The President of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, stressed on Monday the ability and pride to look on an equal footing with any other region in Spain or Europe, “however rich it may be”. His speech, on the occasion of the Day of the Autonomous Community, was based on two fundamental pillars: to continue recovering the present with the aim of building a better future and that the new future continues the path of transformation that the Andalusian Government began three years ago. A change that relies on the enthusiasm, talent and courage of all Andalusians and that is based on the spirit of integration and the legacy of 28 February.
For this reason, he called for a modern and moderate Andalusianism, which listens and talks, and which, at the same time, distances itself from confrontation, polarisation and confusion. In this sense, he called for an open and tolerant society, based on firm principles such as respect, equality, honesty and solidarity.
During the ceremony to commemorate Andalusia Day at the Teatro de la Maestranza, he stressed the efforts of Andalusian society as a whole in facing the worst scenario since the approval of the Statute of Autonomy: the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a serious economic and social crisis. He also expressed his concern over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, at which time he expressed the solidarity of the Autonomous Community with the Ukrainian people.
Despite all these vicissitudes, he pointed out that, thanks to the courage and responsibility of all, Andalusia “is measuring up” and is setting an example by leading economic growth, job creation and the creation of companies. He also considered the Autonomous Community to be a benchmark in innovation, digital transformation and green economy, and that it has one of the most powerful tourism industries in the world. “Today, our land is strengthening its own voice with the vocation we have always had: to share it and contribute from the south to strengthen Spain, to make a more prosperous and humane world,” he said.
But this path, he said, is not free of obstacles, challenges and uncertainties. In this regard, he referred to the increase in the prices of energy, fuel and the shopping basket itself, which, in his opinion, makes it difficult for Andalusian families to make ends meet every day. Here, he highlighted his government’s reformist agenda, which, among other objectives, seeks to lower taxes for Andalusians and reduce obstacles to attract investment. In this respect, Moreno hopes that the national government will also use all instruments to lower the cost of living and prevent the impoverishment of Andalusian and Spanish society.
The exemplary response of teachers and healthcare professionals
The Andalusian president also paid tribute to the educational community, which, he said, has set an example of effort and innovation to preserve “what is essential”: the learning of Andalusian children. “Andalusian education is a formidable cog in the wheel of social cohesion that we must nurture with resources, strategies and laws that guarantee its quality and permanent renewal,” he added.
As for young people, he proposed “shaking up” everything that prevents their talent from sprouting and developing. “Andalusia wins when young people display all their ingenuity and freedom”, he added. He highlighted the modern, fresh and uncomplicated Andalusia that is emerging in towns and cities thanks to young people. In this context, he emphasised the manufacture of drones, aeroplanes and nanosatellites, the design of video games, research into new medicines and therapies, innovation in agro-industry and the influence of young people in the new paths of communication and culture.
With regard to health, he also acknowledged the efforts of health professionals. As he pointed out, public services, especially healthcare, have suffered unprecedented stress as a result of the Covid-19 “earthquake”. As a result, the Andalusian government reinforced the network of public hospitals and health personnel. On this point, he highlighted the responsibility of Andalusians to vaccinate against the virus. Thanks to this, in this sixth wave the pressure on hospitals has been less, which has been the case in primary care. “We are acting with absolute determination to ensure that it also has the quality that all Andalusians want,” he said.
For Moreno, the contribution of Andalusian women is essential for building a prosperous, inclusive and modern society. In her opinion, they must occupy more and more public space and be visible as a reference point for the best Andalusia. “The inequalities, glass ceilings and violence suffered by women are a problem for society as a whole and require a firm collective commitment to eradicate them”. And she continued: “It is the task of all of us, women and men, to advance in equality. The achievements made cannot hide the fact that there is still a long way to go”.
On the other hand, she assured that the new economic models cannot forget those who are most vulnerable, but on the contrary, must offer them more opportunities. In this regard, he gave the example of technology and innovation, which, as he stated, must serve to ensure that all Andalusians, in every corner of Andalusia, have access to quality public services. With digitalisation that does not leave the elderly behind.
The challenges of climate change
The Andalusian President considered that the climate and its effects are one of the greatest challenges facing Andalusia. Specifically, he referred to the increasingly persistent drought, which is conditioning the development of the Autonomous Community, reduces competitiveness and could hinder recovery. For this reason, he stressed the need for all administrations, especially the State, to join forces in order to build water infrastructures, “which are vital for our region”.
“Water is life, wealth and employment for Andalusia and, therefore, I encourage Andalusian society to take up the challenge, to mobilise ingenuity and resources to also win this battle against climate change,” he added.
In this regard, he defended the protection of Andalusia’s natural heritage and being at the forefront in the fight against climate change, with tourism, the countryside and agriculture as allies. “The identification and attachment of the towns and their people to the natural environment is the best guarantee for its conservation,” he continued. Moreno praised the courage and sacrifice of farmers, stockbreeders and seafarers, at which point he recalled the sailors who died at sea off Newfoundland.
“Despite the major problems affecting them, such as drought, the cost of supplies, prices at source or a CAP that Andalusian farmers do not deserve, they have made an exemplary effort to modernise and internationalise,” he said.
In relation to agri-food exports, he celebrated the fact that in 2021 a new historical record was registered, with 12,380 million euros. He also pointed out that Andalusia has also broken records in self-employment, with 563,000 entrepreneurs, placing it for the first time well ahead of the major Spanish economies. “The courage to undertake and invest must find Andalusia the best of destinations: the most attractive, prepared and friendly,” he said.
For all these reasons, he invited Andalusians to play a leading role in the recovery from the worst crisis in our recent history, taking advantage of the wonders offered by the Autonomous Community, overcoming the problems, persevering in our efforts and maintaining the ambition of an Andalusia that is a leader in prosperity and well-being. “I am convinced that together we are going to do it,” he said. During his speech, the President praised the talent, effort and spirit of achievement of the recipients of the titles of Favourite Son and Medals of Andalusia, in addition to being ambassadors of the Andalusia Brand.
The 28 February celebrations were also attended by the members of the Governing Council of the Junta; the President of the Andalusian Parliament, Marta Bosquet; the members of the Bureau and spokespersons of the Andalusian Parliament; the delegate of the Spanish Government in Andalusia, Pedro Fernández, as well as former presidents of the Junta de Andalucía, among other civil, judicial, ecclesiastical and military authorities.