President Armengol contributed to the European Parliament's regional development committee meeting on Wednesday, saying that EU Next Generation recovery funds should give priority to regions most affected by the crisis.
She called for coherence in the distribution of funds based on the impact of the crisis on GDP and the labour market. "The EU must be particularly supportive of those who are suffering most from the impact."
The tourism sector, she observed, will be one of the last to return to pre-pandemic levels. Because of the dependence on tourism, it is necessary to invest more than in other regions in order to facilitate diversification and the transformation that is linked to the provision of the European funds. The Balearics, the president said, have projects that are ready to be undertaken with New Generation funds. These are in line with the aims of diversification of the productive model and with advances in technology and the knowledge industry.
Armengol explained that the increase in the number of tourists since 2000 to 16.5 million per annum (pre-crisis level, including both foreign and Spanish tourists) has not translated into an increase in economic welfare, as the Balearics have lost 22 points of convergence with Europe in terms of GDP per capita.
EU funds are therefore an opportunity to undertake the reform of the model towards a more sustainable and resilient tourism "in an idyllic but fragile and vulnerable territory".
The president called for a common strategy to reactivate mobility and to revitalise connectivity. In this regard, she voiced her support for the travel of people who have vaccine certification or present negative tests as well as a commitment to the opening of safe travel corridors between areas with similar low levels of coronavirus incidence.