Thursday, January 20

Editorial ABC: Agreements that are not enough



Beyond the internal disputes in the Government between José Luis Escrivá and Yolanda Díaz, and beyond their growing differences with the CEOE and the unions on account of the extension of the ERTE, the agreement finally reached is optimal and reasonable, although it supposes delay the bath of reality that awaits us. It will be able to continue benefiting 600,000 workers in a delicate labor situation, and show that there are still essential consensuses despite the political tension and the State’s cash difficulties. However, the fracture has been very evident these days. So much so that the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, did not participate yesterday in the official photograph that initialed the agreement because his lack of harmony with Escrivá has been very noticeable. The Government continues to handle concepts that are antagonistic to those of the business community and, as the CEOE believes, many ministers do not live in reality, but in their bubble. That is the bottom line. The ERTE model has been a useful solution, as has been demonstrated during the pandemic. But it is a temporary solution that sooner or later must come to an end. For his extension, Escrivá came to propose a reduction of such caliber in the ERTE that not only denatured them by penalizing companies, but also intended to create a fiction so that the unemployment lists would not increase. Its technicalities concealed the political interest to cover up appearances while leaving more than half a million workers in uncertainty.

The Government is not right if it poses a scenario in which the economic and business crisis linked to the pandemic would have been overcome, to the point of placing us in the pre-Covid figures. That has not happened and will not happen. But what is true and real is that we are already in the new reality, this is what there is. Companies will have to assume that we have what we have, greater or lesser but certainly worse than before March 2020. And it is time to act accordingly, adjust to the market and disconnect from public aid that paralyze the reaction necessary to accommodate to the new reality.

The pandemic has not ended despite the overactive euphoria of a Prime Minister obsessed with presenting ethereal economic plans, prospects for the future until 2050, and a lot of empty talk based on environmentalism. Sánchez cannot create a virtual reality that is different from the one that many thousands of workers still suffer from because it only increases their hopelessness. There is no end to the crisis and, therefore, the diagnosis made by the Government is wrong. The exceptionality of ERTE will continue until September 30. And it is good that it is so. But perpetuating this scenario by doping the economy or sustaining it with assisted respiration is impossible. Sánchez needs more reality baths and less obsessive propaganda. The economic scenario in Spain is dramatic – although yesterday the OECD gave us a break predicting that the recovery is accelerating – and a conscious, sincere and realistic assessment of what is to come is lacking because at some point Spain will have to play without a net to recover. If Sánchez insists on starting from false hypotheses, we will all fail. The economic world begins to lose patience and trust in a president whose speech is based on falsehoods and grievances. The message being sent to Europe is also negative. If one part of the Government insists on repealing the labor reform and another is aware that this is unfeasible, all they have to do is clarify themselves, forget their tacticism and assume the same sacrifices that Spaniards face.

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