The Popular Party has only convinced Vox in its attempt to reopen the political battle over pensions. The party led by Pablo Casado presented an amendment to the entirety to try to overthrow the first block of the government reform, which agreed with the employers and unions after a decade without a social agreement in this regard. This Thursday, Minister José Luis Escrivá has defended in Congress the legislation and the PP, its veto to the text. Those of Casado have only garnered the support of the extreme right, while most political groups have made him ugly that he now abandons the spirit of consensus on this sensitive issue for millions of people and that he once again defends the 2013 cuts legislation .
The PP reopens the political battle over pensions and praises the 2013 reform that it left in a drawer
Almost a year ago, the great parliamentary majority, including the PP, returned to the political agreement on pensions through the 22 recommendations of the Toledo Pact for the future of the public system. This Thursday the Popular Party has recorded in Congress its change of strategy in this matter, in which Pablo Casado has started a frontal confrontation with the Executive. He already reflected it just a few days after the social agreement with businessmen and unions, when he argued that the reform was a “great mistake” and highlighted the “success” of the 2013 reform of the Rajoy Government, which the PP Executive itself stopped apply at the end of his term in the midst of a great social mobilization.
The initiative presented this Thursday by the PP aimed to return the first block of changes to the Sánchez Government, which would have delayed the reform at a key moment. The Executive has promised Brussels the approval of these changes before December 31 of this year within the Recovery and Resilience Plan, so the arrival of thousands of European funds depends on meeting this and other milestones.
Vox has voted in favor of the Casado amendment, although the extreme right has underlined the change of position of the PP and has criticized it for having supported the agreement of the Toledo Pact, from which the Santiago Abascal party abstained. The parliamentarian Pablo Sáez has focused his intervention on criticizing the reform of Escrivá, since from Vox they insist that the public system is not sustainable at present.
The rest of the parliamentary groups have rejected this attempt by the ‘popular’ and supported the continuation of the parliamentary processing of the text that recovers the revaluation of pensions according to the CPI. Several political formations have warned Minister Escrivá of some differences and criticisms regarding the text and the Government’s actions, but they have opted to debate them in the Cortes and be able to incorporate changes through the amendment process.
Rejection of the 2013 cuts
The PP put the spokesperson of the parliamentary group, Cuca Gamarra, to defend this new confrontational position in the Toledo Pact before the summer, relegating the usual spokesperson in the commission (Tomás Cabezón). But this Thursday he left the task of defending this amendment to the whole, which was doomed to failure, on Cabezón’s shoulders. The PP has claimed its 2013 reform, which involves semi-freezing pensions permanently, only with increases of 0.25% per year, and a sustainability factor that lowers future pensions, with a bigger cut for the youngest.
José Luis Escrivá has reproached the PP for abandoning the spirit of the Toledo Pact agreements and has asked the party “not to deceive the Spanish.” “Recognize the huge cut in pensions, the 40% cut in pensions that your reform implies. That is your reform,” the minister snapped.
Escrivá has spoiled that Casado’s “don’t care” about the social and political consensus on pensions, as reflected in the words of this week by former president Mariano Rajoy, who encouraged Casado to overthrow the reform when the PP returns to Moncloa even if they made “a strike” on them.
The majority of political formations have criticized the change of position of the PP, which they have called electoralist. Even from parties of the parliamentary right, such as the PNV and Ciudadanos, which have made it clear that they do not share the cuts that the 2013 reform entails, as was evidenced in the Toledo Pact agreement. “The PP has let me down, I expected much more from you,” said PNV parliamentarian Iñigo Barandiaran, who has asked the main opposition party to “regain loyalty in a matter as sensitive” as corresponds to “a party serious, that aspires to govern “.
The challenge of the intergenerational equity mechanism
Escrivá has managed to avoid this attempt to boycott his reform, but the political formations have left several messages to the minister for the parliamentary procedure. The first, that it has to dialogue more with the rest of the parliamentary groups, something that has been lacking in the process of negotiating the legislative text with the social agents. Several groups, such as PNV and Ciudadanos, have considered that the minister should have had a more active role to continue cultivating political agreement in the Toledo Pact, such as was made evident with the supplement against the gender gap that replaced the old maternity.
The second: stop opening debates with your statements that create controversies about pensions. The groups have warned that the “probe balloons” do not help to explain the true challenges of the system and to calm present and future pensioners, has warned, for example, Íñigo Errejón, from Más País.
And the third message – by way of warning – consists of the difficulty of negotiating the so-called “intergenerational equity mechanism” (MEI), which is still pending design and which will be included in this first block of changes via amendment. In this case, the parliamentary partners of the Government, such as ERC, but also formations of the coalition Executive itself, such as United We Can, have warned of their misgivings regarding this index that will replace the sustainability factor repealed in 2013.
“The votes of United We Can will not serve to increase the retirement age or to impoverish current and future pensions,” said Deputy Isabel Franco, who stressed that the MEI should not translate into “not a single euro of cuts in the pensions of our young people “. Escrivá still has to negotiate this mechanism with the unions and employers, for which he has until November 15, which he has anticipated will be a “contingent” apparatus. That is to say, it will only be activated in case of need during the years of greatest budgetary tension of Social Security, during the retirement of the baby boomers.