It is not being as easy as Moncloa believed last week after winning 188 votes for the General State Budget. Five days after that victory in Congress, ERC threatened to torpedo the public accounts in the Senate. The reason? The Government’s recognition that the General Law of Audiovisual Communication would not oblige platforms such as Netflix or HBO to reserve 6% of their production to the co-official languages, as it had promised to the Catalan Republicans in exchange for their ‘yes’. Faced with such anger, there were numerous technical contacts between the cabinets throughout Wednesday and a meeting in which members of the Government, the Generalitat and ERC participated to address a formula that satisfies the group led by Gabriel Rufián. Almost in parallel, the PSOE has to prop up the PNV after the blow to the table that it gave in the budget negotiation, which has not yet been closed.
The three words that dynamited the agreement between the Government and ERC for the Catalan quota on Netflix
ERC’s rejection of the audiovisual law in the terms in which it came out of the Council of Ministers this Tuesday and, above all, the threat of complicating the approval of the public accounts for 2022 forced the Government to sit down again with the Republicans. In addition to the contacts on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, they did so formally by videoconference in a meeting that lasted almost three hours in which, among others, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños; the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero; the socialist spokesman, Héctor Gómez; and the number two of the PSOE, Adriana Lastra; and on the other side Rufián; the party’s spokesperson, Marta Vilalta; Josep María Llové and the Secretary of Communications, Oriol Duran. The great absence has been that of the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, who is responsible for audiovisual law and with whom ERC has a tense relationship.
The objective of the meeting was, for ERC, to find a way to oblige all digital platforms by law to offer 6% of their content in Catalan, Basque or Galician. The regulation approved by the Council of Ministers contemplates this option for those companies based in Spain –such as Filmin, Movistar + or Atresplayer–, but not for those that operate from third countries. The controversy stems from the different reading that Moncloa and ERC make of the European directive that regulates audiovisual content. The Government shields itself in article 13.1 of that community text to defend that it cannot impose quotas on platforms that are not based in Spain – despite the fact that it had confirmed that these were the terms of the agreement reached with ERC – while the Republicans maintain that this argument is “false” and they stick to section 13.2 of that same document. And that misunderstanding is what they intend to unravel in order to reach -again- an understanding that translates into an agreed amendment to the audiovisual law.
Republican sources suggest that they have formally transferred to the Socialists their disagreement with the text approved by the Council of Ministers and that they have begun to continue talking to find a solution that “shields Catalan.” The objective of ERC is to “improve” the law in the amendment process, something for which they need the support of the PSOE and United We Can. If they don’t get it, which Republicans don’t rule out, their response would be to withdraw support for the law. But the commitment that the two parties reached at this Wednesday’s meeting is to continue negotiating until an agreement is reached, with the deadline of December 19 imposed by Europe to approve the law, although government sources pointed out this Tuesday that it could be delayed. .
“What there is is an agreement that in the next few days we are going to agree on a law in which we are both comfortable,” says one of the socialists present at the meeting: “We have agreed to continue talking and reach an agreement in the next days”. Socialist sources maintain that there is room to reach an understanding and now they will have to find the formula with the Calviño department. What they are clear about is that they need ERC in the equation, just as they promised. “They know that we comply with our agreements and this time it will also be like that,” Lastra said early on Wednesday morning.
“We have to continue working and be able to agree on an audiovisual law that has as a shared objective between this political formation and the Government of Spain the need to respect and protect the co-official languages. However, we have to do so while respecting European regulations and , therefore, being able to reconcile that political will to respect languages with the requirements that are set by the directives themselves and the standards that are set by the EU. I trust that I will be able to reach an agreement very shortly “, he had expressed Montero before the meeting.
Attention to the PNV, which claims its influence in Madrid
The unexpected front of ERC for the Government – which maintains that the Republicans knew the terms in which the law was going to be approved – has added to the disagreement that the PNV had announced last week in the final stretch of the budget negotiation. Government and PSOE want to make it clear that it continues to be their “priority partner” after the various agreements with other formations made that, unlike other key votes such as the investiture, the Basque nationalists were not essential. After the announcement of the ‘yes’ to the public accounts of 2022 by ERC and especially EH Bildu, the training jeltzale It was noted by making it clear that it still did not have a closed agreement with the Executive, although it had no practical effect because they voted in favor of the project in Congress under the premise that they would continue negotiating during the Senate process. With this panorama, the leadership of the PSOE is used to fund to take care of the PNV.
The announcement by the spokesman in Congress, Aitor Esteban, that there were pending fringes in the negotiation surprised the Government, which has always had its preferred allies in the Basque nationalists. Finance sources assured then that the PNV was the first with which the budget negotiation was approached and they assumed that everything was closed. As soon as she announced that this was not the case and that the talks would be delayed during the proceedings in the Upper House, Minister María Jesús Montero publicly assured that the Basque nationalists are the “preferred partner” of the coalition.
Ferraz wants to let you know and that is why the Secretary of Organization, Santos Cerdán, and the parliamentary spokesman, Héctor Gómez, will hold a meeting with the party’s leader, Andoni Ortuzar, and Esteban this Thursday. On the table will be the demands that the PNV keeps alive in the face of budget negotiation -mainly “definitively channeling” the burying of the AVE tracks in Bilbao-, but socialist sources frame the meeting in the normality of relations between both parties – that govern in coalition in Euskadi–. “There is no particular issue,” say the sources consulted.
The truth is that the meeting occurs coinciding with the budgetary disagreement and the interpretation that EH Bildu is gaining weight in the dialogue with the Government in Madrid. “It is surprising that on the part of the nationalist left, after saying for decades that we were traitors and sold ourselves for a plate of lentils, they now conclude that the PNV was right about what had to be done in Parliament. It has cost them decades and much suffering, “said Esteban, who denied that the Basque nationalists were” upset “by the relationship between socialists and EH Bildu. “Everyone plays their cards,” he settled in that press conference in which his phone rang and it was the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños.
“We are influential in Madrid. Now we are told that we are losing influence. What more would they like! No, no, you will see how not,” Ortuzar told his followers in the General Assembly. “There we have some and others making supposed accounts of pacts and alternatives to two, three and eight years ahead. How much they care about what happens in the country today! What a generous vision of the country!”, Added the leader of the PNV in reference to the “game of thrones” of the parties that intend to ally to oust the PNV from power in Euskadi.