Nadia Calviño in Congress on Thursday. | Emilio Naranjo


With 177 votes in favour, 59 against and 113 abstentions, Congress approved the Spanish government's aid decree on Thursday afternoon. This guarantees that the Balearics will receive 1,000 million of the total of 11,000 million euros for all regions.

As well as the PSOE and Podemos government parties, there were votes in favour from the Catalonia Republican Left (ERC) and the Navarrese People's Union (UPN). It had been feared that nationalist parties might vote against. Only two did; the others abstained.

The Partido Popular also abstained, the leader of the PP in the Balearics, Biel Company, having called Pablo Casado to ask him for an abstention rather than a vote against. Opposition parties had not been content with the decree, arguing that the amount was insufficient. Casado had wanted 50,000 million. There was also opposition discontent at the fact that aid is limited to 95 sectors of business activity. Included in those not covered are hairdressers and souvenir shops.

The minister for economic affairs, Nadia Calviño, defended the aid package. It was needed because of the significant damage caused by the pandemic. "There are difficult weeks ahead, and we must continue to help workers, businesses and the self-employed."

Most of the package - 7,000 million euros - is in the form of direct aid to smaller to medium-sized businesses and the self-employed. Regional governments will manage the aid distribution, which is likely to range between 4,000 and 200,000 euros per business (including self-employed) which have lost at least 30% of their income. The aid is to pay fixed costs and debts.

It is already known that some 26 million euros of the Balearics 1,000 million will be for bars and restaurants. Calviño is scheduled to visit Mallorca on Monday and meet business associations.