It’s not the first time. Shortly after Pedro Sánchez arrived at La Moncloa after the motion of censure, Pablo Casado practically made his debut in Brussels at the head of the PP saying that the Prime Minister wanted to finance an electoral campaign with the money budgeted for social policies. And this year, after sealing the coalition government with Pablo Iglesias and United We Can, the PP has maneuvered on several occasions in Europe to erode the Government. The last time, this Monday, during a meeting of the president of the PP with the ambassadors of the 27 in Spain, a type of appointment that does not occur regularly.
A PP report sent to the European Commission to attack the Government questions the rule of law in Spain
“With the 27 ambassadors of the EU I have remembered my proposal ignored by Sánchez to agree on the Reform Plan and an independent agency for the funds,” Casado tweeted. That is, in the process of negotiating the regulation for the distribution of funds, when it is at stake what conditionalities are going to finish being required, when Spain leads the data on infections in the European Union and is one of the countries most affected by the economic collapse of the pandemic –in terms of unemployment and falling GDP–, the PP leader shakes the specter of mistrust in the management of the 140,000 million that Spain expects in three years to recover from the coronavirus crisis by demand the creation of new bodies and express their opposition to the government’s management of the European fund. That is, he does not trust how the money is spent or what reforms are going to be proposed.
The meeting was held at the residence of the ambassador of Germany, the country to which the rotating presidency of the EU corresponds this semester.
Casado’s argument to claim an authority over the ministers to manage the funds – also defended by Ciudadanos – fuels a mistrust that southern countries fought at the summit in mid-July in which the recovery fund was approved. At that time, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, precisely wanted to have the right of veto in the aid to control what they were doing and in exchange for what. Rutte lost, although he took a kind of emergency break if problems are detected in the fulfillment of the reforms for which the money was received in any country.
The PP campaign with community partners is synchronized between Madrid and Brussels and They go hand in hand. If in Spain the PP asks to use the figures of the dead against the Government in his arguments; in Brussels the head of the delegation, Dolors Montserrat, send a report on popular Europeans letterhead along with a signed letter in their own handwriting to the Commissioner of Justice, the Belgian Didier Reynders, in which he questions the rule of law in Spain and accuses the Government of wanting to “cover up figures that place Spain among the countries with the highest number of deaths in relative terms.” And all this while Spain is pending a key recovery fund to reactivate the country after the pandemic.
That letter, as well as the report prepared with numerous press clippings, has the same spirit, music and lyrics as the complaint debated in the European Parliament, presented by a former PP deputy in Parliament, in the Petitions committee, chaired by Dolors Montserrat herself. “In the spirit of cooperation with the work of monitoring and analysis of the emergency measures applied by the Member States that the Commission is evaluating and in defense of our democratic values, our rule of law and our rights and freedoms, we send you the evaluation in the hope that it will be of use to you, “says Montserrat in the letter attached to the report.
The Spanish negotiators who sit down with the other 26 to activate the recovery fund and the next EU budget recognize that “having a national political consensus would undoubtedly help; political consensus helps governments, we have seen that a lot in Europe and this is no exception. ”
This summer, in the middle of the negotiations for the recovery fund, the president of the popular group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, He told El País and other European media: “The whole group supports the idea that solidarity is accompanied by responsibility. Also Spanish colleagues like Dolors [Montserrat], Stephen [González Pons] o Pablo Casado, they are very clear that we must insist that the money be invested in the future of the country to help create job opportunities and prospects for young people and that this must be clear. From the EPP we have, so to speak, two conditions: we do not want to waste money on past expenses, but rather invest in the future. And the EPP is not willing to finance the false promises of Podemos. ”
“The recovery fund must not end up as an ATM for member states”, Weber told the Financial Times a week ago: “I am very concerned. When I look at what member states have already proposed for their recovery plans, there is very little added value or new projects.”
The spokesman for Citizens in the European Parliament, Luis Garicano, in the debate on the EU State, also used similar terms: “Money has to be spent well. Some governments want to spend it in a foolish way. The vice president of the Spanish Government, for example , this week suggested that the funds from the recovery plan should be used to create new business elites. And I want to say with absolute clarity that we will do what it takes to ensure that the money is spent well, not spent to help friends and acquaintances, that it is used to favor families in education, health, fight against climate change and protect our planet. Because Europe is not an ATM, but an opportunity to fight for the well-being of our families “.
Mission hidden? by Borrell
In their meeting, Casado also charged the Spanish commissioner, Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy for “the hidden mission in Venezuela, since the European position against Maduro must be maintained.”
However, the European Commission itself last Friday insisted that the 27 had been informed of the mission. That is, that the governments of the ambassadors with whom Casado was meeting had been previously informed of the mission sent to Venezuela.
The Community Executive thus came to the step of the accusations of the European People’s Party and the PP spokesperson in the European Parliament, Dolors Montserrat, who described the mission as “clandestine”, and indicated that the 27 had been informed and that they had their approval.
“It has been done within the framework of their diplomatic work and the member states have been informed before traveling,” said the community spokeswoman, who defended that there is a “clear mandate” from the 27 and from the Contact Group to proceed with the mediations. “The mandate is to continue negotiations with the government and the opposition in Venezuela to achieve a peaceful transition in the country,” he added.
Spanish Government sources confirmed on Friday that this notice had been made to the Executive by the EU contact group.