The economic crisis, aggravated by the war in Ukraine, has disrupted the government’s plans. La Moncloa’s perspective was now to be managing European funds in a framework of full growth and recovery. That scenario is delayed. And with that, the legislative agenda is rebalanced. The social measures in the portfolio are important, but the priority in the Executive is the economic agenda, measures that reactivate growth and attract investment. The argument also with which to turn the page to the crisis of Pegasus and the CNI that has shaken not only governability, but the Government itself, with an internal crisis.
For this reason, in the socialist sector of the Government, the attitude of United We Can with the abortion law was very upset, because in addition to having an economic impact, they understand that the focus was diverted from the priority and a political and partisan use was made of a measure to be approved by the full Council of Ministers.
This claim to place the economy in the foreground is exemplified by the approval of the mechanism to limit the price of natural gas to lower the electricity bill. Or with the state visit, Tuesday and Wednesday, of the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a trip in which there will be “a big announcement,” reports Efe, citing official Qatari sources.
Or with the week that a delegation of members of the US Motion Picture Association (MPA) and other top-level US audiovisual platforms and companies have spent traveling through Spain to learn about the opportunities offered by the Spanish audiovisual ecosystem. A business mission in which five ministries have been involved, with the aim of turning Spain into an audiovisual hub. Or the announcement of an agri-food Perte of 1,800 million to “dignify” the rural world.
These are examples that show where the government has its radar set: the economy. It is true that the PSOE does not want to set aside the most social and ideological laws, because they argue that the “conquest of rights and freedoms” is a sign of the socialist executives. They remember homosexual marriages, abortion, euthanasia… But the efforts are focused on the economy, as in fact, it will be made visible with the participation of Pedro Sánchez in the Davos Economic Forum, at the end of May. In this way, it is also trying to counteract the economic discourse with which the PP is making opposition, and with which it has managed to settle, for example, the debate on taxes, making the Executive uncomfortable.
In addition, at a key point in the legislature, where the Pegasus espionage case has caused anxiety not only with the governance partners, but also within the Executive itself, Sánchez does not want internal noise. And the most social laws, those that are promoted from some departments of United We Can, are points of friction, of shock. This has happened with the abortion law promoted by Igualdad, which angered the economic ministries of the PSOE for announcing its jump to the Council of Ministers without there not even being an internal agreement on it on issues such as loss due to menstruation or the claim to eliminate VAT on feminine hygiene products.
When La Moncloa, especially in recent months, wants to gain muscle from its management, it clings to economic initiatives: the labor reform, the pension law, the increase in scholarships, the housing law, the reform of Vocational Training to improve the employability of the youngest, the rise in the Interprofessional Minimum Wage, the ERTE…
“We will once again do everything in our power to protect economic growth, to cushion the economic effects of the war and also to make a fair distribution of the economic and social costs of this war throughout the population,” he stated just one week Sánchez, at the Annual Meeting of the Cercle d’Economia, as a summary of the pillar of its action.
The new General Telecommunications Law, with which it is intended to encourage investment by operators; the Startups Law, promoted in order to favor innovative entrepreneurship; the Bankruptcy Law, presented to improve insolvency procedures and facilitate the maintenance of viable companies… are some of the economic initiatives already in the parliamentary process. Like the Audiovisual Law, which the PSOE hopes to approve soon with the support of the PP, although the popular ones explain to this newspaper that “at this moment understanding is far away” and that their support or abstention “will depend on the amendments that they accept and from those they accept from the rest of the groups”.
It is not that the focus is deviated from the social sphere, but the socioeconomic is prioritized, intensifying negotiations so that these measures, unlike others, do not remain stalled or stranded in Congress.
The Housing Law is also pending, while new purposes appear on the horizon, such as the Scholarship Statute, the Patronage Law, the Income Agreement…
Pedro Sánchez is determined to reach “until the end of the legislature, at the end of the year 2023” and he knows that a good part of his chances, and to reach the polls with aspirations, is at stake in the economic field, even more so with the scenario caused by the war in Ukraine. And that is where he wants to put his efforts now.
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