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Spain PM Pedro Sanchez plans to create 800,000 jobs to boost recovery from COVID-19

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Pedro Sanchez speaks on camera as he arrives for a European Union (EU) summit at the European Council Building in Brussels on October 1, 2020. European leaders are meeting to
Pedro Sanchez speaks on camera as he arrives for a European Union (EU) summit at the European Council Building in Brussels on October 1, 2020. European leaders are meeting to   -   Copyright  FRANCISCO SECO/AFP or licensors
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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has unveiled plans to create 800,000 jobs to revive an economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spain will be the second-largest recipient of money from the EU's coronavirus recovery fund, with €140 billion earmarked for Madrid.

Sanchez said the plan is the "roadmap for the modernisation of our country for the next six years" to "transform the hard blow of the pandemic into a huge opportunity".

The socialist leader made the announcement from the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, surrounded by television screens of ministers, ambassadors, and trade union representatives.

The prime minister explained that Madrid would spread and distribute the funds allocated by Brussels from 2021 to 2026.

More than 37% of the investments will be devoted to the ecological transition and almost 33% to the digital transition, in line with the European Commission's objectives, Sanchez confirmed.

Thanks to this recovery plan, Madrid hopes to gain 2.5 points of GDP growth per year for three years.

"It is not just a question of recovering the GDP that the pandemic has taken from us, it is a question of growing in a new [...] more sustainable way," he said.

Spain is the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone, but unemployment in the country has skyrocketed since the spring.

The country is currently behind schedule in the development of its recovery plan, while Italy and France presented their plans in September and Germany in June.

But the country's coalition government wanted to unveil plans to coincide with their draft budget for 2021, which has also fallen behind schedule.

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PPSOE) and Podemos hold on a minority in parliament and have been urging its potential allies to support the budget for weeks.

The recovery is moreover undermined by the second wave of the pandemic, which particularly affects Spain and has obliged the government to impose a partial closure of Madrid since Friday.