The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, defended this Monday the open negotiation between Bankia, controlled by the State through the FROB, and CaixaBank to merge and create the largest Spanish bank. Sánchez, in an interview on TVE, has argued that the operation has a “business logic” and that it follows a process of “restructuring” that will help to have an “even healthier” financial sector.
Bankia and CaixaBank negotiate a merger
Sánchez has assured that the Government’s objective is to “maximize” the value of the State’s participation in this new financial entity that would arise if an agreement is reached between both banks. It would be the first in Spain and the tenth at the European level. “We have to take steps forward,” he assured in reference to the concentration process in the Spanish financial sector in comparison with neighboring countries.
The operation was born with the rejection of the Government partner, United We Can, who has traditionally defended the use of Bankia, rescued by the State, as a public banking instrument. Sánchez has claimed that “the entire left” defends a public bank, but has limited this tool in the ICO: “the true public bank.” It has done so by referring to the guarantee programs that have been carried out during the coronavirus crisis to support SMEs and the new instrument of 40,000 million to encourage investment in companies.
But criticism from the confederal group has also come for not knowing the negotiation process between Bankia and CaixaBank until it was published. Sánchez has argued in this regard that it was made known “when the two entities have agreed to start negotiating” and that it is a negotiation that includes “sensitive information.” For this reason, he pointed out, only the Ministry of Economy, led by Nadia Calviño, knew about her, “to protect that confidentiality.”
Sánchez has defended the operation, ensuring that it has “good wickers” to maximize the value of the State’s participation in Bankia. Among the “very positive aspects” that he sees in the fact that both entities merge, the President of the Government has highlighted that it implies greater “territorial cohesion”, as it is a group that would have a strong presence in Madrid, Catalonia or the Region Valencian. Furthermore, he pointed out that Bankia “is going to have an important presence in very important industrial sectors in our country”.
Uncertainty for workers with children remains
The uncertainty about the reconciliation options for workers with children in this return to school marked by the pandemic it continues. After the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, announced that the Executive was studying paid leave or sick leave for cases of preventive quarantines of minors, several members of the Government – including Vice President Pablo Iglesias – have leaned towards the possibility of approving a sick leave that guarantees the income of workers during their absences to care for minors.
This Monday, however, the President of the Government has not confirmed this option and has limited himself to remembering the tools that already exist: sick leave for parents in contact with a minor who tests positive and, for preventive quarantines of children (in which they are sent home for being contacts of a positive, but in which they are not), the president has referred to the so-called Plan Me Cuida, in which workers can adapt their working day or reduce it even to 100% to care for dependent people. In the latter case, workers could be absent from their jobs to take care of the entire day, but without receiving any benefits or income during those days. “There are already actions taken by the Government of Spain,” insisted President Sánchez in reference to these two possibilities in the interview he gave this morning on TVE.