Q What are the advantages of Castilla-La Mancha compared with Spain’s other autonomous regions?

A Today, 95% of the population lives within 15 minutes of a motorway and half an hour from a high-speed railway station. Moreover, the former military airbase of Los Llanos in Albacete has been turned into a civil airport and we recently inaugurated the airport of Ciudad Real. Another significant advantage here is our long tradition of political stability.

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Q What can you say about the cost of labour and land?

A Labour costs are highly competitive within a Spanish context. Our region covers 80,000 square kilometres and most of it allows for easy construction. There is a large area of industrial land available to investors and our legal system favours investment. We understand that time is crucial and our administrative system for approving applications is simple and fast. We also have a highly qualified workforce. Our university has turned out more than 45,000 engineering graduates in the past 10 years and we are the only Spanish region to spend 6% of its GDP on education.

Q In which sectors can you identify investment opportunities?

A We are making a major effort to build up our aeronautical industry. A large supplier industry is growing in Albacete in conjunction with the helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter. We are also witnessing a boom in the number of highly qualified personnel in this area, due to the efforts of the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the growth of scientific and technology parks. Another incentive is our policy of providing financing and training facilities for the people required by these industrial sectors. We are also witnessing the growth of carbon fibre production in our region, the key to the 21st century’s industrial growth.

Q Are there other areas that could attract investment?

A We have just inaugurated two plants built by high-tech pharmaceutical companies to develop biotech research. Our agricultural industry represents a significant portion of the regional economy, with room for further growth and diversification. We are also advancing in the logistics sector, which we believe has tremendous growth potential. Ciudad Real airport will be a major transport centre, with the potential to become a logistics platform for the distribution of goods from all over the world. We are also making great strides in renewable energy. Castilla-La Mancha produces more megawatts of wind and solar power than any other Spanish region. We are net exporters of renewable energy and have the largest thermo-solar plant in Europe. We are also Spain’s biggest wind power producer.

Q What is being done to develop the region’s transport system?

A We are putting together a transport and infrastructure plan that will include an investment of more than €11bn. This will put our infrastructure on a par with that of any Spanish autonomous region.

Q How has the global crisis affected Castilla-La Mancha?

A The construction industry is a significant part of our economy. In recent years, Castilla-La Mancha has experienced faster population growth than any another part of Spain, mainly because of the overflow from Madrid. This brought with it a high level of construction to accommodate the growing population and the sector has suffered in the downturn. But we have launched a programme to retrain workers in the construction industry, which is aimed at minimising the impact of job losses.

CURRICULUM VITAE

JOSÉ MARÍA BARREDA

2004Junta de Castilla-La Mancha

President

1999Castilla-La Mancha

Vice-president

1997PSOE de Castilla-La Mancha

Secretary-general

1991Cortes de Castilla-La Mancha

President

1988Castilla-La Mancha

Vice-president