The Government has not achieved its objective of garnering broad parliamentary support in the commission for social and economic reconstruction. At least on his first try. The commission’s work, which has spanned two months, ended on Friday with the vote on the respective reports of the four working groups. The documents have been approved with the support of the 155 deputies of the PSOE and United We Can and some punctual votes for each of them.
The absence of Vox, which has excluded itself from the vote, has allowed the other groups to maintain their negotiating positions until the next, and last, opportunity: the debate in plenary session of the final opinions on July 22 and whose compliance by of the administrations will depend on the political will, since there is no legal link to do so.
At the height of the pandemic, Pedro Sánchez proposed new “Moncloa pacts” to confront, with the greatest possible political and social support, the ravages of the crisis, which was then clear that it would be profound. The negotiation with the PP leader, Pablo Casado, transferred the framework of the talks to Congress, in a parliamentary commission subdivided into four working groups: Economy, EU, Health, Social Policies and Care System.
In a vote that has lasted for more than five hours, with hundreds of amendments debated, many of them transacted on the march, the government parties have failed to maintain the support of the investiture and have hardly won, in three of the documents , that of Citizens. The balances to maintain a variable parliamentary arithmetic not only have not achieved the objective of formations that voted against the investiture and have at times angered potential allies.
From the beginning, the intention of the government parties has been to accumulate broad parliamentary support. That is why they agreed on a proposal for minimum conclusions and with very general elements. The documents left out measures that had been announced, such as the tax on great fortunes that Pablo Iglesias has not completely renounced or the repeal of the labor reform, which in the end has caused a division between the two partners of the coalition.
Also from the PP and from Ciudadanos some concessions were made, more in the forms than in the background in the case of those of Casado, as demonstrated by the vote this Friday.
The final position of each one confirms the ideological gap that separates the blocks that were formed after the 10N elections. The PP rejects the four documents. In two of them, Economy and Social Policies, it has voted against mainly due to the fiscal policy of the Executive –which plans to raise taxes on higher incomes and large companies, which the PP flatly opposes– and by the decision of the PSOE and United We can stand firm that the injection of investment agreed in the field of Education will go “to the centers of direct public management”, which leaves out the concerted.
Lastra accuses the PP “of allying with the crisis”
Those of Casado, however, abstain in the Health and European Union blocks, in which the PP leadership sees the pact with the Executive as possible before the Plenary on the 22nd. Government sources maintain that in the negotiations led by Ana Pastor the PP has insisted on including in the conclusions the need to impose the health copayment, something that the coalition Executive has rejected. The popular pretend that the Executive assumes that “the pandemic’s epidemiological detection system” failed, that “it was late and the necessary means were not put in place” from the beginning. It also calls for the creation of a state health agency, as well as measures that “unify” the autonomous systems.
In European policy, the PP has insisted on tax matters. “If the socialist government and the government of Podemos, what it wants is that with the excuse of the reconstruction fund, taxes on Spaniards are raised, we say no,” Pastor herself said this Friday in an appearance in Congress. And he added: “in the European Union you have to be solidary and responsible.” In addition, the PP has demanded that the PSOE and Unidas Podemos withdraw from the document the point referring to an agreement between Gibraltar and the adjacent Spanish areas.
In any case, the PP believes that this Friday is just one step towards the pact that should be reached in plenary on the 22nd, and they make a positive assessment of the dialogue with the government in recent weeks.
The reaction of the PSOE does not go in that way. Her spokeswoman, Adriana Lastra, has told the media that for Casado “there only seems to be a burnt land policy and confrontation at any price, even if the price is paid by all citizens.”
“If this pandemic has made something clear it is the need for public health and applause is not enough, you have to commit to the facts,” added Lastra, who has accused Casado of “allying with the crisis.”
If the agreement has not been possible with the PP, Vox has not directly participated in the negotiation of the proposals for reconstruction after the pandemic.
From the PSOE they have congratulated themselves on the agreements reached, such as that of Citizens. The party of Inés Arrimadas will support three of the four opinions, as announced by its deputy spokesman, Edmundo Bal. Like the PP, Citizens rejects that the document on Social Policies and Care System leaves out concerted education
The deputy spokesman for Ciudadanos, Edmundo Bal, has assured that in the other three documents his 10 deputies will support the proposals of the PSOE and United Podemos after accepting these thirty amendments. And it has demanded, in addition to the aid to the concerted party, that the government parties leave out of the final agreement “the nationalists and the separatists.”
The ‘no’ of the investiture allies
Precisely the Basque and Catalan groups, which were key in Pedro Sánchez’s inauguration, have also not generally supported the documents of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos. EH Bildu, who saw the PSOE force a repeat vote to distance himself from an amendment that advocated repealing the PP’s labor reform, has voted against the four documents.
The independence group has accused the government of “not collecting basic measures for the protection of the social majority” and agreeing “with the right.”
In ERC, they have not chosen to support the coalition executive either, rejecting three of the four reports. In the EU, they have chosen to abstain.
As for the PNV, its position has been two noes in the Health and Social Policy documents, after its spokesman, Aitor Esteban, has denounced the “recentralizing” intention of the Government. In the economic document they have abstained and in the EU document they have voted in favor.
The balances that the government parties have sought, especially the PSOE, have also caused the anger of some allies. This is the case of Más País-Equo. In Wednesday’s session in the resolution of the working group on Economy they had agreed an amendment that asked that the companies that receive aid will not be able to distribute dividends. Two days later, another amendment, this time with Ciudadanos, ended this measure.
During the session there have also been errors, such as that of Unidos Podemos supporting an amendment by the PP, Ciudadanos and Junts per Catalunya in favor of the Austrian backpack. Upon detecting the error, the confederal spokesman has claimed to repeat the vote, but the president of the commission, Patxi López, has prevented it. United We can sources assure that they will appeal the decision.
In any case, both this error and all the conclusions approved this Friday will be reviewed on July 22 in plenary. It will be the second and last opportunity of the Government, the parties that support it and the rest of the parliamentary arc to reach a broad agreement on the bases of the social and economic reconstruction caused by the coronavirus crisis.