Two months after his trip to Rabat to formally rebuild relations with Mohamed VI, Pedro Sánchez has appeared in Congress forced by the PP and several of his parliamentary allies to account for the historic turn on the Sahara. The President of the Government has made a "positive balance" of the new relations with Morocco and has firmly defended his decision, but has once again run into the rejection of Congress: from the PP to his government partner. "I ask you, beyond the legitimate and logical discrepancies, that you can see here the dimension of a State policy and the key to give stability to the region and take advantage of the immense potential for cooperation of our neighbors", asserted the socialist, who has recalled that allied countries such as France or the United States defend the same position as Spain now.
Sánchez reaffirms before the king of Morocco the turn on the Sahara and they agree on the gradual reopening of the borders
The turn with respect to the Sahara involves recognizing Morocco's proposal for autonomy as the "most serious, credible and realistic basis". "47 years of unresolved conflict around the Saharawi issue should be enough to understand that we have to move our positions," said Sánchez, who maintains that any solution will have to have the approval of both parties and the UN. That is why he maintains that it does not imply an abandonment of the Saharawi people to whom he has assured that Spain will continue to provide solidarity through donations or with the reactivation of the 'Holidays in Peace' program.
"I have acted and will always act, as president, in defense of the interests of Spain," he said to applause from the socialist caucus. Sánchez has recognized that the turn on the Sahara is behind the search for a solution to the crisis with Morocco, which broke off its relations with Spain after the humanitarian reception of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Galli, and caused the massive arrival of thousands of people to Ceuta in just a few hours. “We do not accept that Ceuta and Melilla are spoken of as occupied cities because they are Spanish territory. [ha dicho tras recordar que Mohamed VI le trasladó que la soberanía de las ciudades autónomas está ”fuera de toda duda“]but we also have to understand that Morocco deserves the same consideration when we talk about the issues that concern them”.
"The new vision of our relations with Morocco would not be complete if we had not addressed the issue of Western Sahara", the president acknowledged. “The most important question we need to ask ourselves is whether we have put our relations with Morocco on a more solid footing, and whether we have a clear idea of where we want to go. The answer is definitely yes”, said the president, who has assured that the balance of the recomposition of relations with Morocco, which passed, among other things, through the gradual reopening of the borders is “positive”. In a shorter speech than the usual ones in this type of appearance, the president has also made reference to the agreement that included that the customs in Ceuta and Melilla work "in a commercial expedition regime", but has not given any details about the situation after that Morocco questioned the opening of customs and government delegations met this Tuesday to address the issue.
Gamarra: “What has been the use?”
The PP spokeswoman, Cuca Gamarra, has been the first to respond to the Prime Minister, whom she has pointed out as responsible for the "failure" of the diplomatic turn negotiated with Morocco and which has meant that Spain is betting on Western Sahara belonging to the regime of Mohammed VI. Gamarra has recalled that Congress has not endorsed the change promoted by Sánchez and has questioned its usefulness. “What has been the use?”, She has asked her. “The Ceuta customs office has not yet been created and the Melilla customs office is still closed”, she added, to conclude: “It is a failure. His failure."
"Congress has been very clear: you do not have support or a mandate to change foreign policy in relation to this issue," the secretary general also assured. "You have to count on this House, as well as your government," she added. “That's why he's here. It has not come voluntarily, but dragged by the opposition”.
The PP has asked the president to "return to the UN" and push for "an agreement accepted by all." "Compliance with the resolutions of Congress that you have broken by unilaterally breaking the consensus," Gamarra has claimed. "Fix the mess that has generated relations with Algeria," he has argued. “You know how exports are affected, and you are responsible for this. His weakness is a provocation inside and outside of Spain”, he has said.
Gamarra has concluded by finalizing the legislature and the Presidency of Sánchez: "The Spaniards ask you to step aside, it depends on you that your end be a little more dignified."
Sánchez's allies have also been critical of the turn through the Sahara, starting with United We Can, whose spokesman, Pablo Echenique, has criticized the turn and has defended that Spain should be on the side of the "aggressed" and not of the "invading power". ”. Faced with Sánchez's defense of the "successful models" of migration control, Gabriel Rufián has criticized that relations have been recomposed at a time when "the famine" caused by the war in Ukraine will "climb in the borders of Ceuta and Melilla”: “What it means is that the gendarmerie beat up against this famine like the Spanish Civil Guard”.
Support for the shock plan for the war
Sánchez used the first part of the intervention to explain the results of the European Council in which Spain and Portugal achieved "Iberian exceptionality" to decouple the price of gas that produces electricity. Sánchez has recognized that it will mean a reduction of between 15 and 20% - much lower than what the Government initially calculated - and has asked for the support of Congress for the decree that is voted on Thursday and that will entail the immediate entry into force of the measure as soon as it is approved by the European Commission, which is taking longer than expected. Sánchez has assured that this price cap will suppose "an important protection effect against future rises in the price of gas in international markets".
It has also demanded support for the extension of the shock plan against the effects of the war that the Government has announced, but whose details are still unknown. While Moncloa assures that the bulk of the measures will be those that are currently in force, such as the 25-cent discount on fuel or the reduction of taxes on electricity, United We Can demand that there be new initiatives, such as a bonus for municipal transport or that the fuel subsidy takes income into account.
“The motive for governing bravely is experience and principle. And the consequences are several: the most important is to protect people's lives. The other consequence of governing with courage is that it is the best way to stop the extreme right”, Echenique has expressed.
The leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, has assured that she will support measures that make "the Government up to the task" before reproaching her for rejecting nuclear energy "due to sectarianism." “To the great challenges and great problems, you always put a tweet, an occurrence”, has expressed Arrimadas, who has wanted the Government to last as little as possible: “You are incredible, but I, please, please, please , may you be unrepeatable”.