Wednesday, August 4

Housing, Budgets and Historical Memory: the immediate challenges facing the new Government

The new members of the Government already have their corresponding portfolios and this Tuesday they will see their faces together with Pedro Sánchez for the first time at the meeting of the Council of Ministers after the traditional family photo on the steps of Moncloa. Beyond the renewal of faces that Sánchez has sought looking at the 2023 elections, the coalition has at least two years of work ahead in which they have to undertake about 70% of the programmatic agreement, according to Moncloa’s estimates. for these dates, with which to defend the management at the polls.

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The president has been saying for months that the government’s priority is vaccination, but the process – record after record – is facing its last stages. The goal of 70% of the population being immunized in August is plausible and, from there, economic recovery will be the leitmotiv of the Executive. Sanchez trusts her stay in Moncloa. The president has kept his economic team intact and has promoted Nadia Calviño. By not replacing Carmen Calvo, the head of Economy will be the first vice president in the ranks. It also supports José Luis Escrivá, despite the wear and tear after his recent blunder on pensions, at a time when the reform of the system is one of the challenges of Social Security for the coming months.

The economic area of ​​the Government is embarking on the projects of European funds, which will involve an injection of 69,500 million until 2023. Already at the first meeting of the new cabinet, measures related to these plans will be taken, such as the distribution of 1,000 million in transfers to the communities for education or 1,600 million for housing, in addition to the approval of the PERTE (public-private collaboration project based on the funds) for the electric vehicle that Sánchez presented this Monday while half of his ministers took office. The one that will not be finally approved this Tuesday will be the law of democratic memory that Calvo had made a list – and that was delayed by trans laws and that of the only yes is yes. His successor, Félix Bolaños, wants to review it before taking what will be the great project of his department to the Council of Ministers in case he makes any changes, although he had already been well on top of the text.

Bolaños, who had a legal fight with the prior of the Valley of the Fallen Santiago Cantera during the exhumation of Franco, intends to expel the Benedictines from the place once the Foundation of the Santa Cruz del Valle. His intention is to close this issue before presenting the law to Parliament, and for this he hopes to negotiate with the Archdiocese of Madrid and the Episcopal Conference, even though he knows that this is a decision that, if not taken with the acquiescence of the prior del Valle , Santiago Cantera, could make Rome intervene, Jesus informs enough.

Housing and Budgets

Although Sánchez seeks in the new profiles to compete electorally with his left before the push of Yolanda Díaz and also of Más Madrid, at United We Can applaud the signings and trust that they will serve to grease the coalition. Thus, they celebrate Calvo’s march –with which they have had the most friction apart from those responsible for the economic area–, they look favorably on Bolaños at the head of the coordination – the leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, negotiated with him the small print of the programmatic agreement – and they have expectations of the Minister of Transport, Urban Agenda and Mobility, Raquel Sánchez, for the approval of the housing law, which has been stalled for about a year. “Affordable housing is the most powerful instrument of the welfare state,” she expressed in her first speech as minister, changing the course of José Luis Ábalos’ phrase, who assured that “housing is a right, but it is also a market good. “.

The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, is already working on the spending ceiling that will serve as a prelude to the General State Budgets for 2022. Although the approval of last year’s accounts already allowed the Government to assume that the legislature would end , the intention is to repeat the scheme this fall. The coalition is heading for a new battle and a tough negotiation, especially with ERC, which will intermingle with the dialogue table in Catalonia. The relationship with the communities will depend on Isabel Rodríguez, as Minister of Territorial Policy, although the negotiation with Catalonia will be piloted by Moncloa. After the pardons, the search for a resolution to the Catalan conflict – or at least to be able to appease it – is the great challenge for Sánchez’s legislature. In less than two months, however, the also Government spokesperson will have to resort (or not) the fund created by the Generalitat to face the bonds imposed by the Court of Accounts on the leaders of the procés whose legality is being studied by the Executive .

Montero assumes the portfolio of Public Function just after Miquel Iceta reached a historic agreement for the reduction of interns. The now Minister of Culture and Sports, who recognized his regret for leaving the previous portfolio in which he acknowledged having put “great enthusiasm and many hours” in the five months that it was his, launched a plan to attract young talent for him. public service whose wake Montero has promised to follow as well as to promote a reform to modernize the administration.

Sánchez has recovered the one who was his Sherpa in the first stage in Moncloa and largely took care of his international image. José Manuel Albares hoped to be a minister when Josep Borrell left, but he has had to wait. After a period as ambassador to France, he arrived at the Foreign Ministry at a time of diplomatic crisis with Morocco, which called for consultations with his ambassador after the reception for humanitarian reasons of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghalli. Reestablishing that relationship with the Alawite kingdom is Albares’ priority, which sent a clear message in that direction at its premiere by ensuring that it is necessary to strengthen relations with its southern neighbors, “especially with our great friend Morocco.”

Pilar Llop also has a task ahead. The head of Justice stated this Monday that the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and the Constitutional Court, which his predecessor, Juan Carlos Campo, had set as an objective, is “essential” and has a good relationship with the head of the PP in that matter, Enrique López. But Pablo Casado does not plan to unblock those organs that have been in office for years and with a majority expired. But the Ministry of Llop also has important legislative changes ahead of it, such as the comprehensive reform of the Penal Code – including changes to the crimes of sedition and rebellion – or the criminal prosecution law, which was approved in the first round in November 2020 and that, among other things, leaves the weight in the Public Ministry in the investigation phase to the detriment of the judge, an approach that was contested by the Fiscal Council due to the shortage of templates.

She is not the only minister who finds half-baked projects. Pilar Alegría will have the opportunity to leave her mark on the Vocational Training law, which is approved in its draft version, and in the Education branch she will have to finish developing the Lomloe, which is known as the ‘Celaá law’. Despite the fact that the hardest part has been done, it has several thorny points: approving the decree of evaluation and promotion, already in the consultation phase and that comes with rejection from its conception for letting pass the course with failed subjects (practice, on the other hand , which comes from years ago), complete or reverse the reduction of the curriculum that Celaá was preparing and finally approve the Teaching Statute. Another of Alegría’s challenges will also be to recover the dialogue with educational agents, one of the main criticisms that has been made of the management of the already ex-minister.

For her part, the new head of Science, Diana Morant, arrives at the Ministry in good time. European funds and the efforts of the outgoing Pedro Duque have skyrocketed his department’s budget by 60% and the pandemic has managed to promote the collective idea that “science is the answer,” as the minister herself has stated. Establishing the research investment system developed by its predecessor is seen as one of the main tasks that Morant will have to develop.

In this sense, one of the objectives of the minister will be to complete Duque’s great commitment, the Pact for Science that 80 research institutions of various kinds have already signed and that intends to leave investment in the sector out of political ups and downs by means of ” a country pact “that ensures funding for the future. Taking forward the Science Law that Duque was preparing (and which cost him two demonstrations by researchers before it even existed) and improving equality in a sector that penalizes women a lot are other challenges that Morant will face.

Although it is a half-starter, because it was already in the Council of Ministers, Iceta has challenges ahead because, after a year and a half of pandemic, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes has left many loose ends for Miquel Iceta. In 2020, the cultural sector lost 42,100 workers, bookstores calculated 200 million euros in losses, movie theaters accounted for 100 million in March (and the worst box office since the beginning of the century), and the music sector, with 25,000 suspended concerts, it raised them to 1,000 million. To all this it should be added that visits to Spanish museums fell by 81% that same year. So the first task of the new minister will be to carry out the general lines of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan already outlined. Predictably, the cultural industries will receive 525 million euros from European Union funds, and they must be managed as soon as possible, to calm the spirits of a really discontent sector, reports Francesc Miró.

On the other hand, the Statute of the Artist is still the elephant in the room: a matter of such magnitude that it is impossible to continue to ignore it. The first statute report with more than seventy measures was approved unanimously in September 2018, with José Guirao in the ministerial position. Uribes said in an interview with this newspaper in January 2021 that the Statute was “more than a measure, a great stable decision for the future: a bill of rights and duties of the artists of this country.” He wanted to continue moving forward to make it “a milestone for this legislature”, but he will no longer score the goal.

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