The Government accuses the “wear” of the unrest in the streets, but trusts that its shock plan will stop it


  • He hopes that the European Council take action to control energy prices, stop the internal bleeding and guide the national anti-crisis package

  • The Executive is considering granting direct aid to the affected sectorsinstead of tax cuts, because it is about promoting measures that are “effective”

“There is an interest in pretending that we are spectators, but the reality is that we do not sleep. Literally. We do not sleep because we are in meetings all day and considering the measures that, above all, are more effective, because that is what it is about”. A minister verbalized this Tuesday the frustration that nests in the Government, the full awareness that it is suffering a hugewear” in the last two weeks, especially due to the carrier strike that is jeopardizing the distribution network throughout the country, but also due to the controversial (and not explained in detail until now) shift in the position of the Sahara, which has meant the abandonment of Spain’s neutrality in the conflict after almost 47 years.In the Executive they hope that at the end of this week, when the European Council adopts measures to control energy prices, the internal bleeding will stop, because will put black on white the margin you have to alleviate the rise in electricity bills for citizens and companies. In other words, the path that Brussels takes will determine the orientation and contents of the national response plan to the war in Ukraine, which in Moncloa they hope to be able to agree with the PP.

This Tuesday, the Council of Ministers did not approve partial measures to cushion the cost of energy, as other countries have advanced, because their “strategy“, his “bet” is another, explained another member of the Cabinet. And it is to take “draft” measurementsnot patches, and trust everything in the change of the EU, to the European Council of this March 24 and 25, which explains the tour of the president, Pedro Sánchez, through several capitals, tour that yesterday should have concluded in Dublin, but that was not possible due to the covid of the Irish Prime Minister, Michael Martinwith which however yes it met telematically.

The Executive is pushing, like Italy, Portugal and Greece, towards a redesign, even temporary, of the energy market, which allows gas to be decoupled from the electricity bill. The argument, repeated ad nauseam, is that if you don’t “intervenes“the system, the “contagion” of a technology, gas, which is distorting the price of electricity, will not be cut off. For this reason, the Government defends that tax reductions or direct aid are not enough, since the market eats them up if his “dysfunctional” behavior, further rampant after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is not corrected.

“There is an interest in pretending that we are spectators, but the reality is that we do not sleep. Literally. We do not sleep because we are in meetings all day and shuffling measures,” explains a minister

“What we hope is that if there is no maximum agreement among the Twenty-seven, it will provide us with a hanger to actbecause today the energy market is regulated at a European level and your margin of action as a country is much less”, explains a minister. Moreover, in the Executive they point out that Brussels is aware that Spain will not accept any minimum output. If not the root problem is tackled, as the president asks, “the government will not agree”. Decisions in the European Council are adopted unanimously, and if there is a country that exercises its right of veto, there is no pact. In other words, that Sánchez is willing to stompwilling to play his card to the end.

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In recent days, however, street pressure has been increasing. The carriers’ strike has lasted for more than a week and has increased —although the perception of the Socialists is that in recent hours more trucks have been able to work thanks to the deployment of 24,000 police officers—, and it was joined last Sunday , the massive protest of the rural world (150,000 concentrated in Madrid, according to the Government Delegation, 400,000, according to the organizers), plus the plant of the fishermen. “The government shows signs of self-absorption, improvisation and lurching at a time when people are having a hard time… If there is no immediate and firm reaction, the legislature can get out of hand“, said this Tuesday Íñigo Errejón, leader of Más País, a regular partner of the bipartisan. Like ERC, which does not stop warning that “either the left gets its act together and tries to create and apply initiatives or Vox keeps all this “.

In the Executive they deny that Spain is going “late”, because countries like France have announced measures that will come into force on April 1, when the anti-crisis decree is expected to be operational

In the Executive, they reply that they are aware of social “discomfort”, that they are “sensitive“, but at the same time they are “responsible” and they are studying possible solutions (“we do not sleep”). “Everyone gets very dramatic, but you have to be in the Government to maintain temperance. It is about taking the most effective measures, not rushing and running. We gave ourselves a roadmap, which is to wait for Brussels, because depending on what the European Council agrees, the measures will be one or the other. In the meantime, until the Council of Ministers on March 29, we also suffered, it’s true. Have wear“, they defend themselves in the most direct team of the president, where they deny that Spain is acting”afternoon“, because countries like France have announced measures to lower fuel prices that will come into force on April 1, the date on which the anti-crisis package that the coalition government is preparing will also come into force.

That roadmap designed by Moncloa is what makes the Government wait (and the PSOE) that the storm will subside from Friday, when the European Council concludes. In fact, in the team of the head of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, they point out that it will be then when the early departures to the carriers can be specified this past Monday. Specificity that should take, that is what the ministry believes, at the end of the strike this weekend. In short, they show “quite optimistic“After 15 very turbulent days.

The security in his package of measures leads the Executive to think that the PP will end up supporting him in Congress, in part due to the change brought about by the arrival of Alberto Núñez Feijóo. But although they await your vote in favor of the royal decree law, they consider that whatever the popular do, they will continue to demand the tax reduction, regardless of the fact that it is less effective at the moment. “They understand that this gives them votes“.

12,000 million less collection

Government sources explained yesterday Tuesday that the Executive does not care about entering less – the option of lower taxes— than increase spending —bonuses via indebtedness. But what the sectors most affected by the rise in fuel prices, carriers and farmers (tractors), are demanding are direct aid. The VAT they charge, whether higher or lower, is deducted. “What the government is evaluating is what is more useful“. “That when we come out with the package of measures, they really serve”.

The Socialists recognize the “frustration” of having lowered taxes on the electricity bill, an effort that has come to nothing because the market has eaten it up with the rise in prices

The Executive categorically denies that with this situation the State is collecting more, and it is emphasized that those who benefit are the autonomous communities, because 50% of the VAT and 58% of the hydrocarbon tax are ceded. What would be most convenient for the Government is the tax reduction, they maintain, because it would be a loss of income that affects the autonomies. If you opt for direct aid, for the Executive there is a double penalty, since within two years the excess VAT must be returned to each region. All options are being evaluated, but the Government seems to favor bonuses to the sectors most affected, confirmed from the Treasury.

The proof, they point out in the Government, is the tax reduction that has already been applied with electricity, and that “has not worked“. This, they acknowledge, has been a “frustration“Because although action has been taken to curb the energy bill, the tax cut has not helped. Electricity has continued to rise due to the impact of the price of gas on the calculation of electricity. If the measures approved so far are maintained, everything the year, they point out, the State will have stopped entering up to 12,000 million euros, without this being a great relief for families and companies, because the price has continued to climb.That is why the insistence that decisions be made at European level .

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In the socialist part of the Executive they believe that the anti-crisis package for next Tuesday must not generate a new conflict with United We Can because they are systemically less favorable to fiscal aid. The problem could be that they demand tax increases from large companies, something that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, did yesterday in his meeting with the electricity companies, and later, as the third vice president, Teresa Ribera, later ratified at a press conference.

To the unrest in the street due to the rise in inflation, the Government adds the political earthquake due to the change of position on Western Sahara and the support given to Morocco’s autonomy plan. The reviews have been very unanimous of all the opposition for the twist, the lack of transparency and the details of the agreement. Even in the PSOE it has generated a lot of confusion. The idea is that this controversy runs out of steam starting this Wednesday with the appearance in Congress of the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, and that the Government can get rid of problems.



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