Antonio Garamendi: «To top prices sounds like Soviet planning, it goes against the free market and will make the problem worse»

Antonio Garamendi ( Getxo, 1958 ) speaks very clearly in this interview about how things are being done in the economy from the Government. He does not hide his irritation when he is asked about Yolanda Díaz, about her calls for mobilization against businessmen and about her policies to cap the price of food. Regarding the former, he discredits the Minister of Labor for her "interference" in the salary negotiation and accuses her of being untrue when she says that the employers left the table. Regarding the interventionist policy, he bluntly affirms that it cannot be done, that it threatens the free market and that "it is starting with something that ended with the Berlin wall." Where is Competition?, the business leader wonders in surprise. -Yolanda Díaz, the unions and Pedro Sánchez himself have put businessmen on the target. -We are raising issues responsibly, explaining what is happening. And the data is telling us that curves are coming. You cannot see the isolated data, for one month of August alone, you have to observe the trends and, sadly, the situation is getting complicated by the war, although the signs were already seen before. And it seems that there is an easy formula to define the situation, and that is to blame companies and entrepreneurs. The message is being sent that all evils come from the business class, which has now become selfish, when we have shown that we are supportive, in the pandemic, and in recent years, with the signing of 15 social dialogue agreements very important. Entrepreneurs are not the problem, we are the solution. -Díaz has blamed the CEOE for blocking collective agreements. -There are 4,000 open trading desks. The agreement of agreements (ANC) is a recommendation, but what has the force of law are the agreements in the agreements. And there are agreements that are being renewed, such as the one for construction, which affects a million workers. It is not true, therefore, that the negotiation is paralyzed. This, on the one hand, and, on the other, companies cannot assume a clause that supposes indexing salaries to the CPI because it would provoke the effects of the second round, consolidating inflation in a structural way. And it's not just us who say this, but also the Bank of Spain, all the international organizations and the economists. -The Government appeals to business benefits and the second vice president encourages them to take to the streets. -But it does not say anything about the fact that companies have not been able to transfer what they suffer in costs to prices. Entrepreneurs are not saying that wages should not rise, what we are saying is that they cannot rise in line with inflation. Yolanda Díaz's interference in this issue is not understandable when she says that she expressly supports the demonstrations of the unions and that they are right. The Ministry of Labor should be impartial. Be careful, that she deeply respects the unions and their demonstrations, they are within her rights, but not that the minister supports them and is untrue and says that we have gotten up from the tables because it is not true. I refer to a statement from CC.OO. of May 5 in which it was stated that, by mutual agreement, we left the table. Entrepreneurs will continue talking, but let no one take advantage, because this does not consist of you sitting down and doing what I say because this is not the case. We are responsible and we are not going to make decisions in the short term because in the long term Spain would pay for it. Business profits "They talk a lot about profits from the sky, but if someone has them, it's the State" -In the contingency plan against the possible cut of Russian gas, it is recommended to intervene in the business profits of electricity companies... -In the area of energy there has been poor planning in Europe. Germany had 45% of its generation from nuclear energy and a political decision was made to dispense with it, falling into the hands of Russia and becoming geopolitically dependent on them. The paradox is that the EU now says that nuclear energy is green. In Spain we have closed eleven coal plants and now it is the gas that enters the system. Europe has to start thinking about how it will be autonomous. Let's see how Europe poses these measures. Business Europe, the European employers' association, has already transferred to the Commission its disagreement with the imposition that has been made on banks and electricity companies. We ask for a common policy. -Sánchez has placed many of his hopes in an income agreement, but only in the private sector. -There is talk of an income agreement, but the Government's approach to that plan is that I do what I have to do and you are responsible for the income agreement, but of course we already have collective bargaining agreements for that. And in this income pact we have to talk about everything, pensions, civil servants' salaries and also the minimum wage. This would help contain inflation. Now what it is about is working so that there is more employment, and we think that lowering VAT and deflating the personal income tax rate would help. -Treasury is cashing in with inflation, but it is attacking the profits that have fallen from the sky from electric companies. -They talk a lot about benefits from heaven, but if someone has benefits from heaven it is the State, between 20,000 and 30,000 million. That also causes inflation. The only way to contain prices is not to generate more inflation, and everyone must tighten their belts, including the State. The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi Ángel de antonio - What solves capping the price of food? -This idea reminds me of Soviet planning. In Europe hearing this leaves me surprised, to say the least. If someone thinks that in this way we fix the problem, we are making it worse. If in the CEOE, or in any other business organization or sector, it occurred to the presidents of a company or its owners to sit down to talk about a common price, at that moment they would have a complaint and a multi-million dollar fine on the table. Surprisingly I haven't heard Competition say anything yet. And if something is important, it is the free market. It is to start with something that ended with the Berlin wall. Honestly, it's the last thing I expected. - Do you think that this initiative of the vice president will materialize? -I trust the words of the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, and his statements made with great discretion and responsibility, in which he made it clear that the measure should not and cannot be done. -Again Diaz, in this case his idea of ​​imminently raising the minimum wage. What do you think? Well, it seems that it is necessary to give headlines. To begin with, it is normal that the rise in the SMI will be discussed in December, not in September. And, furthermore, the data on unemployment and growth are not encouraging at all. The Airef already speaks of a contraction of the economy of 0.4% in the last quarter, until September. But when it matters, well, we set up a commission of experts. I have all the experts, who are the ones who hire and create jobs. Let's stop theories and do what we have to do. What worries me is that there is quality employment. The problem with the SMI is that the State is invading collective bargaining by moving wages up. The trading desks will end up making little sense and the SMI will become just another regulated mechanism, like energy. -Spain has lost freelancers for the first time since 2013. What do the next few months hold? -I would not like to be a catastrophist, I want to be positive, but curves are coming and we have to do things right, starting with the State. Possibly, Spain will grow this year by 4% with a deficit of around 5%. And in 2023 we will grow 2%. What will be the deficit then? It is not worth blaming big business and supposed hidden powers for the ills of the economy. On the other hand, I do not know what those dark and factual powers are that the President of the Government mentioned and I would like to value the press, the media, because just as they talk about companies, they do about the media. -Industries are stopping and some are closing due to the high cost of energy. -Regardless of supply problems, for example, in the automobile field, in electro-intensive industries such as the steel industry, or those related to cogeneration, there has been a problem with energy and I am pleased that the gas limit is extended to cogeneration industries. We talk about the goals set for 2030 but we forget about the goals set for us for 2020. 20% of the energy should be renewable that year, which we have met, but also that 20% of GDP be industrial. In Spain we are around 16.5% and without energy we only reach 11.5%. The industry is key because they are tractor companies and many have been forced to stop due to prices. They are fundamental. For example, jobs in the industry are indefinite, subject to an agreement with decent wages. In regions where the weight of industry exceeds 20%, unemployment is less than 10%, as in Navarra or the Basque Country. We have to work to protect and boost the industry. Minimum wage «The State invades collective bargaining by moving salaries upwards with the increase in the SMI» -Changing the subject, do you think that the indexing of pensions to the CPI should be reconsidered? -All political parties except Vox, which abstained, voted in favor of indexing pensions to the CPI. When we saw the first part, we thought it was good to link pensions to the CPI, but we asked that a Sustainability Factor be put in place, which had already been approved but had not entered into force. The Government promised to change the name to Intergenerational Equity Mechanism (MEI) which in the end has been a 0.6% rise in contributions that will not fix anything. -Escrivá is preparing a rise in taxes on employment, an unstopping of the maximum base for the second round of negotiations... -Let's see what comes up at the negotiation table but comfortable short-term solutions can get us into a problem to all. Now comes the part of the corrective effect, and the approach cannot be to raise prices and that's it, we would have a problem. Prices in Spain, which are around 30%, are above the EU average. For pensions, an actuary would have to be called, who would tell us how much I have contributed and for how long and the life expectancy to calculate the benefit. We are going to see what the minister proposes to us, but we have to be responsible. This does not consist of raising contributions to companies because it would affect employment and wages. -The bad economic data and the political discussion are leaving aside the issue of European funds. -The pace should be faster and we would be concerned about unallocated funds. For example, the automotive project, which is the first to be presented, is going slowly and Ford has said that it is going to delay the battery project in Sagunto, and there is concern that it will not go ahead. It is important that European funds be streamlined, it is a unique opportunity. Related News standard Yes Competition questions the legality of Díaz Gonzalo D. Velarde's food price cap standard Yes Yolanda Díaz opens another loophole in the Government by citing distribution companies ignoring Planas Antonio Ramírez Cerezo -What did you think of the debate in the Senate between Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo? I don't want to go into politics. Our obligation is to be focused on what we are, to be independent and to work with responsibility and a sense of State. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we do it in good faith and with institutional loyalty. And we will continue in that line. Of course, I miss when they talk about the Moncloa Pacts or the income pact that involves the main opposition party, because they are not issues of a party, nor of a legislature, they are issues of the country.

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