Along with Cuca Gamarra, general secretary of the national PP, the Minister of Finance and European Financing of the Andalusian Government, Juan Bravo Baena (Palma de Mallorca, 1974), is the only Casadista who has survived in the new leadership of the party. Bravo is a tax agent converted into a leader of the PP of national projection. He was secretary of the Economy and Finance area in Pablo Casado’s executive and the new president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has promoted him by appointing him one of the five deputy secretaries, that of the economic branch.
Feijóo has two members of the Government of Juan Manuel Moreno in the hard core of the PP, thus consolidating the weight of Andalusia in the new direction of the party. The dome of the popular is a balance of territorial power between Galicians, Andalusians and Madrid. By entrusting Bravo with the design of the economic policy of the new PP, Feijóo is betting on “continuity” in Casado’s roadmap, as opposed to the rupture of the discourse and strategy of his predecessor in other areas.
The reduction of taxes as a systematic resource to activate consumption, win taxpayers and improve the income of the public coffers is in the ideological frontispiece of the PP. Bravo is an orthodox liberal who has taken this thesis to the limit, given that the fiscal margin of Andalusia is much smaller than that of Madrid, for example, which has a per capita income five times higher.
The person in charge of the Andalusian public coffers is obsessed with fiscal consolidation, zero deficit and budget balance. He is the author of the concept “generational selfishness”, which Pablo Casado coined in Congress to denounce “a welfare state very focused on paying pensions”. “Generational selfishness is that we have to make efforts, that we should not spend what we do not have. It is a concept that is linked to that of intergenerational justice”, he explained in an interview with eldiario.es.
“It means that we are generating public debt and crazy public spending that our children will inherit. The parents work to leave the best conditions to their descendants and right now we are going to leave them a public debt of 125%. That must be returned, and that subtracts resources from those who come later. There we must have the security of doing things well today thinking about tomorrow, even if they are sacrifices”, the counselor abounds.
The appointment of Bravo as deputy secretary of Economy and Finance of the PP has two political readings with two axes separated from each other by 500 kilometers: together with Elías Bendodo, spokesman councilor of the Board and new general coordinator of the national PP, they are the strong men of Moreno in the direction of Feijóo. They were already in his cabinet, where his colleagues have felt friction between the two when the pulse between the Casado leadership and the Andalusian PP became more evident. Now they are called to understand each other and live together in the same organic team, with Bendodo one step above Bravo.
The other reading is internal: Bravo is responsible for the Andalusian public accounts, who must design the Autonomous Budgets for next year, which are currently extended. The Treasury Minister has negotiated the first three Andalusian budgets with his government partner, Ciudadanos, and with his legislature partner, Vox.
A skilled negotiator with a dialogue profile, he has never encountered the difficulty of other cabinet colleagues in getting along with Santiago Abascal’s, with whom they have many coincidences in economic matters. “The voters of Vox are the voters of the PP, in the end the political profile of each party is set by its leaders and its priorities, and here we have been able to understand each other reasonably,” he explains when asked about the possibility that the extreme right enters the next Executive of Moreno Bonilla.
The fourth Andalusian Budget of the legislature was not possible to negotiate, because Vox changed its strategy, placed itself on the electoral track, and last November presented an amendment to the totality that would end up knocking down this year’s accounts, with 43,800 million euros [las izquierdas también presentaron sendas enmiendas y el Ejecutivo de Moreno se quedó en minoría].
Bravo now joins the noble floor of Genoa 13, headquarters of the national PP, but his commitments in Andalusian politics are now as pressing or more than those of Bendodo. The Minister of the Treasury plans to start the preliminary design of next year’s Budget in May, with the unknown election date. Bravo has confessed to the Andalusian president that he prefers the Andalusians in the month of June, to be able to balance the accounts and that they leave Parliament approved before the end of the year. It is one of the variables that Moreno manages, but it is not the only one or the one with the greatest weight. “The extended accounts are good, the coffers are full and the European funds can be defined on the fly”, explain sources from the Ministry of Finance.
Of course, the approval of the Andalusian Budget is the greatest symptom of political stability and one of the flags of the Moreno Government. Paying attention to Bravo would imply dissolving Parliament just after Easter to convene the regional elections in mid-June. If the PP, as expected in the Palacio de San Telmo, achieved a loose majority and without serious mortgages with other formations -read Vox-, the new Government could be constituted in the summer and in parallel the accounts for next year would be worked out. The preliminary draft of the Budget Law must be approved by the Governing Council before October 31.
If, on the contrary, the Andalusian president maintains his idea of exhausting the mandate and convening “in the fall”, as has been ratified these days, Andalusia would not have a new Budget until March 2023, although the Treasury admits that “it would not be a drama”.