Andalusia is for the new leader of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, what he himself represents for the European People’s Party (EPP), an asset to regain power. This was verified by himself in the dozen bilateral meetings that he held this week at the party’s congress in Rotterdam, according to sources close to him to EL MUNDO.

Especially explicit were two key party leaders today: Angela Merkel’s successor at the head of the German CDU, Friedrich Merz, and the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The latter told him privately in a meeting that lasted longer than expected that “from Vienna to the Atlantic, you are the only one in the great countries who can govern soon.” Also Merz, according to the version collected, pointed out the importance of having leaders with the EPP’s principles of budget seriousness in the great governments of the euro and showed confidence: “In view of the calendar, you will be prime minister before I am chancellor” .

The electoral calendar places Feijóo in a potential position of influence in the EPP. His French partner, Los Republicanos, has been devastated in the presidential elections and with no prospect of a rebound in the medium term. The Italian ally, Silvio Berlusconi, did not even attend congress and is given no chance of regaining power in the 2023 elections. The coalition government in Germany, headed by the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, has, in principle, four years to go. ahead, so the first of the four big economies with options is Feijóo, starting in January 2024 at the latest. Previously the EPP has expectations in Finland and has made sure to recover the head of the Government of Ireland by a rotation agreement, but they are small economies in the Eurozone.

The expectation caused by the former president of the Xunta de Galicia is high and was perceived in the intense round of bilateral meetings that he held on the sidelines of the Rotterdam congress. In addition to those mentioned, the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, wanted to see him; the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, and the Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra. The latter was a whip for Nadia Calviño in her previous stage as Minister of Economy and she welcomes the fact that a co-religionist occupies the Government. Spain is the second beneficiary of European funds after Italy.

The members of the EPP in Germany, Austria or the Netherlands are particularly concerned about a good use of the 140,000 million euros allocated to Spain and Feijóo knows that he must win their support by offering solvency and rigor.

Aware that he must play that card of economic orthodoxy in the EPP, the Galician not only expressed it privately in his meetings, but also presented himself publicly before the plenary as a pro-European and austere ruler. “The PP is the one that guarantees compliance with the rules of the euro,” he said, interrupted at that moment by applause from the hundreds of delegates of the European political force, made up of more than 80 parties from all over the Old Continent.

The interview with Merz, Merkel’s successor, is particularly strategic for Feijóo. The Galician agreed with the German “to work together on economic matters”, in line with one of the powers that the person appointed by the PP will have to enter the leadership of the European party: Esteban González Pons. MEP, he accompanied Feijóo in all his bilateral meetings in Rotterdam and will deal with “the supervision of European funds and the Stability Pact” in the EPP, as he himself declared to this newspaper last Wednesday.

The PP wants to influence the formation of the opinion of the main party in the European Parliament on how the funds are being executed and how the so-called Stability Pact must be reformed, which includes the deficit and debt rules.

González Pons highlights the possibility that the current government of Pedro Sánchez “leaves the box empty” and does not make good use of European funds, so the next government will have a difficult task before its partners and Feijóo, if he reaches Moncloa, will need understanding and flexibility before the inheritance received. The new president of the EPP, Manfred Weber, expressed concern to him about the management of the Government and the Galician wants to be the trump card of his partners in the recovery of power and establish himself as the reliable partner of the south of the euro.

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