The Popular Party has resorted this Thursday to a long string of reproaches and disqualifications against the progressive government to justify its rejection of the validation of the royal decree law on energy saving that has been debated in the Congress of Deputies, in an extraordinary Plenary. Despite the attitude of the main opposition party, the rule has been endorsed in the first parliamentary session of the political year by a large majority of the Lower House thanks to the support of the usual members of the Executive who, however, have reproached the PSOE and United We Can negotiate those backups at the last minute. It has achieved 187 votes in favor, 161 against and one abstention. In addition, it has been agreed to process it as a bill, as requested by different groups.
Sánchez asks the PP to explain its ‘no’ to an energy saving plan agreed with the EU and that benefits the middle class
The Plenary that has made the deputies return prematurely from their vacations has shown, however, the double game of the PP, since despite the very harsh words that its deputies have dedicated to the Government and their ‘no’ to energy measures, The party chaired by Alberto Núñez Feijóo has validated the other two decrees that have been debated in Congress: the one that establishes a new contribution system for self-employed workers and the one on urgent measures in the matter of forest fires.
The session has also made it possible to consolidate the well-known majority of the investiture, given that the usual partners of the Government, in addition to supporting these three decrees, have facilitated the definitive approval of three laws in the parameters that PSOE and United We Can want. This Thursday, the Organic Law for the Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom – known as the ‘yes is yes’ law –, the Science Law and the Bankruptcy Law, were endorsed, after debating and voting on the amendments that were approved in the Senate.
The main attention was focused, however, on the energy saving decree, since the Executive did not close the support of the text until just 24 hours before the Plenary. The debate on the initiative has begun with the intervention of the Minister of Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, who, after summarizing all the measures included in the decree -among them, the limitations on air conditioning, the shutdown of administrative buildings and shop windows , but also transport aid and an increase in study grants–, has asked the PP, in a last attempt that has been frustrated, to change its position and support validation.
After recalling that the measures are aimed at “confronting Putin’s blackmail” and “combating the threat of climate change”, the minister appealed for political unity to give the green light to savings initiatives agreed upon within the Union European. “Such important issues must reach consensus and not obstructionist attitudes,” she assured, addressing the PP, which she asked to defend the “general interest against partisan interests.” If they don’t, Sánchez added, “those who would be hitting are thousands of citizens who are paying for public transport, passenger and freight transport companies, the self-employed and thousands of young people who need to supplement their scholarships. Think of them when you vote ”, she asked them, without success.
The minister recalled that the measures have already been reflected in energy savings of 9.5% in the last week and 8.5% compared to last year. “Think about the effects that you have already produced”, she told the PP deputies, before emphasizing that the citizens are acting as “responsible and supportive, just the opposite of the right-wing formations”. “There are two types of conservatism, the retrograde and denialist that sits between us and the modern European right that, wherever it governs, is adopting measures similar to ours. This decree law is Europe, it is commitment and it is solidarity, it is common sense”, she added.
The PP charges against the “command and command”
Time and time again, Sánchez has asked the PP to “reconsider”, but the general secretary of the popular party, Cuca Gamarra, not only has not moved from the ‘no’ announced by her party, but has also delved into the accusations against the Government . For her, the royal decree law “is indefensible” and to justify that statement, she has assured that the current one is “the most expensive government in history” with an economic policy that, in her opinion, “is a failure and a burden for the Spanish people”. “We will not support patches that have negative consequences for the Spanish. To do serious things they have the support of the PP, for improvisations and the command and command, no, ”she pointed out, confirming that rejection of the decree.
Gamarra has complained of not having received “not a single call” from the Executive to negotiate the text. That is why he has spoken of Moncloa’s “impositions” and that the measures are an “example of contempt for the Spanish.” The ‘number two’ of the PP has claimed the “planning” of her party “in the face of the intransigence” of the Government, who has been asked to “leave aside ideology and sectarianism and think about what interests the Spaniards” . From Pontevedra, Alberto Núñez Feijóo himself has also announced that his party will present its own energy saving plan, a plan with “energy policies” and not “improvisations” such as those that, he has reiterated, are included in the Royal Decree that has brought the Government to the plenary session of Congress.
On the turn of United We Can, Juan López de Uralde has considered that the measures are “a step forward” and “they are already demonstrating their effectiveness”, but he also pointed out that the decree “falls short” and there is an opportunity “to be more brave”. Along the same lines, regular partners of the Executive such as ERC, PNV, EH Bildu and Más País have confirmed their support for the text, although with criticism of the Government. “They have done it again. They mix churras with merinos again”, the ERC deputy Joan Capdevila reproached the members of the Executive, who has assured that he shares “some” of the measures of the decree, “others not” and others “halfway”.
After getting the text processed as a bill, the Republican group has announced that, during the amendment period, it will request a moratorium on the application of the measures for self-employed workers and SMEs until November 30, a state fund of support managed by the autonomous communities to finance the costs of applying these measures, an additional financing mechanism to guarantee the inspections resulting from these measures, the possibility of extending the networks for self-consumption up to 5 km and not the current 500 metres, as The Government has already promised to modify and speed up the regulation of closed networks that would optimize the flow of industrial complexes such as the Tarragona petrochemical plant and promote industrial cogeneration to reduce the demand for primary energy and facilitate the entry of biogas.
Mertxe Aizpurua, from EH Bildu, assured, for her part, that her five deputies voted “in favor of responsibility with the planet” and for sharing “two of the pillars” of the decree: the promotion of sustainability and public transport. However, during his intervention, Aizpurua has considered that in the face of the measures adopted, which have an expiration date in November 2023, “structural” and “permanent” initiatives should be adopted, promoting, for example, the “transformation” of the energy system. “This responsibility must be above partisan and political calculations until we acquire the climate awareness that we need”, he has riveted, to then demand “a new paradigm that takes into account the limits of the planet”.
The PNV asks the Government for another way of negotiating
In exchange for the support, EH Bildu has agreed with the Government to update the objectives of the Climate Change Law in 2023, in addition to beginning to plan, together with the autonomous communities, “medium and long-term strategies” to transform production and consumption models towards actions that prioritize reduction, efficiency and the transition towards renewable energies. For Aizpurua, however, the way in which the government has negotiated, at the last minute, hours before the debate in Congress, “is not the best formula to grease the progressive majority.”
“They put us in the dilemma between everything or nothing,” summarized, along the same lines, her criticism of the Government Idoia Sagastizabal, deputy of the PNV, another of the Government’s supporters this Thursday. She has lamented that this strategy “has become habitual” on the part of the Executive, to which she has launched a request: “Do not wait until the last moment because the moment will come when the accounts will not come out.” Íñigo Errejón, from Más País, has also shared the need for energy saving measures to be “structural”.
Vox and Ciudadanos, like the PP, have used their interventions to accuse the Government of acting “by decree” and have reproached it, once again, for their support being from nationalist and pro-independence forces. The extreme right has also announced that it will take the decree before the Constitutional Court.