Once the evacuation from Afghanistan (at least the first phase) has been concluded , the Government resumes its agenda. Pedro Sánchez will officially kick off the political course next Wednesday, September 1 , at the Casa de América in Madrid, as sources from the Executive tell this newspaper.
It will be in an act in which he will be surrounded by members of his Cabinet, businessmen and members of culture and civil society, and in which he will star in an ” important ” speech . “It will serve to set priorities, to set the Government’s political framework for next year and guide the new phase of recovery after the pandemic.
We are entering a new time for the second part of the legislature and we are working to consolidate the good performance of the economy “, they point out from Moncloa. The president returns to a format with which he feels comfortable and in which his new team will have to decide if it maintains the aesthetics that was so exploited by the defenestrated Iván Redondo (lover of pageantry and marketing) or to bet on a change also in the forms .
ut regardless of the priorities set by Sánchez in his speech on Wednesday, he has unavoidable challenges ahead. From Budgets, the most relevant economic law of the year, to the deployment of European funds, the culmination of the fight against the pandemic or the resumption of dialogue with Catalonia.
The leader of the PSOE is already barely a month and a half away from the 40th Federal Congress that will renew the party’s structures, although before it will proceed to the replacement in the directions of Congress and Senate. In Moncloa they emphasize that the thread that unites all the movements and objectives is one, the “fair” recovery , the “leaving no one behind”.
The leitmotif that he considers to reaffirm him in the Executive in some generals that, as he proclaimsThey will not arrive before the end of 2023, when the Spanish feel the improvement of the economy and perceive the fight against the covid behind.
New accounts to strengthen stability
Pedro Sánchez wants to have Budgets for 2022 to shore up the image of stability of his Executive , although with the current ones approved, he could bring the legislature to term. The Council of Ministers approved the spending ceiling in July ( 196,142 million, similar to 2021 ), but has yet to report it to Congress.
The suspension of the fiscal rules authorized by the EU means that the Executive does not have to ask the support of the Chamber for the path of stability. Treasury and United We can first agree on the PGE, but the talks, as confirmed by both parties, are still ” very preliminary”.
The purple ones will demand that the PSOE include the measures contemplated in the coalition agreement. Among them, the tax reform, a chapter in which they demand a minimum corporate tax of 15%, as has been agreed internationally .
Sánchez celebrated the OECD agreement , but at the same time considers that it is not the time to raise taxes . And already in July he warned the purple ones that he would not give in, because he understands that it is a priority to settle the recovery.
“We want to recover the economy, get out of it, overcome the pandemic, modernize our economy with European funds,” he justified. Since then, it has not gotten off that tile. Sources very close to the head of the Treasury, María Jesús Montero , are convinced that there will be an agreement with United We Can and see ” willingness ” in the partners. Specifically, ERC is ” receptive, apparently.
“The door of Cs is completely closed, as confirmed this Wednesday by its leader, Inés Arrimadas . The ministry’s forecast is to register the accounts for 2022” in a timely manner “, before September 30. Almost a year after that Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias will close the budget pact for 2021 , the housing law is still pending, with no signs of agreement yet .
The deployment of European funds
European funds are already a tangible reality. On August 17, the Commission disbursed the first 9,000 million , 13% of the 70,000 million in transfers that Spain will receive until 2026. The Government is convinced that the manna from Brussels will be essential to modernize the country and relaunch the economy after the covid-19 pandemic.
The recovery plan, the vehicle that will channel the enormous injection of public resources and that will enable the ” great transformations that the country needs ” to be set in motion , is articulated around four transversal axes(ecological transition, which will account for 40% of investments; digital transformation; social and territorial cohesion and gender equality), which are specified in ten lever policies, 30 components and 212 major investments and reforms .
Spain aspires to attract, in total, 140,000 million euros , between grants and loans (to which the Government has not yet resorted, although it has until 2026 to do so). But it will have to demonstrate to the EU, every six months, that it is complying with the promised reforms and investments. This will allow the following disbursements.
Thus, Spain would receive between 2021 and 2023 80% of the planned transfers (just when the following general transfers are expected). The Government also believes in the multiplier effect of European funds, and that explains the president’s trip to the US in July to attract investment, which he hopes could begin to materialize this fall.
The State Budgets for 2021 already included items for the implementation of the plan, and this has allowed, as Economy recalled , that they have “been able to execute part of the resources before receiving the first disbursements from the Commission.
” In addition, the distribution of more than 7,250 million to the autonomous communities has been assigned and agreed between the different sectoral conferences to channel investments in matters such as ecological transition, housing, education or health .
Economy reported on August 17 that more than 17,500 projects submitted have responded to the 25 expressions of interest related to the plan . The first Perte (Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation) has already been launched, that of the electric vehicle , with which it is expected to mobilize 24,000 million thanks to public-private collaboration .
Vaccination: in search of 90%
The goal of reaching 70% of the population vaccinated with the full regimen before the end of August is imminent. The latest data from the Ministry of Health put this figure at 68.4% and the rate of vaccination, slowed down during the summer holidays, picks up speed again.
However, the delta variant – dominant in Spain and more contagious – has forced to modify the Government’s goal: group immunity requires reaching up to 90% of citizens immunized against COVID.
To this new milestone, necessary to avoid future waves of the magnitude of the one experienced this summer, is added the Executive’s decision on whether to inject a third dose of Pfizer as a booster.
At the moment, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias , in cooperation with the autonomies, has not yet made a decision, although she assured that they are “ready . ” While waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the studies of the pharmaceutical companies themselves, it remains to be seen who and when will receive that extra dose .
The return of the Catalan agenda
With the granting of pardons to the ‘procés’ prisoners and with the drastic change of government , Sánchez also sought to turn the page on the first stage of the legislature. Now, in the second part, he wants the focus to be on a ” fair recovery ” and much less on Catalonia.
But the folder is still there, hot, and his Cabinet does not intend to evade it either. The first test will be the second meeting of the dialogue table, which was agreed with Pere Aragonès for the week of September 13 and in Barcelona .
But, as confirmed by sources very close to the new Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez , there is still no specific date of celebration. Nor, obviously, agenda. Neither composition of the two delegations. ” It has not been possible to advance anything yet, ” they indicate.
In the Executive they point to the Government: they remember that ERC and Junts ” have not stopped fighting ” during the summer about the usefulness and limits of the table. The Government emphasizes that there is no dialogue outside the law and the Constitution, that dialogue must also take place within Catalonia, between independentists and non-independentists.
He is willing to design a ” transversal ” proposal , which he has not specified, but he has reiterated ad nauseam that he will not accept either a referendum on self-determination or amnesty . United We can limit itself to emphasizing that dialogue is necessary and that an agreed solution must be found. In the bilateral of August 2, it was agreed to advance in the transfers and, in parallel, The controversial expansion of the El Prat airport was agreed , which also divides the members of the Government.
Intense autumn in Congress
An important part of the government’s legislative agenda will reach the Congress of Deputies this fall. The democratic memory law , approved by the Executive in mid-July and which will make it illegal for the Francisco Franco Foundation, will reach the lower house in the coming months.
The same will happen with the pension reform , to which the Council of Ministers gave the green light last Tuesday, despite not having the support of its partners in Congress . But before the end of the year, the negotiation of the second part of the reform of the system, more conflictive , should be completed .
In addition, the trans law is still pending. (As soon as the reports of the advisory bodies are in, the Council of Ministers will proceed to a second reading and will send the bill to the Cortes) and the purple wing is working on a new norm of family diversity.
The Executive will also start the social dialogue in the coming days to raise the minimum interprofessional salary , after the understanding between the vice presidents Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz . Where they will find more differences will be in the repeal of the labor reform . At the end of October they will also have to decide whether to extend the so-called “social shield” again.
No unlocking in sight
The eternal dispute over the renewal of institutional bodies will not disappear from the government’s agenda this fall. The PP continues to reject any negotiation proposal and Sánchez himself considered the replacement of Pablo Casado’s position impossible . Thus, the General Council of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman and the Court of Accounts – the last to join this list – will remain hanging for the time being.
This situation could lead to tensions within the coalition government, with the purple ones demanding forceful measures that the PSOE rejects . Resignation is palpable in Moncloa, although there are those who believe that the PP will end up giving up when verifying that its strategy “does not work” and the socialists “come back” in the polls.
For now, a call from the president to Casado is not contemplated . In fact, it has irritated the Executive that the head of the PP returned to the load with new criticisms of the mission to evacuate Afghanistan, which Sánchez himself described on Friday as “successful . ” But the president and his ministers will continue to call the PP to promote renewal.
The popular, for their part, are not willing to bend their arm and demand that the Government change the law so that the members of the CGPJ are elected by the judges themselves. Casado, who broke a small truce with Sánchez last Wednesday, will continue to pressure the chief executive in front of the gallery, denouncing that the festering of the Socialists on this issue could ruin European funds.
Tensions between partners: from housing to light
Both the PSOE and United We can proclaim that the coalition will hold out until the end of the term. But after a time of certain calm that followed the departure of Pablo Iglesias from the Executive and the rise of Yolanda Díaz , the tension increased.
In fact, the purple ones have not hidden their anger this summer, due to the return of minors to Morocco (which has triggered criticism of Fernando Grande-Marlaska ) or due to the rise in the price of electricity.
In the PSOE they do not give any more route to the differences, they attribute them to the wishes of ” visibility ” on the part of UP and its backwardness in the polls. But it has hurt, however, the lack of ” loyalty”of the partners on an issue as sensitive as the electricity bill , as indicated by the Ecological Transition. Vice President Teresa Ribera , also questioned by the opposition, appears precisely this Monday to respond to an issue of enormous social impact.
The relationship between PSOE and UP will revive old tensions ( housing ) and illuminate new ones, but both have digested them with a certain normality and believe that the greatest glue , between them and with their investiture allies, is the attitude of the right and the ” Follow-up “that they attribute to the PP with respect to Vox.
Renewal, now, in the PSOE
Sánchez first ordered a profound renewal in the Government , which affected not only the faces, but also the wheels of power . Now a parallel movement is expected in the PSOE . On October 15, 16 and 17 , in Valencia, the 40th Federal Congress will be held .
A lightening of the structure and multiple entrances and exits are taken for granted, although all the sources consulted insist on the continuity of the command bridge. Thus, Adriana Lastra , deputy secretary general since 2017, and the new number three , Santos CerdánThey could remain at the heart of the party, which could be joined by a man with more and more stripes for the chief: the new Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños .
But, before the 40th Congress, there will be time for another earthquake . The president is preparing the renewal of the addresses of the parliamentary groups, which Ferraz will approve at the executive meeting on September 6.
Lastra will focus on the party, Rafael Simancas jumped to the government , on the side of Bolaños, and the position of spokesman in the Senate is vacant. Sánchez wants to take the opportunity to give his squires a tour in both Chambers. Names have not transcended, but that of José Luis Ábalos – whose fall has not yet been explained – or that of former Lendakari Patxi López are ruled out .
The federal conclave will be a military outing for Sánchez. Then the regional, provincial and local congresses will be held in a cascade. Once the Andalusian dispute has been resolved – the mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas , has been a candidate for the Junta since June and, since July, secretary general of the PSOE-A, replacing Susana Díaz – the main internal battles will take place in Galicia and Madrid .
In the latter, sunk after the May 4 elections, the mayor of Fuenlabrada, Javier Ayala , and Juan Lobato , former first mayor of Soto del Real and deputy spokesperson in the regional Assembly, are already running.