Sunday, December 5

ERC and PNV keep the Government in suspense before the closing of the term to amend the Budgets | Spain

The parliamentary spokesmen of ERC, Gabriel Rufián (left), and of the PNV, Aitor Esteban, last August in Congress.
The parliamentary spokesmen of ERC, Gabriel Rufián (left), and of the PNV, Aitor Esteban, last August in Congress.Emilio Naranjo (EFE)

The Government will be in suspense until the last minute to know if it has the clear field in Congress to the General State Budgets. ERC and PNV maintain the threat of presenting amendments to request the return of the project, hours before the deadline to present them ends, at 2:00 p.m. this Friday. In the case of Esquerra, the uncertainty will remain until the end: he has summoned his executive at 11 in the morning to make a decision. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, appealed again this Thursday in Trujillo (Cáceres), to the responsibility of the parties to facilitate a “recovery [económica] fair ”. But ERC and PNV press hard on their most particular demands. Republicans demand that the future audiovisual law give a minimum quota for Catalan on television platforms such as Netflix, while the PNV hammers with the fulfillment of pending transfers to the Basque Country. Both formations only left the message this Thursday that they have their amendments to the totality ready and drafted and that they continued their contacts with the Executive until exhaustion.

The ERC and PNV negotiators held talks and exchanges of roles throughout Thursday and did not rule out rushing these steps until two in the afternoon this Friday, the deadline to register all amendments in Congress. They have already done so, without too many surprises, the three parties of the center and the right, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, with similar arguments: they do not believe anything the optimistic numbers and forecasts of the Executive and denounce that the project is delivered to nationalist demands and populists. Junts also did, which understands as ERC that setting quotas for co-official languages ​​on audiovisual platforms should be an inalienable line. Carles Puigdemont’s party urges Republicans to join his side and move the Government with new negotiations.

ERC has been warning for weeks that the Executive was not taking note of their demands. The Republicans have explained to their interlocutors that it is not only a question of protecting Catalan, but of an entire sector that in Catalonia generates 6,702 million euros and 26,651 jobs. The audiovisual bill is promoted by the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, very reluctant to nationalist demands because she fears that they could endanger the investments in Spain of the large platforms. ERC sources only found “small progress” in this regard, reports Camilo S. Baquero.

The PNV reproaches the Executive for not meeting 25 commitments agreed last year to approve the current Budgets. That increases their distrust of new promises, such as the transfer of the management of the Minimum Vital Income, agreed in May last year.

EH Bildu, whose five deputies can be decisive, nevertheless rules out presenting an amendment to the entirety, except for some last-minute unforeseen event, according to sources from that group. This does not mean that it guarantees its support for the Budgets when the final vote arrives, according to the same sources, since for this they expect more negotiations with the Government. EH Bildu insists on demanding measures to advance “social and economic rights”. The situation of ETA prisoners remains on the sidelines, these sources say.

Of the rest of the smaller groups, only the CUP, with two deputies, has announced that it will also vote to return the accounts to the Executive. “We cannot support a government that systematically denies the right to self-determination,” declared its parliamentarian Mireia Vehí. Other formations such as Más País or the BNG are inclined to allow the processing of Budgets, although they also want to later negotiate counterparts for their final support.

One of the issues that he plans in parallel to the budget negotiation is the demand of the PNV and the groups further to the left to repeal the gag law, bogged down for three years. PSOE and United We Can have resumed talks to unblock the matter and this Thursday sources from the minority partner announced progress. The two groups agree to modify the articles that provide sanctions for some public protests that were not previously communicated to the authorities and to remove the restrictions on the taking of images of police officers in their public performances.

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