With extreme discretion and without this time, at least for now, discrepancies blocking the negotiation, the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, and the Secretary of State for Social Rights, Nacho Álvarez, advance in the budget agreement that the Government will present to the rest of the forces before seeking the necessary parliamentary support. Government sources assure that the “work is quite advanced” in fiscal matters, although they do not consider the fringes of the internal preparation of the draft of the public accounts for 2021 closed.
The Government once again indicates ERC as a priority partner for budgets without closing the door to Citizens
The head of the Treasury assured this Wednesday in an interview on TVE that she has ready 80% of some Budgets that will be key for the survival of the coalition and to lay the pillars of economic recovery after the crisis left by the COVID-pandemic. 19. However, their department recognizes that the remaining 20% is the fundamental part of the global reserve, so they do not want to advance any measure that could end up falling out of the final project.
The work that has advanced the most is in the taxation proposal, which is the one that a priori it could generate further tensions between coalition partners. Both Pedro Sánchez and Montero chilled from the beginning the expectations of a deep fiscal reform, one of the commitments of the agreement of the government coalition, with the crisis caused by the coronavirus as justification. From the environment of the second vice president, Pablo Iglesias, it has also been recognized that the starting position of the negotiation would not be of maximum, taking into account the delicate economic moment that the country and many companies are going through.
The agreement signed by Sánchez and Iglesias for the coalition government includes the commitment that the increase in the tax burden rests on the highest incomes and assets, although along the way there have been options such as a specific tax on banking. This same Thursday, Iglesias assured in an interview with Carne Cruda that “there will be elements of tax justice that will please those who have been defending more redistribution for years.” Without specifying the measures, he recalled that “it is a mandate of the coalition agreement that the president and I signed.” On the socialist side of the Government, they also admit that the tax burden will be in line with what was agreed on regarding high incomes, although they remember that the draft is not closed.
The Minister of Finance, for her part, has spoken from the beginning of the preparation of the public accounts that the agreement signed by Sánchez and Iglesias in December, at the gates of the investiture, would be the Executive’s roadmap, but lowered expectations of ambition in this first exercise. “The programmatic agreement is on the table to adapt it to the economic moment, to prioritize it according to our capacity,” said the head of the Treasury on Tuesday. Montero took it for granted that collection will be boosted at a time of downturn in economic activity through “adjustments to existing fiscal figures”, without creating any new ones.
“We have to keep pace with this tax reform when our companies live, when the labor market lives and ultimately, when they also experience the development of our public services,” the minister explained last week. Taxation has to be this opportunity for reconstruction that our country needs and that, therefore, has to be established in a way of progressiveness, justice and also attention to the moment our companies are living. ”
In parallel to the negotiation of the economic managers appointed by Sánchez and Iglesias to pilot the draft that they will then present to the rest of the groups, there have been first multi-band touchdowns with parliamentary spokespersons to survey possible support.
To the round announced by Carmen Calvo in her capacity as Minister of Relations with the Courts to address the regulatory calendar for the remainder of the year, some meetings of the second vice president have been added to redouble the pressure on Sánchez to prioritize the partners of the investiture in the budget negotiation. Iglesias met with ERC spokespersons, Gabriel Rufián, and EH Bildu, Mertxe Aizpurua, on Wednesday. Both formations have made it clear that the formula for the accounts to have their backing is to consolidate that progressive bloc that facilitated the formation of the Government.
“It depends on the Government that there is a budget agreement that is settled in the majority of the legislature”, Iglesias reiterated this Thursday. The answer came from the mouth of Calvo, who placed alliances in third place in the order of priorities in the elaboration of the budgets: “Some walk in the previous debate of the things and for that reason I say first budgets, second the contents”. In addition, the Minister of Finance acknowledged not knowing the conversation between Iglesias and the representatives of ERC and EH Bildu and recalled that the small print of the budget negotiation corresponds to the commission delegated by Sánchez, which she leads together with Álvarez.
Moncloa does not close the door to Ciudadanos, who have shown willingness to support the budget project, fearing that the Catalan Republicans will fail at the last minute due to the pre-electoral climate in Catalonia. That route does not convince in United We Can, which fears that the PSOE is trying to save Ciudadanos by thinking about future post-electoral alliances.
However, Sánchez’s approach to the allies of the investiture They have led Ciudadanos to harden the tone again. “We have transferred to the vice president that with Bildu, with Rufián, with Otegi or with Torra we will not be in those Budgets. Either with Citizens or with the independentistas,” said the spokesman, Edmundo Bal, after meeting with Calvo. From the environment of the first vice president they insist that “it is not time for vetoes.” The intention of the socialist part of the Government is to maintain the invitation to all political forces so as not to laminate possibilities ahead of time. Both Iglesias and Calvo will meet next week with the PNV, which already maintains contacts with the Treasury, and, in the case of the first vice president, a meeting with EH Bildu is on the agenda in the round of contacts from which it has only excluded Vox.
While Sánchez balances between the winks to ERC and the hand extended to Ciudadanos, another possible ally for the Executive opens that until a few weeks ago he did not have: JxCat. Carles Puigdemont’s break with PDeCat opened the stage for the four deputies of the convergent spectrum to be able to support the budgets to have a useful speech in Catalonia and to differentiate themselves. However, the group’s spokesperson, Laura Borràs, guaranteed that the eight deputies who participated in the JxCat ballot will maintain unity of action both in the budgets and in other parliamentary initiatives. Borràs was willing to negotiate the accounts, although in the Government they find it more difficult to reach understandings with that side of the independence movement.