Spain will receive 8,290 million Euro from the European Union (EU) to improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector through measures such as the restructuring of farms. 

The figure is included in the Partnership Agreement signed between the European Commission (EC) and Spain, which establishes the strategy for the optimal use of the Structural Funds and the European Investment in the country. 

The agreement, signed on Thursday, October 30, paves the way to invest 28,580 million Euro in the complete funding of the cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020 (at current prices, including the financing of the European territorial cooperation and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Spain will also receive 8,290 million Euro for rural development and 1,160 million Euro for the fisheries and maritime sectors. 

According to sources from the Commission, the EU investment will help tackle unemployment and boost economic growth and competitiveness by supporting innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. Furthermore, the investment will encourage entrepreneurship, will help fight against social exclusion and contribute to the development of a green economy that will make efficient use of resources. 

Regarding the execution of this Agreement, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, stated that, "this is a vital investment plan, which puts Spain on the path of growth and job creation for the next ten years. This Partnership Agreement reflects the joint commitment of the European Commission and Spain to use EU funds in the most efficient manner possible. Our investments must be strategic, consistent with the new cohesion policy, which focuses on the real economy, sustainable growth and investment in people. We'll need to focus on quality and not on speed in the next few months, since the investments from the Structural Funds and the European Investment are planned for 2014-2020. The commitment of all parties to ensure the implementation of quality programs is necessary." 

Daian Ciolos, Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated that, "this association agreement with Spain is an important step in the development and implementation of a successful rural development policy in that country, as it facilitates the coordination and synergies with other EU funds that will make the investments more efficient."

Ciolos stated that, " the agriculture and rural areas in Spain have great potential and many advantages, but also face significant challenges. The new rural development programs contribute to improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector through measures such as the restructuring of farms, while taking into account the environmental and social sustainability issues of the rural areas through the promotion of job creation and investments to improve living conditions in said areas. "