Saturday, April 13

The Government seeks the PP for a “country pact” amid new tensions with Podemos

The Minister of Territorial Policy and Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, participates in the press conference after the Council of Ministers, this Tuesday, in the Moncloa Palace complex. / EFE/ Zipi

The minority partner of the coalition rejects the increase in defense spending announced by Sánchez and calls for a comprehensive tax reform

Paula de las Heras

It will not be from today to tomorrow. The Government gives itself two weeks, until the 29th of this month, to reach a “great country pact” that allows it to face the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine and ten days, until the European Council on the 24th and 25, to convince the EU allies that the time has come to do what they rejected until weeks ago: an intervention in the energy market to prevent the skyrocketing price of gas from conditioning that of electricity. In the Executive they believe that it is now possible to achieve one thing and the other, despite the reluctance of some European countries and the palpable tensions that the new scenario has unleashed not only with the opposition but between the coalition partners themselves.

“Indeed, we believe that this time the agreement is going to take place, the situation is so unprecedented, historical, that not being there would be, precisely, a historical error,” said this Tuesday, specifically about the PP, the minister spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez , in his usual appearance after the Council of Ministers. Just a few hours earlier, Alberto Núñez Feijóo had reproached the Executive for delaying the approval of tax reductions and United We Can – this time all of United We Can, without distinction – had made known its disagreement with the decision, announced the day before by Pedro Sánchez, to increase the Defense budget to progressively approach the 2% of GDP claimed by NATO.

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Unlike what happened with the shipment of weapons to Ukraine – which fractured the confederal space to the left of the PSOE – this new rectification by the chief executive does not even have the support of Vice President Yolanda Díaz and so they worried this Tuesday to transmit it from its environment.


  • Concept.
    “We believe that the agreement is going to happen; The situation is so unprecedented that not being there would be a historical error»

  • European offensive.
    The president closes meetings with eight European leaders ahead of the crucial Council of 24 and 25

In Moncloa, however, they play down the matter. Among other things because there is not even an intention to materialize the commitment soon. The discussion will come, in any case, when the next General State Budgets are drawn up and by then no one dares to predict what the context will be. But, in addition, despite the fact that 2024 is the horizon set by the Atlantic Alliance to meet the goal, the Executive is very careful to talk about dates.

Different are the tensions derived from the eventual prescriptions against the rampant inflation, increased by the conflict initiated by Vladimir Putin. Podemos does not reject lowering taxes, but calls for an ambitious tax reform that forces large fortunes and large companies to pay more, a check for 300 euros to help families pay the electricity bill and an increase in income. Vital Minimum of 18%.

“Right hand drives”

Some voices in the ranks of the coalition’s minority partner fear that Sánchez will lean, with the excuse of war, towards more conservative approaches in search of centrality. And they are not alone. “Sánchez wins primaries by becoming the most leftist but then he governs with right-wing impulses,” Esquerra’s spokesman in Congress, Gabriel Rufián, warned on Tuesday.

The Government spokeswoman replied that what all the parties have to say will be heard, but she did not hide the importance that the Socialists attach to the agreement with the PP, with which this Wednesday the three vice presidents, Nadia Calviño, Yolanda Díaz and Teresa Ribera , and the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, will begin the round of talks to agree on the content of the national plan against the war. “The formula is unity and forcefulness against Putin because what is being attacked is our way of life in Europe,” she argued.

Internally, next Monday 21 will also be held a sectoral conference with the autonomies to specify some of the measures proposed at the Conference of Presidents on Sunday in La Palma, including the reception of refugees. In any case, Rodríguez insisted on what Sánchez himself had already pointed out the day before: that what the Government attaches most importance to is what is agreed in the European Council, in which, in addition to the decoupling of gas and electricity, Spain will defend capping the price of electricity and the recovery of the interconnection project for gas in the Pyrenees, to which France is so reluctant. For this reason, he said, nothing will be approved before the 29th.

The President of the Government has already closed eight interviews for the next few days with the leaders of countries such as Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Germany and Ireland in his diplomatic offensive to achieve what Spain has been asking for for months and has not achieved so far . But if their demands are not met, the government is willing to limit energy prices on its own.

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