During an interview with the President of the Círculo de Empresarios, Mrs. Mónica de Oriol, KITE Invest discusses important questions about investment and innovation in Spain, as well as the role of the entrepreneur.
KITE: According to the latest data revealed by a report from the European Commission, Spain is predicted to experience a 1% growth in GDP this year. Do you think we can start talking about the Spanish economy with a positive tone?
Mónica de Oriol: Yes, there have been good news and indicators that now allow us to speak of Spain’s economic situation positively. The increase in real estate transactions, or the fact that people like Bill Gates or George Soros have invested in Spanish companies, are just a few examples. The market is wise. If there are transactions, it is because there is interest, and therefore, if there is interest, there are expectations of more business.
In short, there is a perception that there are opportunities here. On the positive side, our exports are growing, as is capital inflow from abroad. At the same time, the private sector is reducing debt, and there are also several examples of increased consumption.
KITE: Please explain the importance of the entrepreneur to the Spanish economy?
MdO: I think it is very obvious, and anyone can understand it. It is the companies that create sustained employment, therefore they indirectly create the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur is fundamental.
Capital is mobile and competes globally, so the role of the entrepreneur is to see which countries are prosperous, and are business friendly.
KITE: Please give us your opinions on the latest labour reform and expected tax reform?
MdO: Tax reform is on track, and several interesting proposals have been made for reducing taxes to encourage economy recovery. It is precisely the countries with economic barriers that are not going well. Flexibility is required in the economy, and countries need to give more freedom to entrepreneurship.
The labour reform has provided us with a much more flexible system. There has been a decentralization of collective bargaining, which has also favoured companies. It has been something revolutionary.
On the other hand, the Spanish banking system is healthy.
KITE: Could you explain what steps, from the point of view of Círculo de Empresarios, will be successful in order to achieve this flexibility?
MdO: We need to continue with a second labour reform, and of course, with the continuous training of people who remain unemployed. We must encourage their return to the job market. We should enforce the Single Market Act and greatly reduce bureaucracy in public administration.
KITE: The business and trade relations between the United Kingdom and Spain have been, for centuries, very satisfactory. Please touch on what factors your organization most values in terms of maintaining that relationship?
MdO: Spain and England are two countries that can learn a lot from each other. Spain is now more outward looking and is interested in things it can copy. For example, we can look at how to promote the Spanish language, just as English is promoted. The British can also learn from the new generations of Spaniards who have keen entrepreneurship skills and are well prepared.
KITE: Lastly, please give a final message to the British business elite about how to strengthen trade ties and to promote synergy with Spain’s private business sector?
MdO: First of all, Spain is a great place to holiday or have a second home because of the wonderful quality of life, the weather and the food Moreover, the importance of our infrastructure, health and education, coupled with the fact that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, makes us one of the few countries with so many favourable factors.
We are the bridge to one billion people, thanks to our links with Latin America and North Africa, where we are respected and our open society also favours such overseas relationships.