The President of the Andalusian Regional Government, Juanma Moreno, announced today that before the end of the year Andalusia will have an Office of the Ombudsman for People with Mental Health Problems to respond to complaints, share suggestions and mediate in conflicts.
During his speech at the second session of the State of the Community Debate in the Andalusian Parliament, he reiterated that the modernisation of public health is a priority for his government, to which he assured that modernising services means adapting them to new realities. In this sense, she indicated that anxiety, depression or eating disorders cannot be invisible and that the Andalusian Executive is aware of this, which is why there are now services that did not exist before, such as specialised units for eating disorders, clinical psychologists in Mental Health Units with the aim of reaching one professional per unit or the preparation of the first study with representative data on the psychological consequences of Covid.
On another matter, Moreno announced that a new line of aid for rural women will soon be activated in Andalusia to encourage shared ownership of farms, while he also stated that the Andalusian Network of Digital Fish Markets will be set up for direct sales from the boat to the home, which will be a real boost for Andalusian fishing.
On this point, he assured that Andalusian fishermen will for the first time have an internship programme on board the boats for young people under the age of 30 who are unemployed. He also stated that there is an innovative movement aimed at boosting the Andalusian agri-food sector, explaining that through the Ifapa, Andalusia is participating in more than 50 innovative projects, in addition to which the marketing platform for the Andalusian Technological Innovation Centre for Agriculture, Andalusia Cita 4.0 in Almeria, has already been awarded.
The Andalusian President recalled that the Andalusian Government has involved Andalusian society in reaching an Andalusian Water Pact with one hundred measures and an unprecedented investment to modernise and improve the hydraulic heritage, with 104 million for the automation and digital management of dams, to reinforce security and prevent water losses.
In this way, he pointed out that this week the Plan for the Reuse of Regenerated Water begins, which will provide the Andalusian community with 43 cubic hectometres of water and will begin with four actions in the Axarquia region, and he stressed that next month the first work of the drought decree to make the most of rainwater will be completed.
Moreno pointed out that the reformist agenda of the Andalusian Government not only innovates, but also relaunches projects in the eight Andalusian provinces that have been forgotten for years, such as the Almanzora motorway in Almeria, the second phase of the Bay of Algeciras Logistics Area in Cadiz, the development and commercialisation of the Higuerón Logistics Area in 2022 in Córdoba, the Granada Metro and the South and North extension projects in Granada, the lighting of the Odiel Bridge in Huelva, the Linares-Vadollano railway connection in Jaén, the Málaga metro through the historic centre and the drafting of the projects for Line 3 of the Seville Metro.
On another matter, he said that today we have further proof that Andalusia does not count and does not enter into the plans of the Government of the Nation and has decided that the Andalusians are not suitable and worthy to have and have additional resources to fight against social exclusion as published today in the BOE. “Why can other communities such as the Basque Country, Galicia, the Principality of Asturias, the Community of Valencia, Aragon, Castilla La Mancha, Navarre, Extremadura or the Autonomous City of Ceuta have this aid and Andalusia cannot?
He also regretted that a city like Seville, which has some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Spain, cannot receive this aid compared to Madrid or Barcelona, which do have access to it. “Since the mayor is not able to raise his voice, I will raise it on behalf of the people of Seville. I ask the Andalusian PSOE to wake up to defend the interests of the Andalusians and to stand up to do so because the outrages cannot continue and there is not a single voice in Andalusian socialism that is capable of putting a stop to the repeated mistreatment of Andalusia,” he said.
In relation to the Andalusian Budget for 2022, he stressed that this is the most powerful and useful tool for Andalusia to continue working because economic and social recovery is at stake and this is not the time to slow down, which is why he asked the political groups to reflect and not to make mistakes because “when you bet on Andalusia, you are never wrong”. “The Andalusian PSOE has two options. One is to bet on Andalusia and the other is to bet on the PSOE. They have a golden opportunity in their hands. The door of the Andalusian Government will be open waiting for their proposals and hoping to reach an agreement”.
Andalusia, a driving force for social change
In his speech, Moreno acknowledged the joint work with his partner in government, Ciudadanos. Thanks to this effort, which has been based on dialogue, understanding and agreement, “today Andalusia works”. And in this new model of policy-making, key elements have been the protection of essential public services, transparency and the fight against corruption, unprecedented support for job creation and an “unequivocally” social focus.
In relation to the latter, he assured that the autonomous community has managed, with the new Executive, to become a driving force for social change. In fact, Andalusia is currently the region with the second highest score (7.1) on the Dependency Observatory scale, only surpassed by Castile and Leon. He also highlighted the value of the 450 million euros of the Next Generation EU that will be invested in Dependency until 2023, modernising management, attending to children and adolescents and improving accessibility.
The Andalusian President highlighted the three groups to which the Andalusian Government devotes special attention. The first of these is the elderly, for whom a Strategic Plan has been approved with a budget of 145 million euros 20 years after it was conceived.
It has also placed emphasis on minors, for whom the Law on Childhood and Adolescence in Andalusia was approved in July, and on women who are victims of gender violence. For them, in particular, the shelter resources, the staff who help them and the women’s helpline have been reinforced, multiplying their budget by 10. She also stressed that her government is going to award a contract for a comprehensive service to make it easier for women who are victims of gender violence to find employment.
In terms of employment, she stressed that the Andalusian Government is the great ally of young people, she said, while highlighting her government’s support for vocational training. In this regard, he specified that his government has resolved more than 27,000 grant applications that had not been processed and has recovered 11 training projects, worth 41 million euros, in the hotel and catering, tourism, digitalisation and construction sectors. It is also processing another 56 million in subjects and groups, such as young people up to 30 years of age, in the aerospace sector, English, 5G and entrepreneurs, and is promoting courses for the young unemployed, people in ERTE, training for social dialogue and collective bargaining.
With regard to the self-employed, he valued the fact that Andalusia has surpassed Madrid and Catalonia in the number of self-employed for the first time in history, also leading the creation of businesses in Spain. On this point, he called on all those self-employed workers who have not yet applied for state aid for the solvency of companies and the self-employed to do so, the deadline for which is 2 November.
Reform to boost Andalusian economic development
With regard to the economy, he highlighted his government’s profound reform to boost Andalusia’s economic development, with less bureaucracy so that there will be more businesses and jobs.
In this context, he stated that his government will soon approve the Strategy for Economic Transformation in Andalusia (ETEA) and has emphasised the clear support for industry and small and medium-sized businesses and crafts, with more than 100 million in incentives.
Similarly, he pointed to the General Entrepreneurship Plan until 2027, approved in June, and the launch of Andalucía Trade, a one-stop shop to attract investment and boost the economy and business. In addition, next December his government will launch a line of aid for advice to SMEs for their digital transformation, with a budget of three million euros.
During his reply, he also spoke about tourism and education. On the former, he highlighted hotel occupancy in August, which reached 85%, and that of the long weekend of 12 October, which rose to 78%, registering 95% in coastal areas. “All forecasts have been exceeded because Andalusia is perceived as a safe destination,” he added.
On the part of Education, he has highlighted the increase in the budget for this area since 2018, which has done so by 16%, and that the teaching staff is now the largest that has ever existed in public education, 104,000 teachers and professors (almost 110,000 with the Covid reinforcements). There is now also a larger public employment offer and more substitutions, as he stated; 16,000 more places in vocational training and 664 Dual Vocational Training projects, and 394 more classrooms have been added than in 2018.
Regarding public universities, he recalled that his government has approved a new funding model this year, “the result of dialogue”; it has increased the economic endowment this year, which is now 11% higher than in 2018 – more than 1,500 million – and, for the third consecutive year, it has frozen university fees, making Andalusia one of the three autonomous communities where they cost the least in Spain. And, for the first time, the incorporation of unaffected residual cash has been authorised and has been applied to investments: 148 million in 2020 and 94 million in 2021.
Finally, he applauded the Strategic Plan to Support Andalusian Sport that his government is developing and which will have plans in practically all Andalusian provinces, as well as the recovery of the Cartuja Stadium in Seville, which today is the venue for major sporting events, and the increase in hours of Physical Education in schools, with the aim of fighting obesity. He also highlighted the wide-ranging programme of events organised by ‘Andalusia European Region of Sport’, the first region to hold the title.