They are the two progressive government leaders who, in recent months, have usually achieved a better grade from the public. The Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, for the part of United We Can, and the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, for the socialist. There is, however, a profound ideological clash between the two regarding the military resources that the country must maintain. Some differences that have resurfaced before the intention of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, to increase military spending and that were evident as never before this Monday, after learning that the Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday a credit of 1,000 million for Defense .
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Until now, Díaz had always avoided a direct clash with Robles despite the latter's direct attacks on United We Can and its leaders, arguing institutional loyalty between members of the same Cabinet. But, about to launch the listening project after which he will decide if he chooses to lead a candidacy to the left of the PSOE to reach Moncloa –the first act of 'Sumar' is held this Friday in Madrid–, the second vice president chose this Monday to face the accusations of her government colleague.
First thing in the morning, the Minister of Social Rights and leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, had used an internal party meeting to attack the alleged increase in military spending to which Sánchez promised during the NATO summit last week. The country, he said, does not need to “double military spending”, which in his opinion is already at “record” levels, because “Spain is not at war”. Citizens, he added, "do not need" to buy "bombs or combat aircraft" due to "the demand of a foreign power", he pointed out, referring to the US, with whom the Government has agreed to increase its presence in Rota with two new destroyers , something that United We Can also flatly rejects.
“I will tell Mrs. Belarra to ask Vice President Yolanda Díaz to see if she says in Ferrol to stop building the F-110 frigates there, which are creating many jobs.” with these words reacted, minutes later, Robles herself, in response to Belarra but making a direct allusion to the second vice president.
The “respect” between allies
And the latter, who throughout the legislature had avoided entering into a melee with any other member of the Executive, this time he did decide to answer him, making direct mention of the credit of 1,000 million euros for Defense approved by the Government. "The agreement that is being proposed (...) has nothing to do, and I am sorry, with the workload of my region, of Ferrol, or of Cádiz," Díaz assured late on Monday, when he was asked by the press, reports Víctor Honorato.
The second vice-president explained that the agreement by which military spending is increased to 1,000 million euros is aimed at two chapters: "Chapter 2, with an amount of 377 million, which is ordinary spending, completely unrelated to Navantia, and chapter 6, with an amount of 650 million that also has nothing to do with the workload of Navantia Ferrol or Navantia Cádiz”, Díaz insisted before the journalists. The agreement, she has specified, has to do with the "armament of the troops" and will result in more resources for weapons, suits and ordinary spending.
Díaz also criticized that this credit supplement for Defense has been carried out without agreeing with United We Can, especially because "it touches on a sensitive matter such as the defense of the country," he specified. In his opinion, these types of decisions "must be taken properly, with respect for the allies and with democratic respect for the Cortes Generales, because the opposition forces also have the right to know what is being done."
The “Sánchez commitment” to military spending
Already at night, Moncloa sources wanted to give explanations "in relation to the approval by the Council of Ministers of a loan of 1,000 million euros in Defense," reports Irene Castro. "As announced by the President of the Government, the Executive is going to fulfill its responsibility and solidarity to strengthen European security and deterrence capacity in the face of the real threat that Putin represents", they assured from the Presidency of the Government, who added that Sánchez "has been clear and diaphanous in relation to the European commitment to reach the military spending target of 2% of GDP in 2029."
Faced with Díaz's complaints, the Prime Minister's team wanted to make it clear that "all the ministerial departments were informed of the proposal" to request that 1,000 million credit "at the meeting of the General Commission of Secretaries of State and Undersecretaries that It was held last week." "The proposal was studied and validated without any type of intervention against it," they settled.