June 16, 2021

Congress endorses by a large majority the recommendations of the Toledo Pact to reform pensions

The recommendations of the Toledo Pact to reform the pension system have received this Thursday the support of a large majority of the Congress of Deputies, with the only votes against Vox and the CUP, according to their spokesmen. The House Plenary thus endorses the Commission’s report, with measures such as the revaluation of pensions based on the CPI and the review of early retirement, which will function as a guide for the coalition government to carry out the reform of the system pension public, as Minister José Luis Escrivá has expressed. After confirming this political pact, the Executive intends to reach another agreement with the unions and the employers, so that the new legislation also has the approval of social dialogue.

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Magdalena Valerio, former Minister of Labor and current president of the Toledo Pact, has been in charge of presenting the recommendations in the Chamber. Valerio has thanked the work of all the spokespersons of the Commission to reach this agreement “despite their discrepancies”, as well as the work of the lawyer Ignacio Gutiérrez and Borja Suárez, general director of Social Security Planning, among other actors who have facilitated the pact between the different political forces. The fundamental objective of the text, he stressed, is to gather measures that guarantee the future of pensions without “distorting or making the public system unrecognizable”.

Congressional endorsement of the 22 recommendations It concludes with a negotiation of almost five years within the Toledo Pact, with a significant delay, after a long time of unsuccessful talks between the different political parties. Finally a few weeks ago The Commission managed to agree on a final text of recommendations to be voted on, which will obtain this Thursday the votes in favor of the majority of formations, including the PP, while pro-independence and nationalist parties have opted for abstention (ERC, EH Bildu and BNG) and the extreme right of Vox and the pro-independence party the CUP it has been the only ones who will vote against.

The PP has highlighted its vote in favor of the recommendations as a sign that “the Popular Party is a party of agreements,” stressed the spokesman in the Toledo Pact, Tomás Cabezón. The parliamentarian has taken advantage of this agreement to value “dialogue” and criticize the Celaá Law in passing, as a sign of “imposition” by the Executive, he pointed out. Among the rest of the formations that have endorsed the text, several have highlighted the assignments linked to their votes in favor, because the recommendations contemplate issues that do not satisfy them completely. This has been the case, for example, of United We Can, which is part of the Government. Deputy Meri Pita recalled that the pension movements are “disappointed” with the document, but has justified that the political agreement was an essential step to pass legislation on pensions, a task in which she has trusted that the coalition Executive comply with your government commitments.

The parties that have abstained have based their vote on the insufficiencies of the recommendations, especially when it comes to recognizing higher and “sufficient” minimum pensions, as well as on what they consider to be cuts to pensions in the future. However, the deputies of ERC, EH Bildu and BNG have stressed that the work of the Commission has also obtained some improvements that have prevented their vote against, such as the return to the relavourization of pensions according to the CPI and the recognition of the ” improper expenses “that Social Security has paid for years and have weakened their accounts.

The CUP parliamentarian Albert Botran has defended the vote against the Catalan formation, because he considers that “it opens the door to regressive reforms” of the pension system. For his part, the Vox spokesman in the Toledo Pact, Pablo Sáez, has justified the “no” of the far-right party because he assures that public accounts in Spain are “unsustainable.” Thus, Vox considers that the Toledo Pact agreement is “a deception to the Spanish,” since it ensures that the pension system is sustainable and guarantees the viability of public pensions over time. Sáez has defended, as a measure to pay for the system, the reduction “of political spending”, which the PSOE spokesperson in the Toledo Pact has described as a “joke”, Mercè Perea responded.

Vox opposes without providing proposals

Beyond this proposal to reduce “political spending”, those of Santiago Abascal have not provided any proposal for the modification of the pension system through individual votes, as other political groups have done. The PP and Ciudadanos, for example, proposed another wording for recommendation 16, to further promote private individual pension plans and the group of Inés Arrimadas also asked to promote more active retirement, for which you can work and collect the pension from the time.

ERC and EH Bildu are the parties that cast votes, for more than half of the recommendations up to a total of 13, in which they proposed to eliminate the impulse of supplementary pension plans, an audit of the spending of the Reserve Fund (the so-called ” piggy bank of pensions “), recommended that the retirement age of 67 years be” voluntary “and the elimination of the maximum contribution base, among other issues.

More Country, Compromís, also presented individual votes for the elimination of penalties for early retirees who have contributed 40 years or more, and BNG, with measures such as the recovery of the retirement age at 65 and a minimum pension 60% of the average salary, among others. As announced by the president of Congress, Meritxell Batet, none of the individual votes has gone ahead in their vote. Several parties, such as the PSOE and PNV, have argued their rejection of individual votes because they understand that the agreement should prevail over the text agreed and worked on among all the formations, without highlighting the different positions of one and the other, which have already been expressed within the Covenant.


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