September 26, 2020

Government agreements with employers and in the EU dismantle Casado’s economic strategy


The pacts signed by the Government of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos with employers and unions to raise the minimum wage or prolong the ERTE in the face of the pandemic, as well as the agreement reached by the European Council last Monday –which will contribute to the Spanish public coffers 140,000 million euros, 11% of GDP– have dismantled the strategy of the leader of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, who has always presented his political formation as the only one capable of managing the economy well or defending the interests of businessmen.

The 'Aznarista' Elorriaga recovers the seat and reinforces the hard core of Álvarez de Toledo against the PP that asks for moderation

The ‘Aznarista’ Elorriaga recovers the seat and reinforces the hard core of Álvarez de Toledo

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“The normality of the PP is the economic miracle, the one that José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy did and the one that we will do again,” said Casado less than a month ago, during the campaign for the Basque and Galician elections on July 12. That has been his main asset to establish himself as a government alternative to the left practically since he won the 2018 primaries. “The PP’s management experience will not be doubted, not even by the left,” he often repeats as a mantra. PP leader, who insists that “always” will defend businessmen, whose interests he says he shares exclusively in the face of “attacks” by progressive forces.

Also during the pandemic, Casado tried to focus his speech on the economy to counter it with “ruin” which in his opinion is going to provoke the management of the progressive Executive. His plan has always consisted of a massive lowering of taxes, reducing the structure of the State to a minimum and following some of the policies put in place by the autonomous governments of the PP, such as privatization – the popular people often use the euphemism ” liberalization “- of strategic public sectors, such as Health or Education. “As happened with Aznar and Rajoy, if Spain does not want to fall into a crisis it has to trust the PP”, usually highlights Married.

Since the beginning of the legislature, attracting employers has been one of the obsessions of the Pedro Sánchez government, aware precisely of the attacks by the political and media right that has always drawn an apocalyptic scenario regarding the progress of the Spanish economy and of the country’s future. In this endeavor, the coalition had a first success in January by achieving the ‘yes’ for the rise of the interprofessional minimum wage.

The negotiations in Brussels

In May, the Government staged another deal reached with the social agents to extend the ERTE put in place to tackle the layoffs due to the coronavirus crisis. The photo with the leaders of the majority and employers’ unions – the second in just four months in the legislature – came at a time when the PP was on the warpath against the Executive, whom he accused again of wanting to “ruin” the country with his economic policies.

The third blow to Casado’s economic strategy came earlier in the week. On Monday, in full European Council negotiations on reconstruction funds, Casado ventured a failure of the same, assuring that Sánchez had come to Brussels “without homework done” and “without being helped” by the popular ones. The leader of the popular ones even dared to ask the chief executive to use the PP’s “recipes”: a tax reform with lower taxes, a flexible labor market, less bureaucratic burdens, and defense of training and competitiveness.

Just a few hours later, in the early hours of Tuesday, the European leaders reached a historic agreement that will provide Spain with 140,000 million euros between transfers to lost funds and loans. So, Married said that the pact was signed thanks to the PP, which “has done more for Spain than the PSOE partners”. “We consider that this good agreement is an amendment to the policy of the Government of Spain regarding its investiture pacts with Podemos, and the most recent with Bildu and nationalist parties,” he added on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Casado already spoke of the agreement reached by the European Council as a “full-blown rescue” to the national economy and assured that “the Government has to assume it even if it tries to sell otherwise.” Instead, his words were not signed by the person who accompanied him in that public intervention in the framework of one of the summer courses in El Escorial (Madrid) organized by the PP: it was the president of the CEOE – the main employer of employers – Ignacio Garamendi, direct interlocutor with the Sánchez government, with whom he has no qualms when agreeing on the country’s wage and labor policy.

Genoa sees its strategy endorsed

The economy will continue to be the axis of Casado’s strategy in the coming months, considering that it has worked for him in the last two years, despite the successive electoral bumps in the last few months. Despite the fact that with Casado the PP obtained the worst result in its history in generals – obtaining only 66 seats in the elections of April 28, 2019 – and the second most negative of its entire existence – in the generals of November 10 He managed 89 deputies–, the party’s general secretary, Teodoro García Egea, assured on Thursday at a press conference that the PP is experiencing “a good time.”

“The average of the polls places us in a technical tie with the PSOE”, pointed out the ‘number two’ of the popular. In his opinion, the PP is “the party of consensus and dialogue,” compared to the “most sectarian and radical government of democracy.”

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