ANALYSIS OF RD-LAW 11/2022: MEASURES TO DEAL WITH THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT, SITUATIONS OF VULNERABILITY (FROM COVID19) AND PALM RECOVERY

Royal Decree-Law 11/2022 of 25 June adopting and extending certain measures to respond to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine, to address situations of social and economic vulnerability, and for the economic and social recovery of the island of La Palma.

RDL 11/2022, which entered into force on 27 June 2022, reflects the pressing and urgent realities facing the international scene today.

The objectives of the regulation are: (i) to alleviate the economic and social consequences caused by the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, (ii) to continue to address the situations of social and economic vulnerability that have persisted since the arrival of Covid-19, and (iii) to address the consequences of the volcanic eruption that began on 19 September 2021 in the Cumbre Vieja area of La Palma.

The first article amends Royal Decree-Law 6/2022 of 29 March, which adopts urgent measures within the framework of the National Response Plan to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine, which in most cases involves an extension of the validity of existing measures until 31 December 2022, but also introduces new aspects that directly affect formal, procedural and even substantive issues.

The main aspects covered are: (i) measures to speed up procedures relating to renewable energy projects, (ii) the extraordinary and temporary rebate on the final price of certain energy products, (iii) the temporary non-tax public asset benefit to be provided by wholesale operators of petroleum products, and (iv) measures to support the agricultural, livestock and fisheries sector.

It also complements (v) measures to support vulnerable workers and groups. Among the most noteworthy are the measures in the labour sphere, the extraordinary increase in the minimum living income benefit, the extraordinary increase in retirement and disability pensions in the Social Security system, in their non-contributory form, and the flexibility of natural gas supply contracts, together with the extension of the discounts for the social bonus for electricity until 31 December 2022.

Another important block for which the regulation introduces a package of measures is that relating to transport. In this respect, direct aid is established for passenger transport, the initial beneficiaries of which will be the autonomous communities and local entities that provide urban or interurban collective transport services, as well as supramunicipal local entities that group together several municipalities. To this end, the creation of two extraordinary appropriations is approved, totalling 200 million euros. In addition, compensation is expressly provided for the transport entities or operators that make the intended effective discounts.

Continuing with the transport measures, its impact extends even to Law 15/2009, of 11 November, on the contract for the land transport of goods in relation to the price of transport. Along the same lines, all invoices referring to road transport carried out between 1 July and 31 December 2022 must show a breakdown of the cost of the fuel necessary to carry out the transport.

Finally, a last block is introduced relating to measures to address situations of social and economic vulnerability, which not only affect the energy sector, including tax measures, but also extend measures established in Royal Decree-Law 8/2021 of 4 May (urgent measures in the health, social and jurisdictional fields, to be applied after the end of the state of alarm). In addition, measures are introduced to support the intensive gas industry, the agricultural sector (financing) and, finally, new social, labour and tax measures exclusively for those affected by the last volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma.

It should also be noted that the suspensions of eviction procedures and evictions for vulnerable households without housing alternatives are once again extended, and a direct line of aid is created for individuals with low incomes and assets in order to alleviate the effects of the invasion of Ukraine.

This new RDL does not provide for an extension of the obligation to file for insolvency proceedings, nor does it make any pronouncements on measures such as ERTEs to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.

In short, we are faced with a regulation that comes with a broad package of measures with a direct impact on the energy, industrial, agricultural and transport sectors, measures that not only deal with new extensions until the end of 2022 but also add substantial aspects whose transcendence has been highlighted by the current events that are having a major impact at national level. However, this RDL does not provide for the important and long-awaited extension of the obligation for companies to declare insolvency, nor the ERTEs that are in force until 30 June 2022.

 

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