CARMEN PLANAS

Spain 2021 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Carmen Planas, President of the Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearic Islands (CAEB), about representing the island's economy, diversification, and priorities for 2022.

What role does CAEB play in promoting the economy of the Balearic Islands, and how does it act to facilitate investment? How representative is CAEB of the islands' economy?

CAEB is the most representative business association on the Balearic Islands and is in charge of managing the lobby efforts of its members. In other words, it represents and defends business interests, while it also acting as the official interlocutor before the public authorities and social agents. As part of that process, CAEB negotiates laws and agreements that affect the companies' operations. Additionally, CAEB has signed a collaboration protocol with the Official Credit Institute (ICO) to support investment. It is also a collaborating agent of ICO in providing custom-made assistance to SMEs and the self-employed on the Balearic Islands to help them select the financing facilities that best suit their needs.

Mallorca is seeking to diversify its economy and is looking for sectors with growth potential connected to already consolidated industries such as tourism and construction. Which sectors are best positioned to promote the diversification of the economy?

In order to diversify the Balearic Islands' economy, it is essential to improve business competitiveness, which means working to strengthen value-added services and transforming the economic base. Our economy requires companies that facilitate tractor effects and improve positioning in global markets. In order for companies on our islands to be more competitive, we need a framework that is favorable to change and a cross-cutting and wide-ranging work to respond to our needs.

Spain is making progress in receiving European funds that will serve to deepen the sustainable and digital transformation of local economies. How will CAEB support these funds to be allocated to projects with great capacity to transform the economy of the Balearic Islands?

Balearic companies cannot afford to be left out of European funds or have limited access to them. To this end, it will be essential to overcome important barriers of various kinds by means of a specialized Technical Projects Office. In relation to this, CAEB set up a European projects office in July to offer member companies the task of providing information and dissemination, as well as identifying specific challenges of the Balearic productive fabric aimed at suitable calls for proposals with the capacity to compete competitively. The office, therefore, will be an essential interface to connect the different agents involved.

What are CAEB's priorities for 2022, taking into account the context of recovery and the probable economic upturn in the Balearic Islands and Spain?

In short, CAEB's priorities for the coming year include the creation of a development framework that guarantees the competitiveness and sustainability of the business sector and, by extension, of Balearic society as a whole. Companies are committed to society and the ecosystem that surrounds us to promote responsible and sustainable management models, emphasizing the contribution of the private sector to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals. In turn, in this context of recovery, it is necessary to go beyond the traditional view of competitiveness based on actions aimed at a specific sector or branch of activity and increase business competitiveness to sustain an open, entrepreneurial, innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and technologically advanced economy. In short, improving business competitiveness means working to diversify the economic activity.