The Government has been a monumental disappointment this Tuesday in the Senate and will have to wait a week to approve its second consecutive General State Budgets. The accounts will return to Congress after the PP supports an amendment that Compromís has presented at the proposal of the Chunta Aragonesista for the dissemination of the languages protected by the European Charter of regional or minority languages in the autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Euskadi , Navarra, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The initiative has also had the favorable vote of ERC and PNV. For a few days, the Executive of Mariano Rajoy will continue to be the last one that has managed to approve the public accounts two years in a row and on time. The former president of the PP Government achieved it with the 2015 and 2016 Budgets.
Now, the president of the Senate, Ander Gil, must inform the Congress, Meritxell Batet, to convene a plenary session next Tuesday, December 28, to debate that amendment exclusively, the amount of which is 1.6 million. “If it is not today, it will be in a few days. If this helps the PP to reconsider its policy of promoting co-official languages, welcome, ”said Pedro Sánchez after leaving the Senate without waiting for the result of the vote to be formally announced. The intention was that the result of the vote had been known before the start of the control session in the Upper House at four in the afternoon. “The problem here is that someone has not calculated that this could happen,” Javier Maroto said about the surprise that the Government has taken. The popular spokesman has assured that the amendment “respects the ideology and program” of his party after recalling that the 1992 European Charter for regional or minority languages has been supported by the PP “since it exists.” Maroto has stressed that the Letter “in no case” says that, for example, the bable “should be considered co-official.” “We do not support its co-officiality in Asturias”, has been blunt.
ERC has avoided any responsibility in the result of the vote and has justified its support for the amendment, which was already provided for in the PSOE. “We have respected the agreement we had with the government parties. It’s your Budgets, so the responsibility for the numbers was yours. In any case, and therefore the meaning of our vote on the amendment in question, any measure that protects languages seems good to us, as it cannot be otherwise ”, explained sources from the formation.
The Budgets will continue to go forward “in a timely manner”, as the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, likes to say. But it will no longer be the same. The faces of the members of the Government were of circumstances. The photo that everyone expected was not produced. Several ministers who had no questions in the Senate control session have left the Upper House without waiting for the result of the accounts, which was known after six thirty in the afternoon. Moncloa intended to take advantage of the control session in the Senate, with a plenary session of ministers, to celebrate with all the lights the green light for the 2022 Budgets.
The ministers did not hide their joy in the corridors upon their arrival after a vote in which none of the almost 4,000 amendments tabled was going to be accepted. If only one went ahead, as has happened, the accounts would be delayed a week to return to Congress for its final vote.
The disappointment of the Government is relative: in no case are the accounts in jeopardy after overcoming the key moment in mid-December: the vetoes, equivalent to the amendments to the whole. Beyond the setback caused by the PP with its support for the Compromís amendment – Senate sources point out that the PP previously positioned itself against him in the Budget committee – the fate of the Government depended on ERC not vetoing the accounts. In the end, the Republicans ended up also withdrawing their partial amendments to speed up the process after closing an agreement on the audiovisual law. Last year they already agreed with the Government not to present amendments in the Senate, as did the PNV and EH Bildu. An operation that has been repeated, but that has not been enough for it to be approved in compliance with the schedule that the Government intended.
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The PP, which has surprised everyone by delaying the approval of the accounts, has been very critical of the government’s economic forecasts and its decision not to incorporate any amendment. “These Budgets are a great deception in the macroeconomic picture. All international and national organizations show it. It is not surprising that the Bank of Spain has to change its growth forecasts ”, stated the popular spokesman, Francisco Javier Fragoso. The supervisory body has reduced its growth projection for this year by almost two points and leaves it at 4.5%, well below the 6.5% maintained by the Executive. “They preach us to pitch in and they won’t accept even one of our 2,125 amendments. They have not granted us a miserable rotondita ”, added the senator. “The income forecast is absolutely unreal”, has settled José Manuel Marín, from Vox.
The PP already tried on Thursday in the Budget committee, without success, to include the debate on several amendments to lower VAT on hairdressers in this Tuesday’s session. Its objective was to force the Government and its partners to take a picture, in addition to prolonging the approval of the Budgets as much as possible. The government, which was attentive to the play, vetoed them without delay at the end of the budget commission. But he did not see support coming for the amendment of regional and minority languages.
Like the PP, a large group of allies of the Executive has regretted that the Government refused to accept their amendments and those of the rest of the groups. “We cannot vote in favor of these Budgets, which we consider insufficient. They have not been the slightest courtesy to explain why they have not accepted any of our amendments. They despise this Chamber ”, has reproached Carles Mulet, from Compromís, who was one of the most surprised by the support of the PP. “We would have liked to add other items, unfortunately neither those of my group nor those of anyone will be approved, so we will have to ask ourselves: how does society perceive us, what is the Senate for?”, Has observed José Miguel Fernández (PRC), which nevertheless voted in favor of the accounts. The same as More Madrid. “We are aware that we have a senator, but we demand honesty from them. With their strategy they delegitimize the legislative branch. There will be a day, ladies and gentlemen of the PSOE, when they will return to the opposition and will not have the slightest moral authority to demand that the majority accept their proposals ”, their representative, Pablo Gómez Perpinyá, has warned.
Geroa Bai has withdrawn its amendments after reaching an agreement with the Government in exchange for various measures, such as a robotization center in Navarra. “I am aware that, with this support, in some way we contribute to the dismissal of the Senate,” agreed its senator, Koldo Urionabarrenetxea, who still recalled that they were warned of what was going to happen: “We had the experience of last year , in which the groups that supported the Budgets in Congress told us that they were not going to accept amendments in the Senate ”. A few words confirmed by government and party sources that assumed the conditions. “The amendments are legal demands that we will have time to face,” the socialist Gonzalo Palacín was conciliatory. The plenary session was in its early stages and the PSOE was already with its head on the 2023 Budgets. Meanwhile, the PP was preparing to spoil the party for the Government. Even if only for a week.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.