Wednesday, December 1

The PSOE negotiates ‘in extremis’ three key decrees with its allies | Spain

The deputy secretary general of the PSOE and spokesperson for the Socialist Parliamentary Group in Congress, Adriana Lastra, wears a mask.
The deputy secretary general of the PSOE and spokesperson for the Socialist Parliamentary Group in Congress, Adriana Lastra, wears a mask.Jesús Hellín / Europa Press

The PSOE is still negotiating in extremis with its partners, in the Government and in Parliament, the votes necessary to validate three key decrees for this phase of the legislature. Socialists believe it is more than likely that they will come forward this Wednesday in the last plenary session of Congress before summer. One of the decrees, the most consensual although with criticism, will involve the reduction of VAT on the electricity bill; another is for the removal of the masks abroad; and the last one, which is the one that is the most in the air, affects the attempt to reduce the temporary employment of temporary employees in the public sector to below 8%. This decree does not even like United We Can, the partner of the government coalition.

The activity in Congress has already officially and formally declined at the end of last June, but the Government has the possibility of requesting extraordinary plenary sessions for relevant matters and this is what it has done with the session scheduled for this Wednesday in which it intends to ratify the validity of three important decrees. Negotiations, however, are ongoing. Some groups normally allied with the Executive, such as ERC, will hold a meeting this Tuesday to fix their position and vote and others, such as the PNV, had only closed their support for now for the critical vote on the 21% VAT reduction on electricity. 10% temporarily for small consumers. The PNV itself, which will lend its six seats for the decree to continue on its way, has shown its objections to a measure that they consider “a patch.” And they are not the only critical partners with this action who understand insufficient of the Executive at a time when the electricity bill has shot up again and yesterday it closed with the second highest price in history: 101.82 euros per megawatt hour (MWh).

Another of the decrees that Congress will discuss this Wednesday, and that the Government and the PSOE are betting that its validation will go ahead, is the one approved by the Council of Ministers on June 26 and that eliminated the obligation to wear masks abroad .

Rough debate

The Executive had one month to overcome the filter of the vote in Congress. All the sources consulted suggest that the measure will be ratified, but after a bitter debate, as has been almost all those related to the pandemic in the last year. And more so now, when the rebound in the fifth wave has led Spain to levels of incidence in infections of almost 600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days and hospitalizations have grown by 65%. Furthermore, the legal panorama does not help political peace either, after the ruling of the Constitutional Court on the rejection of the confinement imposed in the first decree of state of alarm and with different autonomous higher courts of justice setting opposing positions in relation to the touches of remains territorial.

The discussion, in any case, is now not so much about the legality and opportunity to eliminate the obligation to wear masks outdoors as about the general regulation that could be required for confinements and curfews after the controversial decision of the Constitutional Court. The leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, insisted again yesterday that a Pandemic law should now be improvised in 15 days after the Executive has not accepted his offer in that line almost a year ago.

From the Government, the new Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, already confirmed in an interview with EL PAÍS this past Sunday that they do not think for now to promote new laws or reforms of the Constitution to solve the issues raised by the high court ruling. Neither Ciudadanos nor Vox, however, agree with the PP on an ordinary law on Pandemics in order to limit rights as fundamental as freedom of movement. Cs advocates there to change the current alarm law.

The most tricky issue of the plenary session is presented on the reduction of the interim in the public sector. From Unidos Podemos, a letter has even been sent to the Ministry of Finance and Public Function demanding a series of minimum commitments to improve Royal Decree-Law 14/2021 before being voted on Wednesday in Congress. And in the letter they fundamentally raise two demands: “Establish that, in the competition-opposition process, neither the tests nor the opposition phase may be eliminatory, something that, in its current format, harms the people who apply to these processes having accumulated many years of experience ”. And that “the applicant may use his best grade obtained in any previous process called by the same administration for access to the same body, scale or category.”

Ciudadanos, who also have objections to this decree, foresees that it could even decline if ERC, PNV or EH Bildu, who are still studying their vote, are in the end against it along with the right. The Government argues that the decree will be processed as a bill for possible improvements. The unions applauded the plan because it involves convening, before December 31, 2024, up to 300,000 structural positions now occupied by interns with three years old as of December 31, 2020. PDeCAT and Más País are closer to no than abstention .

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