Thursday, October 28

Montero blames “interested” voices for the government’s tension over aid

The Government spokesperson and Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, wanted to put out the fire of the tension that exists within the Executive on account of the business aid program, although she has finally stoked it by pointing out that there are voices “interested” in transfer those discrepancies that, in his opinion, “are not consistent with reality.” Montero has ruled in these terms on the information published in recent days regarding the discrepancies between the ministers on the amount of direct aid that the State will give out of the 11,000 million euros announced by the president, Pedro Sánchez, at the end February.

Without naming the ministers of United Podemos or other socialist members of the cabinet, Montero has clarified with a resounding tone that “what the Government says is the truth” in her own mouth as spokesperson, or publicly through the ministers. “There is no type of internal tension,” he indicated. And he has clarified to journalists that “it is not that they lie” but that “the information they are given is something that does not correspond to reality.” “If someone tells something or has lied, it is not up to me” to say so, Montero has indicated.

The words of the spokesperson come after several days in which the social vice president, Pablo Iglesias, has transferred to the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, his demand that the State allocate 8,000 of the 11,000 million planned to direct aid, and not are limited to the tourism and hotel sector. That pressure would have forced Calviño to delay the approval of the decree, scheduled for this Tuesday, to next Friday in an extraordinary Council of Ministers, as it will finally be.

However, Montero has denied that this delay is due to conflicts between ministers. “The delay is due solely and exclusively to technical issues,” he indicated on several occasions during the press conference on Tuesday. The minister has recognized that the amounts of the three planned programs (direct aid, restructuring of companies and rescue fund) are already outlined, although she has not wanted to anticipate them. Government sources indicate that it would be a distribution of 5,000 million for the first two actions and another 1,000 million for the second, although everything may vary until next Friday the Council of Ministers approves the decree.

What Montero has slipped is that these “technical issues” that cause the delay are closely related to one of Calviño’s efforts with this plan: that not a single euro is wasted in the system and that the aid reaches viable companies that they really need it, given the additional expense and the indebtedness that the State is going to assume with this additional program. “It is a question of hitting the scheme that best allows the fulfillment of these objectives,” said Montero. “It is about avoiding closures or settlements due to over-indebtedness or solvency problems,” he pointed out to refer to the latest legal fringes that will define the different programs.

Two more rescues

On the other hand, the Council of Ministers has approved the granting of aid amounting to 120 million euros to Asturian engineering Duro Felguera and 53 million to the airline Plus Ultra, within the framework of the rescue mechanism for strategic companies managed by the State Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI). With these authorizations there are already three ‘rescue’ operations for strategic companies, together with Air Europa, for 475 million, authorized last November.

Specifically, the amount of the aid to Duro Felguera is broken down into 70 million in a participative loan, 20 million in an ordinary loan and 30 million in capital contribution or participatory loan. The ‘rescue’ of Duro Felguera is conditional on the restructuring of the pending debt and the appointment of two directors by SEPI.

As for the airline Plus Ultra, which operates long-distance flights with Latin America, the Government has authorized the requested aid of 53 million, which is broken down into a participative loan of 34 million and an ordinary loan of 19 million.

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