Thursday, July 29

The Government saves the decree of the end of the masks and holds its breath for that of the interim

The Government has saved the first of the two match balls with which it reached the, predictably, last plenary session in Congress before the holidays. The absolute majority of the Lower House has validated the decree law that put an end to the mandatory use of the mask, although the doubt remains about the one that tries to end the abuse of the temporary status of the interns in the Public Administration, and that it is approved after an agreement with the unions. Both norms depend on the support of parliamentary partners before the not announced by PP and Vox.

The Government closes a historic agreement with the unions to end the temporary status of interns

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Despite the doubts about the epidemiological data, very different today from when the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced the end of outdoor masks with the arrival of summer, most endorse the decree.

At the end of June, the incidence of the pandemic was at a minimum and the vaccination rhythm was agile, which made it possible to anticipate that the objective of closing August with 70% of the immunized population would be met. A month later, almost at the limit of the regulatory period for the validation of the royal decree, the situation is very different. The contagions have skyrocketed and the regional governments have implemented different mobility and leisure restrictions to try to contain what would be the fifth wave of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Some of these limitations have been validated by the different courts, but others have not.

In recent days, the debate about the mandatory nature of the mask has intensified. To the point that the lehendakari, Íñigo Urkullu, has sent a letter to Sánchez in which he suggests not only recovering that protection system, but the state of alarm itself to provide the autonomous communities with a legal mechanism that allows them to regulate restrictions in the absence of a unified doctrine, which in principle corresponded to the Supreme Court. But in the Executive they maintain that the communities have “margin” to implement measures that contain the expansion of the coronavirus.

The negotiations for this royal decree have been developed in recent days, they have continued this Tuesday and have lasted during the morning of Wednesday, when both face-to-face and telematic votes will be confirmed. In addition to the votes of PSOE and United We Can, those of EH Bildu, Ciudadanos and those of the Plural Group have been announced: PDeCAT, Más País and Compromís will support it, while Junts will abstain and the BNG will reject it.

The Yes of those of Inés Arrimadas, who have also reproached the PP for “confusing people”, has made ERC’s position no longer key. His spokesman, Gabriel Rufián, said on Tuesday that “if it is necessary to take steps backwards, they are taken” when the alternative is “to preserve the health of the people.” Finally, they have abstained. Nor has the PNV voted in favor. In fact, they have voted not.

The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has defended in the rostrum that it is not a question of “discussing whether a mask is yes or no” because “it is still mandatory, except in very specific cases.” And she has pointed out that it is “a prudent, limited decision and progressive ”and that“ has the support of scientific evidence ”.

Darias has recognized that the mask “has been one of our best resources to deal with infections in the absence of vaccines.” “But the vaccine index has made it possible to propose a progressive and limited reduction of some control measures,” he added. The Minister of Health has also said that the decision was adopted by indication of the Presentation of Alerts and Preparedness and Response Plans of the Interterritorial Council, which brings together health officials from the autonomous communities, the Ministry of Health itself and other organizations.

“The Spanish have behaved in an exemplary manner,” defended Darias, who insisted that the decree “only modifies one article” of the law and that “the rest is still in force.” “The images that we have seen of crowds without a mask have no legal protection or justification. They are unacceptable and we call for compliance with the norm ”, he concluded.

Interim: pending parliamentary processing

In the case of masks, the coalition government will vote together. The simple majority (plus Yes it is what It is not) It’s enough. And in case it is lost, the royal decree will decay, and it will return to the situation prior to June 26, which is what the Spaniards were used to. In fact, some communities have already announced that they will again require the use of a mask in their territories.

Much more tricky is the issue of interns, a rule intended to regularize tens of thousands of temporary workers in the Administration and make their jobs permanent. A measure agreed by the Executive with the unions, including some as little related to their positions as CSIF, and whose gestation has involved not only the former Minister of Public Function, Miquel Iceta, but even the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz. But there are associations that exclusively defend these interns who reject the wording of the norm and denounce their exclusion from the conversations, while warning that its implementation can leave many people without work.

Despite having the endorsement of the unions, the parliamentary allies pointed out this Tuesday that the royal decree would be rejected. But even at United We Can raise doubts the content of the royal decree to be defended by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, who assumed the competence of Public Function in the recent remodeling of the Government.

There are several groups that have denounced the absence of negotiation by the Treasury, who already saw how Congress rejected a royal decree in 2020 to allow municipalities to use their treasury remnants. So he had to redo the rule. And maybe the same thing happens to him now.

ERC spokesman Gabriel Rufián accused the Executive on Tuesday of continuing “to think that it has an absolute majority.” “It is an absolute myopia,” said Rufián, who with his 13 deputies is one of the keys to the government’s parliamentary majority, although almost all the extensions of the state of alarm were approved with his abstention, and even with his not.

“It looks very bad,” Rufián settled. An idea that other groups confirm. From EH Bildu, for example, late on Tuesday they were in the not. “If the decree remains as is and there are no changes, we will vote against it,” group sources told In this case, they are invading an invasion of competence, in addition to the content of the norm itself. And they settle: “Either these issues are resolved in advance with clear commitments to modify the Royal Decree during the process, or we will vote against.”

And that is the key: the parliamentary procedure. The royal decree can be validated by Congress and, in a second ballot, that it is approved to be processed as a bill, which would allow the groups to add amendments. The Government is always reluctant to these changes, because they imply reopening an already closed debate and, in this case, also agreed with the unions.

The call crossings at the last minute of Tuesday were happening because the PSOE did not get the accounts. Government sources assured that the negotiation “with the usual groups” was kept open, which left out the parliamentary right, which did not reveal its intentions. In fact, the PP did not call the usual press conference on Tuesdays, but offered some statements through TVE in format pool (usable by all means) not to give clues. As has happened before this legislature, the negotiation will be defined against the clock and at the last second.

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