News | Climate change and technology in an environment of uncertainty: keys points of the Spain 2020 Trends Forum, organized by EL PAÍS and KREAB

Kreab y El País triunfan en el Foro Tendencias


Climate change and technology in an environment of uncertainty: keys points of the Spain 2020 Trends Forum, organized by EL PAÍS and KREAB

At the opening, the Vice President of the European Central Bank, Luis de Guindos, called for a European “fiscal policy instrument” to accelerate the economy.

The acting Minister of Economy and Business, Nadia Calviño, closed the event with an intervention in which she appealed for budgetary discipline, social cohesion and structural reforms as axes of a competitive economy.

The event had the presence of presidents and CEOs of some of the biggest international Spanish companies, along with academics and journalists who shared their views on the future of the economic and political activity of our country.

September 18, 2019

With the aim of anticipating and analysing the opportunities and challenges that will mark politics and the economy in Spain in 2020, EL PAÍS and KREAB organised the second edition of the Trends Forum last Wednesday. It was held only hours after the announcement of a new electoral call following the lack of parliamentary agreements, the forum also served as a mouthpiece for companies to demand stability and guarantee investments.

The event had the presence of, among others, Nadia Calviño, acting minister of Economy and Business of the Government of Spain; the vice president of the European Central Bank, Luis de Guindos; Rafael del Pino, president of Ferrovial; Charlotte Erkhammar, global CEO of KREAB; Emilio Gayo, president of Telefónica Spain; José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, president of Bankia; Arancha González, executive director of the International Trade Centre; Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Repsol; Antonio Llardén, president of Enagás; Eduardo Madina, director of KREAB Research Unit; Marta Martínez, president of IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel, and Soledad Gallego-Díaz, director of EL PAÍS. Check out the event agenda here.


In the opening, Soledad Gallego pointed out the key points to equality in the education-business-information triangle. The director of EL PAÍS believes this to be a joint task in which the action must be sought. Charlotte Erkhammar, CEO of KREAB, who spoke about new generations with optimism also participated in the opening. Uncertainty should not be a reason to throw in the towel. The new generations that come standard with values related to sustainability, climate, personal balance and technology that, combined with the generations that have built Europe, give hope when laying the foundations of society for the next 40 years.

At the opening conference, Luis de Guindos begun his intervention by highlighting the traditional policies of interest rate drops. The vice president of the ECB warned that the drop in rates will not be enough for recovery. He also pointed out that as long as inflation is not around 2%, the objective of the ECB, the rates will not be touched. De Guindos detailed his institution’s recent commitments, highlighting the restart of the purchase of assets worth 20,000 million euros per month in order to continue providing liquidity to the markets.

The table moderated by Montserrat Domínguez, deputy director of EL PAÍS, on global geopolitical trends, was marked by the concept of multilateralism. For Arancha González, executive director of the International Trade Center (ITC), Spain is not in the European environment because of its political model of unilateralism in which pacts are not taking place in a society that claims them. Along these lines, Eduardo Madina (director of the KREAB Research Unit) has introduced the term “fiscal announciology” to refer to the way governors launch fiscal initiatives that remain in mere advertisements without any practical depth. For Madina “our rulers must leave fiction behind and take part in the documentary” focusing on solving the citizens’ real problems.

At the round table “compete in a global, digital and changing environment” in which Emilio Gayo (president of Telefónica Spain) and Marta Martínez (president of IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel) participated, the technological axis was presented as the key aspect in the society of the 21st century. For the president of IBM, organisations must be able to explain technology and put the importance of transparency and ethics in digital transformation on the table. For Emilio Gayo we must create secure systems that transfer trust to the consumer about the ethical and responsible use of the data. The president of Telefónica Spain stressed the need for regulation and taxation in line with a digital transformation that has broken borders.

Large companies such as Enagás, Bankia, Ferrovial and Repsol participated in the round table on global trends for 2020. The table started with a review of the last year’s conclusions, where the speakers José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and Josu Jon Imaz resumed the necessary optimism that they talked about last year and that continues to be necessary for the improvement of the economy. For the president of Enagás, Antonio Llardén next year’s elections in the USA, the impending constitution of the Commission and European Parliament and Brexit will set the agenda in the short term. At the same table, the president of Ferrovial, Rafael del Pino, put focus on education and, although he is optimistic, the threat of a fractionation of Europe shadows the improvement of the economy. The constituents of the table discussed how the negative impacts of one sector can be positive for another. Thus, a drop in rates that penalises banks’ profitability means an improvement in credit for families and businesses. Finally, the speakers stressed that the political class must be responsible and reduce uncertainty from discourse and the parliament through agreements that generate confidence in the markets.

At the event’s closing, Nadia Calviño, acting minister of Economy and Business, pointed out the improvement points which they have been working in a structural way. Thus unemployment, public debt and budgetary imbalances are the axes of the ministry that leads with positive results. Calviño recalled the apocalyptic voices that have been heard since joining as a minister: “For 15 months I’ve been hearing that the end of the world will be tomorrow, but the Spanish economy is behaving better than many thought (…) growing twice as much as the EU average”. Nadia Calviño is responsible for the Digital Agenda and, along these lines, the launch of a debate forum on ethics and digitalisation as well as the launch of the Digital Future Society initiative has advanced in a few months.


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