The tension that was experienced this Thursday in one of the assembly halls of the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid where the leader of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, and Antonio Garamendi, the president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) coincided – the largest business group in the country–, evidenced the distances that the main opposition force has been trying to mark for months with the employers.
The PP declares war on the bosses for their approval of pardons
The PP does not forgive that businessmen, a sector it considered related, have reached numerous agreements with the progressive government in the last two years, the last of them this Monday to reform the pension system. But the last month that ended up causing the popular to declare war on business organizations was the support of prominent members of the employer’s association for the pardons granted by the Executive to the pro-independence leaders.
One of the gestures that most bothered the PP of Casado was precisely that of Garamendi himself, who on June 17, during a interview on TVE, He argued that, if the pardons to the Catalan independentistas served to normalize the situation, “welcome” they were.
His words did not signify much less explicit support for those pardons, as Garamendi himself has tried to clarify since then in each of his public appearances. But they did stand very far from the apocalyptic messages of the three rights -PP, Vox and Ciudadanos-, which consider the pardons as an affront to the rule of law of a government that they consider illegitimate and which from the direction of Casado have been requested the resignation and elections, an advance rejected this very Thursday by the president of the Executive, Pedro Sánchez.
The conservative formations and their media terminals then deployed a whole campaign against Garamendi, which on June 23 was, instead, unanimously supported by the General Assembly of his business organization with a long applause that made him emotional. “I have to admit that I have had some very bad days. I honestly say it, it is a genuinely unfair issue,” he said to his teammates, recalling the offensive of the right wing.
A day before, the leader of the PP was asked about Garamendi’s words about pardons during a Onda Cero interview, and replied the following: “What I am saying is that they did not represent anyone, them or anyone.” His disqualifications to the business community were linked to “a hollowing out of parliamentarism in Spain.” “If we want to improve the quality of democracy, let us trust the representatives of democracy,” said the PP leader before complaining that the Executive negotiates the laws with unions, employers, associations and civil society. “I am going to end up negotiating a law with Father Ángel,” he ironized.
Also denying the representativeness of business organizations, Casado assured that he is only due to their “shareholders”, who are “the Spanish.” “Millions of Spaniards feel identified with an alternative to normality, which is to comply with the law,” he added, alluding to his own party and his position on pardons.
The disposition to the agreement of the CEOE leader
The anger that Garamendi’s reflection generated in the leadership of the PP continues, and thus Casado was in charge of making it clear this Thursday, during the act in which he coincided with the president of the CEOE: the inauguration of the summer courses of the aforementioned Madrid university. While the employer’s leader tried at all times to get closer to the popular leader, he barely dedicated a dozen words of courtesy to him: “Thank you for the work you are doing in favor of the businessmen.”
Previously, Garamendi had delivered several messages to try to flatter Casado. “Tell the president of the PP, that he can count on our collaboration and participation. He knows that we always have an attitude and a very important line of trust. And we will continue to have it, as always,” said the president of the CEOE. “I wish the Popular Party the best. The main opposition party is also key, because in Spain the Constitution says that alternation is also good when it plays,” he added, after recalling that the employers are part of the “social agents. “recognized by the Magna Carta and that, therefore, always acts with” institutional loyalty “towards the Government of the day.
This same Thursday, Garamendi signed in Moncloa together with the Executive and the unions the pact to reform pensions a few minutes after Casado, next to him, strongly criticized that same modification. The leader of the PP dismissed the reform as a “great mistake” and defended the current PP pension legislation by calling it “successful” despite the fact that the government of Mariano Rajoy, which approved it, stopped applying it at the end of his term. .
Casado claimed the “success” of the two key elements of the unilateral pension legislation of 2013, which had neither the support of social dialogue nor the political consensus of the Toledo Pact. These elements, the pension revaluation index (which caused increases of 0.25%) and the sustainability factor, are annulled in the first block of the coalition government’s pension reform, which has been agreed with employers and unions.
Casado charges against the government’s “propaganda”
Briefly, Casado expressed his “respect for the decisions taken” by the businessmen but, afterwards, he assured that “the Government is making toxic use of the communication propaganda of all the agreements it wants to reach.” “A government has never been seen that conveys to the public opinion that there are agreements”, he added, “to take photos”, all this “without Parliament saying anything.” “The consensus emerges in Parliament. For three years there has been no dialogue with the opposition, what there has been is a swallow,” he complained.
Before Garamendi, the PP leader did not want to miss the opportunity to charge against the pardons to highlight his differences with the employer’s leader. Casado assured that his party is committed “to legal certainty, which is that the company is not expropriated from a businessman, even if the Soviet of the government in office considers that their activity is harmful.” “Legal certainty is also complying with the law and just as a businessman cannot change his tax system without going through Congress, a Spaniard cannot change his country without going through Congress,” he stressed.
“And just as a businessman has to pay the fine if there is a negative Treasury inspection and he is not pardoned, a criminal who has given a coup to the State in his own country is not pardoned against the sentencing court and Against 12 reports from the Prosecutor’s Office and the logic that he has not repented or complied with the Constitution, “he added. In his opinion, “this is a legal certainty that investors take into account”, because “if an investor sees that the law is not being complied with in Spain, the risk that his investment runs will probably be much greater”.
For Casado, “any legal or legal arbitrariness is listed on the stock market.” And he added that the “political decisions” of the Government “to remain in power also affect employers, the self-employed, workers and employment.”