Spain

dpa/GNA – Spain’s government on Wednesday announced that it would spend another 11 billion euros (13 billion dollars) to support small- and medium-sized companies as well as the self-employed in sectors which have been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The tourism, gastronomy, leisure and retail industries are now “in an extremely difficult situation,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament.

He didn’t specify if the aid would come as direct payments or tax reductions.

Opposition leader Pablo Casado of the conservative People’s Party criticized the measure, demanding “at least another 50 billion euros.”

Sanchez stressed that since the beginning of the pandemic, Spain had passed aid packages totalling around 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or over 200 billion euros, a financial shield unprecedented in the country.

Despite significantly declining case numbers in recent weeks, many Spanish regions continue to impose strict lockdowns, which are battering the economy.

On the popular holiday island of Majorca, for example, restaurants, cafes and bars have been closed since January 13, and will stay shut at least until March 1.

While Spain’s GDP fell by around 11 per cent in 2020 compared with the previous year, the Balearic economy experienced a worse slump, with a drop of 27 per cent.

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