A few days after his appointment as fourth vice president of the Government and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera received a message by WhatsApp from Jordi Seville in which he congratulated him. So far logical and normal between two people who have been friends. The not so normal thing was that the text of the president of Red Eléctrica de España (REE) continued: “You will tell me how we organize my departure”.
Seville had been brandishing the resignation for months because of its differences with the minister and those that she considered interference with her in her administration. In fact, in November he already anticipated his intention to resign if things continued. And once Pedro Sanchez raised Ribera to vice president, decided to throw in the towel. However, he waited for some questions to be cleared up, such as the possibility that the Energy competencies would change ministry in the distribution with Podemos (to Industry if it had run out of Commerce and Tourism or Economy). But, staying as he was, the resignation seemed unstoppable.
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Then there were strips and looseness. In the Cenacles of the town and court began to seep this possibility. And last weekend, after a new episode, Seville decided to submit the resignation to the board of directors on Tuesday. On Monday this newspaper brought forward the news, which ran like wildfire and unleashed the storm around the Government at a time not very conducive, precisely, by other burning messes (meeting of Open them with the Venezuelan minister, the sentence of Torra…)
What was it that warmed Seville to move from the peaceful attitude shown in the message to Ribera to the belligerent he reflected in his march? What was the straw that broke the glass? Surely, on Sunday, Ribera, according to solvent sources, sent a message to Seville complaining about an agenda item. According to sources close to the former minister, it was not the first time. The distance between the two had reached such a point that both Seville and Ribera had resorted to using the Secretary of State for Energy as a good man, José Domínguez Abascal. But last weekend, Pepon and he was gone.
Seville’s relationship with Ribera began to deteriorate almost once one assumed the portfolio and another the REE presidency, to which it was precisely proposed by her. In the opinion of Seville, the interference of the minister in the internal management of the company was unassuming, while Ribera emphasizes that there was never interference and what was missing was dialogue, defending that there are regulatory things that the company must respect and that everything He has wanted to do what he has done, as he has told this newspaper. The vice president, despite wanting to close the case, on Thursday could not avoid attacking Seville in a canutazo in Barcelona: “We all know him, if he was not happy, it is understandable that he leaves.”
The former minister raised complaints to Sánchez, of whom he was an economic advisor. But he did not attend. According to government sources, the president has been aware of the conflict. Before that, Seville invoked the ministers of Economy, Nadia Calviño, and of the Treasury, Maria Jesus Montero, on which the SEPI, the main shareholder of REE with 20%, financially depends. The ministers asked their companion; but the matter was not resolved, something that has now been lamented by an unnecessary crisis.
The former minister congratulated Ribera and then said “you will tell me how we organize my departure”
The estrangement led to them having to resort to Dominguez Abascal as interlocutor
The core of the conflict has been that. Sevilla felt that Ribera was opposed to the purchase of Hispasat and the acquisition of assets in Brazil, both of which were approved and had even been promoted by SEPI. Nor did he find support in the criticisms of the CNMC circulars, according to some sources because the minister felt questioned. And they also reflected in their opposition to becoming a corporate corporation. Sevilla explained that it was not only due to the State, but also to the rest of the shareholders that control 80%. “You can’t have a private company in the markets and act like a public company,” he said.
The resignation of Seville had to be communicated as relevant fact to the CNMV, which demanded to expand the information asking for explanations about the abandonment, which was only attributed to the “wear and tear” of the president. The company had to replace that it was due to the appellant “personal reasons” for “supervening external restrictions and discrepancies with the regulatory environment.” The REE council on Tuesday backed Sevilla in a majority way (the three SEPI advisors put themselves in profile) and asked him to enlist and make the position available instead of resigning. Unsuccessfully.
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