February 25, 2021

Ábalos delays the negotiation with United We on the housing law until “a common position” is achieved in the Ministry


The state housing law will not be ready for parliamentary processing this February, as the PSOE and Unidos Podemos had promised during budget negotiation. At the end of October, three months were given to complete the joint draft of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and the Second Vice Presidency. But this Thursday, Minister José Luis Ábalos assured that there is still no “common position” within his ministry, so he cannot present a text to discuss to his allies. The first meeting to negotiate it will not be until after the Catalan elections, which has caused unrest in United We Can, which believes that it is an “urgent” matter.

PSOE and United We can close the agreement on Budgets after agreeing to regulate rents

PSOE and United We can close the agreement on Budgets after agreeing to regulate rents

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The parties had been convened this week for a meeting that has not occurred. Transport sources assure that on Wednesday there was a conversation between the two negotiators, the Secretaries of State for Housing, David Lucas, and that of Agenda 2030, Ione Belarra. “They were scheduled for February 15,” they say from the department of Ábalos.

In Unidos Podemos they deny this conversation and assure that “after this week they met important discrepancies “ With the PSOE, the Ministry of Transport “refused” on Wednesday “to share the complete draft of the legislative text, as had been agreed.” According to this version, the work has been unilaterally postponed “until the Catalan elections are held.”

The same sources from United We can assure that “the socialists continue to deny or ignore the vast majority” of their proposals. And they suspect that the absence of the draft is due to its “lack of ambition.” “It is known that Catalan laws on housing are among the most advanced in the State and a text with little ambitious measures, such as those that have been raised so far at the negotiating table, could be detrimental to the candidate [Salvador] Illa ”, they conclude, pointing to the socialist campaign as the reason why the negotiation does not advance.

In Transport, they reduce the tension and believe that the positions are not so far apart, so they recognize a certain surprise at the reaction of the minority partner. Ábalos himself has explained that “there are political commitments with United We Can”, but that there is still no closed proposal by his ministry, which is the proponent.

“We have to work on the project. Before we get to discuss with another political formation, in this case a member of the government, I would like to know about this project. It is normal that we have a common position within the ministry and we will be in a position to share it first with United We Can “, said Ábalos, who has denied that he is” paralyzed “:” It is not a problem of postponement, it is a problem of our own agenda ”.

The response from the Vice Presidency has come through two messages from Belarra on Twitter. The Secretary of State recalls that “within the framework of the budget negotiation we agreed with the PSOE to be co-proponents of the law and have it ready to be presented to the Council of Ministers within a period of three months.” And ditch: “In this situation neither delays nor disloyalty to the government agreement are justified.”

According to United We Can, there are four differences: the contributions of large landowners to social housing; the permanent prohibition of evictions of vulnerable people; the exit of empty housing to the rental market; and the regulation of this same market, with the possibility that municipalities limit prices. From Transport they avoid ruling on the specific aspects of the negotiation.

Several of these points are collected in the coalition agreement, such as the need to “study additional obligations for large homeowners” when offering housing alternatives to evicted people, as well as establishing a “framework where large homeowners collaborate with the competent administration to make available to the market to rent the empty house at a reasonable price “. Also to regulate the rental price where it rises a lot or to approve “fiscal, sanctioning, insurance or stimulus measures, to mobilize empty housing.”

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