"The Canary Islands need political forces that are not protected"


Francisco Suarez Alamo

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In the NC Congress, they have opted for "progressive canarismo." Is it perhaps an expression to distance themselves from the other nationalist party, the Canarian Coalition, or is it that they are embarrassed to say that they are nationalists? Does that progressive Canarianism also serve to mark distances from CC or is a confluence still possible?

-We are historically convinced that the Canary Islands need their own political forces, that are not protected, that are not subordinated to the logic of the interests of the State. We firmly believe in political forces of Canarian obedience. Canarianism incorporates not only nationalists, who can be self-determinists or asymmetric federalists like us. Ours is a different nationalism due to our own condition as islands, our privileges and because we do not exclude anyone. Non-nationalist people who share the need to defend our rights, to have their own political organizations here and also to represent us in Madrid, can fit into canarismo. In Canarianism there is room for people who were born here and also those who were born abroad but live here.

-If Sánchez advanced the general elections tomorrow, would NC go with CC again?

-It depends. As we always say, we are open to sitting down with anyone as long as certain conditions are met: a common analysis and programmatic coincidences. In its day, we went to a general election with the PSOE and the program said the same as when we went alone or with the CC: development of the Statute, respect for the REF, that the road rulings be carried out, that Spanish and European policies be modulated taking taking into account the remoteness, insularity and singularities of the Canary Islands. What electoral and government alliances should promote are programs.

-Is the roadmap marked out by NC in its Congress compatible with continuing to reissue the Pact of Flowers?

-Yes. The same happens with the agreements in the Cabildo or in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, because when there are no majorities, what corresponds is to seek agreements based on the coincidence in the programs and the measures to be taken. At the Canary Islands level, we have been decisive in changing a political cycle that was exhausted, without ideas, without reflection and without the capacity to react to the great challenges. What brought us together is the desire for change and a common program. Has this program been fulfilled in its master lines? Undoubtedly. Is it true that circumstances such as Brexit, the pandemic, the volcano and other vicissitudes, such as now the war in Europe, have complicated the responses established by this majority of progress? Yes, but the program is maintained, it is reasonably fulfilled and needs continuity. Does that mean, for example, that we agree on everything with the socialists? Well, no, and now we have a dispute with Western Sahara, where the Socialists have been left alone in the Canarian Parliament first and this week in the Spanish Parliament.

-But isn't what you mention a red line for NC to say 'I'm leaving this pact' or 'I stop supporting Pedro Sánchez'? What else is needed?

-Do not. What is needed is that the agreement is breached. We have some agreements with some content and this is not there, because foreign policy is not resident here. Each discrepancy with land agreed with a partner does not have to lead to rupture. By this rule of three, there will always be a parameter of disagreement and therefore of rupture.

-Do you share Casimiro Curbelo's statement that this is the best possible Government of the Canary Islands at the worst possible time?

-To a great extent, yes. This is a government supported by a stable parliamentary majority, at a very difficult time. It is shown in things like the fact that we have passed three budget laws, with the most expansive budgets in history, without raising taxes.

-And isn't future generations being condemned to assume a gigantic public debt?

-We have increased the budgets without raising taxes and without growing in debt. It is true that Europe, faced with the impact of the pandemic crisis, borrowed 350,000 million euros for the first time. And there is an important part of the Spanish response that has been at the cost of the public debt, but what was better? That or not have the ERTE? The ERTE have been the salvation for 3.7 million Spanish workers and 237,000 in the Canary Islands. In the previous crisis, in which CC and PP managed, those employees went into the street and closed thousands of companies, while now 1,144 million euros have been distributed in direct aid to companies. Or the Minimum Vital Income, which, added to the PCI, now allows 30,000 families to receive aid in the Canary Islands: when we arrived, there were 5,500 families who received it. And we have hired 6,000 toilets and 3,000 teachers.

-To alleviate this indebtedness, isn't it time for a general downward fiscal adjustment?

-That would not alleviate the indebtedness; on the contrary, it would force more debt to guarantee public services. What is not worth it is having public services like Finland and taxes like Central Africa. Fortunately, in the Canary Islands we have the lowest tax pressure in Spain and in Europe. Without taxes there is no health, there are no roads, there is no education, there is no security, there is no direct aid to companies, farmers or ranchers... the right has articulated a discourse that, furthermore, does not coincide with what it does: when the PP governed and there was a crisis, he cut everything in public services and raised all taxes. And in the Canary Islands they did the same. Now it has been the other way around.

-This week the governor of the Bank of Spain warned of the continuation of high inflation, a phenomenon that already occurred before the war. Is it not even worth lowering taxes as a punctual solution to the inflationary spiral?

-It is that not even the governor of the Bank of Spain proposes that solution. We must act at the source of the problem, which is due to the lack of raw materials and hoarding. The US Federal Reserve has started to raise interest rates, the Bank of England is following suit and the ECB will soon do the same. We must be careful, lest we add a problem of excess demand to the problem of supply, because then inflation will indeed run rampant. The action must be of the EU in the markets to solve the problem. What we have done is touch taxes selectively, as we did with medical supplies in the pandemic, with zero IGIC for two years, or in La Palma with the volcanic crisis, lowering all taxes and now returning the fuel tax to everyone. the professionals. Instead of general reductions that the market assumes and do not affect the citizen, it is more efficient to carry out surgical fiscal interventions for damaged sectors, because it makes much more sense to give aid to those who need it, to companies and families. Let's see what happened with energy and VAT: Sánchez lowered VAT on electricity and the tax reduction was absorbed by the system in a matter of a few days and electricity has not stopped rising.

-After almost three years of government in the Canary Islands and the same in the state legislature, with NC supporting the investiture, how is it possible that every so often there are breaches in the jurisdiction or surprises like the gas one now? What's wrong in Madrid?

-That's why canarismo is important. Either we put together a broad Canarian force, of only Canarian obedience, or they forget about us. We have also seen it now with the Corporation Tax, and that has stopped for the moment because Poland opposed the package of measures as a whole.

- Is this due to ignorance in some ministerial corridors or because other communities are playing to make the Canary Islands less attractive fiscally?

-There can be everything, but the result is that if we are not attentive, if we do not press and if we do not control, there is a lack of consideration for our singularities. On the plateau we are still not understood. Pedro Quevedo has achieved more things in these years than the rest of the deputies put together.

-At the beginning of the legislature, you said in an interview with this newspaper that for the Canarian pact to work, Madrid had to comply. What grade do you give to that fulfillment of the Sánchez Government?

-We signed an agreement for the investiture that has to be fulfilled. They say that the degree of compliance is the highest in history, but we believe that there is a long way to go. We share and benefit from many economic and social measures, but strict respect for the REF remains pending. We saw it with what happened with film productions; we ask for more flexibility with the terms and the interpretation of the Reservation; change the law so that we can refund taxes to businessmen affected by the Thomas Cook crisis, affected by invoices that they could not collect... and the last thing is the episode of the regasification plant. It is evident that in Madrid, and it does not matter who is in charge, they misinterpret our interests. And let us hope that in this recent matter between Spain and Morocco they respect our interests.

-In this matter with Morocco, why don't you accept the agreement as good if irregular immigration is curbed?

-First: accept that logic, when there have been hundreds and thousands of deaths on that journey, what does it mean? Does Spain accept that these people have been used as cannon fodder for a diplomatic negotiation? Can a state be trusted that is capable of doing that with its own people? Immigration issues have to be addressed seriously, rigorously. I know how reliable the French Government is, for example, but I do not trust the Moroccan Government, and those who trust the Moroccan Government are going to be disappointed. They will see it. In relation to the dispute over the Sahara, there is a unilateral change, which is not supported by the Canarian Parliament and which is not supported by the Spanish Parliament. And this is not a minor matter, because even Sánchez's partner who sits on the Council of Ministers found out afterwards, as did the parliamentary partners and the opposition. In addition, there are other strategic partners in North Africa, and I defend a good relationship with Morocco, but also with Algeria. Sánchez is wrong and the only thing that is clear from the released document, which is a compendium of many vague details, is that Spain supports the plan that Morocco put on the table in 2007. In the face of blackmail, giving in feeds the blackmail itself; against blackmail, touches legality and firmness.



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