consider that compensating for the competitive disadvantage that companies from these three provinces currently present is crucial to achieve this, since it will strengthen the resistance of companies located in disadvantaged areas and will act as a catalyst for new investments, also forming a competitive opportunity for our country, since it would place these Spanish provinces in a similar situation to other 18 territories of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greece, Croatia and Latvia that have this competitive advantage.
After long and intense work by the business organizations mentioned, supported by the Regional Governments, the provinces of Soria, Teruel and Cuenca have been recognized by the European Commission as sparsely populated areas, presenting a population density of less than 12.5 Inhabitants per square kilometer. This has meant that in the revision of the State aid Guidelines for regional purposes, these areas are considered as disadvantaged areas, which, in turn, allows the granting of discounts to companies located in said provinces up to a maximum of 20%. of their labor costs.
To achieve this recognition, in addition to proving that these territories have serious demographic disadvantages, in their allegations they have proven that the fact of receiving this aid does not imply competition for the rest of the companies in the country, since they have a very limited productive fabric that it only accounts for 0.83% of the national GDP and 0.85% of all companies in Spain.
Both CEPYME and the provincial organizations point out that these discounts are an opportunity for the country as a whole, since operating aid is only applicable in very specific areas of Europe and it would not be understandable for Spain to miss out on this important competitive advantage, which is a tool extraordinary to attract investments and companies that, otherwise, will end up establishing themselves in other European territories.
The SSPA Network
CEOE Teruel, FOES and CEOE CEPYME Cuenca have worked intensively together until the European Commission recognized the serious demographic problem of these Spanish provinces and included them in the Provincial State Aid Guidelines.
For this, the three business organizations founded the network of Sparsely Populated Areas of Southern Europe (in English Southern Sparsely Populated Areas, SSPA), whose main objective is to make sparsely populated territories attractive territories in which to live, work, invest and grow , ensuring the future of these areas.