This may not be the most striking or, in other words, thunderous conflict in the Coalition Executive, but it is the most serious. A unique situation that was unleashed with the controversial statement about the quality of the meat of the Consumption holder and that has been dilating for a week with increasingly disparaging ratings.
The purple half of the cabinet has come out in a rush to question the “loyalty” of the Prime Minister and the Socialists. Even the second vice president, Yolanda Diaz, which is used to being more diplomatic in the troubles between PSOE and Podemos, which are not few, asked this Monday to Pedro Sanchez be “more careful” not only with the coalition but also with his words
. On the other side, the minister is disavowed Alberto Garzon clearly.
There is an important electoral component in this quest to distance oneself from one another; on February 13 are the regional elections of Castilla y León and there Podemos is confident of making this controversy profitable. The strategy is use the matter to make a claim of extensive livestock, more sustainable, compared to intensive production, which they consider polluting and not very rigorous with quality standards. Is his search for a ‘green’ voter, young and committed. That is why they maintain that differentiation with the socialists.
In addition, the leadership of Unidos Podemos says that when the “right and the extreme right” have attacked a socialist minister they have been there to defend him, but that, on the other hand, the PSOE is not having the same loyalty with the Minister of Consumption , Alberto Garzón, during this controversy after saying in ‘The Guardian’ that the meat products from Spanish macro-farms are not of good quality.
The purples insist that he is the victim of a hoax spread by the Popular Party and Vox and that the President of the Government himself has eaten it, the latter said by a talkative Pablo Iglesias already far from politics. What in the Executive of Podemos they consider “worrisome”, “disturbing”, and underline, “unfair”.
Rejection of macro farms
In the British newspaper, Garzón compared extensive livestock farming with macro-farms, which he says are “Exports poor quality meat”. But the morados and Consumption add that it does not refer to the Spanish livestock sector in general but to that specific one, so they do not understand the criticisms of the opposition or the strong malaise of socialist sectors. This Saturday, in Valladolid, Unidas Podemos will kick off with an act of electoral pre-campaign for Castilla y León which will be attended by the Minister of Social Rights and Secretary General of the Purple Party, Ione Belarra.
They will also start this cycle by airing the controversy about the meat production model that the head of Consumption, at the time leader of Izquierda Unida, stars these days. This issue will be very present in their speeches because the Executive of Podemos trusts that their criticism of intensive livestock and their defense of small and medium-sized family farms will help them.
The national party spokesman, who is also the purple candidate on 13-F, Pablo Fernández, assured that the controversy would not harm themá because, he assures, in Castilla y León “It is evident, the unanimous rejection of macro-farms is incontrovertible”. Although where they do see that it may affect them is if finally “the hoax on the right weighs more.”
There, they charge the Socialists without regard. “Whenever a member of the government has suffered an attack from the right, we have behaved with extraordinary loyalty and have defended the government as a whole,” Fernández said on Monday. The president of the Confederal Group in Congress, Jaume Asens, wrote on Twitter that the disavowal of Sánchez will cause him to lose votes on February 13 for not defending “ranchers against macro-farms.”
Very delicate internal balances
The discomfort in La Moncloa with Garzón’s words is very great. Pedro Sánchez demonstrated it in his interview on Monday on Cadena SER. Nobody from the PSOE has endorsed even minimally the Minister of Consumption. But there is no scope for much more. The president can, technically, remove him, but the structure of the coalition agreed since 2020 is the foundation of the relationship between both partners. And politically Sánchez is not sovereign to undertake changes in the purple part of the Government.
In a process in which all that space lives a kind of re-founding under the leadership of Yolanda Díaz, internal balances are very delicate. “It would be surreal if Garzón had to leave to comply with the government agreement”The vice president closed ranks with the minister this Wednesday on TVE. The socialists would like to anesthetize the conflict. But keeping the praise of the livestock sector as the central message.
The Government Spokesperson, Isabel rodriguez, was clear yesterday disavowing Minister Garzón, but at the same time avoided ruling on whether he should resign. “We reiterate the Government’s commitment to the livestock sector, which is unequivocal, clear and complete. The rest does not contribute to the enhancement of a sector that we are proud of and that contributes to the country’s GDP, ”the spokeswoman said.
He insisted that the commitment of the Executive of Sánchez with Spanish livestock is “verified with facts”, referring to measures such as the Law of the Food Chain or the national strategic plan of the Common Agricultural Policy that contemplates a “significant increase” of 11% in aid to the livestock sector.
«Faced with noise and words, deeds and commitment to the livestock sector (…) We are not going to allow another minute to this type of controversy that does not benefit this sector. We with the BOE will work in support of the livestock sector »insisted the spokeswoman. Rodríguez elaborated on these ideas but at no time did he want to enter to assess whether Garzón should leave office. In the same way that it is not stated that it should continue.
This Tuesday the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, launched on a ‘tour’ of interviews on Onda Cero, La Sexta, RTVE and Trece TV. In a forceful tone, as if wanting to compensate for the silence of these days, Planas declared that as head of the branch “if someone talks about Food, it is normal for them to call me.”
They comply with the regulations
In this sense, when asked if Alberto Garzón has sufficient preparation to carry out the Consumer portfolio, his cabinet colleague avoided answering. Similarly, defended the situation of large livestock farms in Spain known as ‘macrofarms’: “Open macrofarms comply with current legislation, otherwise the inspection would close them.” Planas also recalled that a decree is in preparation to order cattle farms (meat and milk) whose public exhibition phase ended on November 10 and that will go to the Council of Ministers in the coming days.
And, in this sense, he added that we are facing “a key sector for the Spanish economy” and that Spain exported agri-food products in the last year worth about 58.2 billion of euros, with more than 20,000 million in favor in the trade balance. In addition, the minister has provided one more piece of information: “In France, Denmark and the Netherlands the average size of farms is much higher than that of livestock farms in Spain”, he pointed out. Asked about the position of the Government, in reference to the growing differences between PSOE and Podemos around this controversy, Planas has assured that the Executive seeks “ordination” just as it has been done in recent months with pig and poultry farms.
“As we have concluded this December with the dairy and beef sector, establishing 850 units of larger livestock (UGM), which means about 725 cows and about 1,400 calves,” says the minister who recalls that in this matter they also have competencies the autonomies and the municipalities. “Family and professional agriculture is the axis of the primary sector and they deserve our recognition, respect and support,” he concluded. The minister Luis Planas, in short, is committed to combining sustainability with the profitability of farms and highlights the important effort within livestock in our country to incorporate women and young people into this activity.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism