Once the Madrid summit is over, the Government faces what could be the mother of all negotiations. Pedro Sánchez’s commitment to NATO to reach 2% of GDP in Defense before 2029 threatens to undermine the PSOE’s relationship with its investiture and Cabinet partners, since United We Can is not willing to twist its arm and include a new increase in the next Budgets. And in La Moncloa they are already advancing that it will be a “complex” negotiation since, as they fear in the ranks of Podemos, the entire progressive bench may turn “against” Sánchez.
They are going to be long months in the heart of the government coalition. The socialist side of the Executive demands “reflection” from the purples so that they internalize the rise in military spending as a social advance. The president did so on Thursday and yesterday the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, insisted: «Just as we have created a social and economic protection shield, this increase in defense spending means offering protection to those who need it most, otherwise, against external threats. But in United We Can remain very far from that position and threaten not to give in during the negotiations that remain before the public accounts lead the way to Congress.
In fact, the minority member of the Government, who has shown in recent days a moderate profile on his refusal to NATO so as not to unbalance the image of our country in the conclave, is preparing a hot summer with which to extol his thesis: only « the defense of peace» guarantees the stability of democracy. This will be the common thread of the summer course that the purples have designed at the Complutense University of Madrid for July 18 and 19. It will not be the only pulse of Podemos against Sánchez’s decision, but it will be the first after not raising his voice in the framework of the summit.
The party believes that inflation and military spending are the new big obstacles
In it, United We Can will try to be forceful and united in the face of the warmongering escalation that, in its opinion, implies the increase in defense spending and thus screw its refusal on the public agenda in the face of the negotiation of the Budgets for 2023. It will participate the dome of the purple alliance, without fail: Yolanda Díaz, Ione Belarra, Irene Montero, Pablo Echenique, Lilith Verstrynge, Nacho Álvarez and even Pablo Iglesias.
All with the same voice -after months of disagreements between Díaz, Iglesias and the Podemos branch in the Government-, despite the fact that the Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, of the commons, stood out yesterday and considered “justified” the increased spending on this matter given the context, despite the fact that En Comú Podem accuse Sánchez of having committed to the Atlantic Alliance in a “unilateral” manner.
Irene Montero set the position of the purple ministers and that of the confederal group yesterday from New York: “That is our political position and what we will defend in the negotiation of the Budgets.” Margarita Robles, Minister of Defense, quickly cleared the purple argument: «The reality is not flowers and peace, it is a very harsh reality. (…) Defending the increase in Defense is defending and working for peace».
Subirats distances himself from the alliance and calls the increase in Defense “justified”
But the problem, in the eyes of the minority member of the government coalition, is outside and not inside the Council of Ministers. With the aim of throwing balls out, from the purple ranks they point out that the increase in budget spending on Defense, in the same way as the agreement with Washington to increase the destroyers at the Rota Naval Base, will bring serious problems in the Congress of Deputies , in reference to the difficulty that it will be to achieve the vote of key formations such as ERC or EH Bildu, who already warn that they oppose any increase.
Moreover, in Podemos they fear that the scenario towards which our policy is directed for the next course is that of a president with the entire parliamentary left – his support since the investiture – “against” and seeking the support of the opposition. A right that has gained strength in recent weeks after achieving an absolute majority in Andalusia and cornering the left in its historic fiefdom. The militaristic measures will be, together with inflation, they believe in United We Can, the great obstacles that the Executive of Pedro Sánchez will have to face in the final stretch of the legislature. A period with an inevitable pre-election aroma.
In any case, the debate will survive the summer thanks to the emphasis that United We Can put in the coming weeks. It will be once the Debate on the State of the Nation is over and always waiting to know the position of Díaz’s new project, Sumar, on military spending. Despite the fact that the vice president has aligned herself with Podemos, from her environment they are silent about whether Sumar will be just as severe in this regard.
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