The day came. And without much news. Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo have starred in their first face-to-face this Tuesday since the Galician took over the reins of the PP to lead the opposition to the Government. The expectation in the Senate was maximum, not seen since the days of application of article 155 in Catalonia. But the development of the control session has not deviated from what each other has been leading in recent weeks and months. Both have tried to show themselves as favorable to consensus and agreements; and also the two have shown their differences and the lack of understanding between the Government and the opposition. Two sentences summarize what happened in the Upper House this Tuesday. “You are going in the opposite direction to Spain and you have two co-drivers who do not believe in Spain”, said Feijóo. "The only thing you have done has been to hinder, hinder and hinder," the president responded.
The Government urges Feijóo to demonstrate that he is "a statesman" by unblocking the renewal of the Judiciary
Minutes before, one and the other had started their respective interventions with individual appeals for dialogue, institutional respect and seeking the best answers for the social majority. “I want my first words in the Cortes Generales to be to vindicate useful politics”, Feijóo has begun his first institutional intervention as president of the PP. The Galician has taken the opportunity to attack his predecessor in office, Pablo Casado, and even against those he has kept as parliamentary spokesmen, Cuca Gamarra and Javier Maroto, pointing out that before assuming his new responsibility, and "from a distance" from Galicia , he “felt very far away” due to the continuous “disqualifications”, the “few proposals” and the “few reflections” that were made in the Senate and Congress.
"I do not recognize myself in that policy," he said. "I have not come to insult him, I have come to oppose him." An opposition that, he has pointed out, makes it easy for him "his ministers and ministers". “I come to add, to build and that Spain deserves a better government”, he continued, in an initial speech that he had written and which, according to El Mundo, he has put on the cover a photo of the Moncloa Pacts that were signed during the Transition.
Feijóo has insisted on the economic plan that his team sent to the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, and has reiterated one of the mantras that he recites tirelessly since he assumed the leadership of the opposition: the Government is collecting much more than expected . The problem is that the taxes are not “for the Government”, but for the different State administrations. And some, such as VAT or Hydrocarbons, are collected totally or partially by the autonomous communities, for example.
"I should have sent him a burofax, although seeing how the Post Office is, not even the burofax would have arrived," ironized Feijóo, who was president of the public company in 2001. "Most households are poorer," said the Galician leader, that has contrasted it with the supposed bonanza of the Executive. “You collect more than ever. You and your government have more European funds than ever. It has approved 24 tax increases. Why does he indebt us 210 million more every day, 1,400 million every week? This morning 8,000 million have been auctioned, with the risk premium at 250, the most expensive since 2014”, Feijóo has wielded, although the data offered by the president of the PP does not match with what can be verified in the different pages that make monitoring of the price of the debt.
The Galician has concluded his first turn with a reference to the parliamentary partners of the Government: “To agree is to ignore the minorities when they are not right and to pay attention to the majorities when we have them. You can use the PP even if you don't get the votes from Bildu and ERC. Governing is not resisting. Could it stop being at the height of the independence minorities and catch up with the majorities?
Sánchez: "They bet on social backwardness"
The president has responded with a first message to lower the importance of his opponent. “Welcome to the Senate”, he has told him where Feijóo spoke of “General Courts”. Nuances that indicate that both had prepared their respective interventions.
Sánchez has used in his response that the Government has made the pact a Government tool. First, with the autonomous communities to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. "We have met the Conference of Presidents 20 times," he reminded her. “You and I have worked there”, he has told him, to consider that this caused a “positive result” and ask that it be extended “now that he is going to dedicate himself to it, to national politics”.
The head of the Executive has also appealed for dialogue. “Build consensus and unity”, he has claimed. But immediately he went on the attack. “We have reached 14 agreements with the social agents; we have agreed on a labor reform that increases permanent contracts; we have approved the revaluation of pensions and we have resolved the underfunding in the Dependency System”. Two aspects of the latter, as Sánchez has recalled, that occurred during the PP governments.
Sánchez has boasted of “agreements with all the forces” except with the PP and “the extreme right”. The president has reminded Feijóo that he governs in Castilla y León with Vox, and has reproached him for not being more forceful with the vice president of the Board for his words about disabled people.
"My first request is that they make a useful State opposition," said Sánchez, who asked him, referring to the CGPJ and the Constitutional Court: "Are you willing or not to comply with the Constitution and renew constitutional bodies?”.
Feijóo has not answered the question. The PP does not plan to do so during the current Andalusian election campaign. "Don't worry, this opposition is from the State, but you don't have State partners," he replied, without specifying what he is referring to. "This party was born to comply with, defend and execute the Constitution", he insisted with great emphasis, drawing applause from his bench. A phrase that he has repeated many times, but the Judiciary continues with its expired mandate for more than three years.
The leader of the PP, in addition, does not want to enter that debate. His thing is to squeeze the economic situation and that it overthrows the Government to get him to Moncloa without much wear and tear. And to that border he has quickly returned. "His optimism is enviable," he snapped. “If I went out on the street, I would see that the families are upset with their triumphalism,” he added. “They think that everyone else is going in the wrong direction, but it is you who are going in the opposite direction to Spain. And he has two co-pilots who do not believe in Spain ”, he has pointed out.
“I will not say that it gets in the way, insults always beat me. I have come to offer you an alternative”, he reiterated, to insist on his economic proposal: reduce taxes and transfer European funds directly to companies, something that is not at all clear that the regulation that the European Commission has designed allows.
Feijóo has saved for the end a reference to the second vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, who was the head of the opposition of Alternativa Galega de Esquerdas in the Galician Parliament between 2012 and 2015, before making the leap to politics national. "They talk about the Feijóo effect in Andalusia," she said, referring to the notes that, by mistake, Díaz showed at the press conference of the Council of Ministers last week. "Forget the Feijóo effect and focus on the effect of inflation," she concluded.
Sánchez has used in his reply the document with 11 agreements that he gave to Feijóo during his first visit to Moncloa, as soon as he was confirmed as president of the PP and that, for now, the opposition leader has not bothered to respond. "The government has done the same as the other governments in Europe," he said.
The president has concluded his first face to face with a reproach to the social proposals of the PP. “He must answer simple questions. We make working conditions more precarious as the PP did or we dignify job stability with the agreement with the social agents. We devalue salaries or we have minimum salaries of 1,000 euros per month. We revalue pensions according to the CPI or condemn pensioners to 0.25%. It's that simple. The answer they have to give is to the following question: social rights or social setbacks. This Government is committed to social rights and you, with words and deeds, for social backwardness”.