The fronts accumulate to Isabel Díaz Ayuso. The president of Madrid, who maintains a very tough fight with Pablo Casado for control of the PP in Madrid, burst into the debate on regional financing this Friday, causing the anger of the communities most affected by depopulation. “Forgotten Spain will not have opportunities until all the autonomous communities lower taxes and support their companies. And there will be no future throwing the Spaniards out of their land for linguistic reasons, without birth plans, expelling institutions such as the Civil Guard and attacking the capital of the country and then copying many of their policies, “he said after visiting a farm of cattle in Colmenar Viejo, a town of 50,000 inhabitants 40 kilometers from Madrid.
The reaction of the Government and the socialist communities did not wait while the autonomic executives of the PP strove to avoid a direct clash with the president of Madrid. “I do not know what is the interest of Díaz Ayuso with these strident statements that also fall within the scope of the competition and the work of other regional presidents,” said the Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, at the end of a meeting in which prepared with representatives of all the communities, except Euskadi, the Conference of Presidents in January on the island of La Palma. “They deserve the same respect as her and I should treat them with that same respect. They are not only regional presidents, they are people who live in other parts of Spain and claim to be able to live better, have access to basic services with legitimacy and with greater respect than that shown by the president of the Community of Madrid “, added the spokesperson of the Government. “It is a fight, it has specialized in the fight. I do not know who he will refer to with the language, unless he does it to Galicia and looks for a problem with Alberto Núñez Feijóo ”, the vice president of Extremadura, Pilar Blanco-Morales, was indignant in statements to EL PAÍS. “Reforms such as financing cannot be approached with such frivolous positions,” he added.
Diaz Ayuso’s statements were not new. On Wednesday, one day after the summit, the eight communities most affected by the loss of inhabitants —Aragón, Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and La Rioja by the PSOE, Galicia and Castilla y León by the PP and Cantabria (PRC ) – held in Santiago de Compostela, it was already pronounced in the same terms through a tweet.
The eight barons of depopulated Spain, who govern 62% of the country’s surface, in which 11.5 million (25%) of the 47 million Spaniards reside, claim that the current financing model, pending of renew since 2014, recognize through more funds the real cost of services due to the aging of the population, its geographical dispersion and the orography compared to the criterion of the number of inhabitants of the most populated autonomous regions. A debate between blocks – Andalusia and Murcia (PP) and the Valencian Community (PSOE), the most under-financed according to different reports, have brought positions closer together – in which Madrid seems to have run out of allies. The common regional financing system does not affect the Basque Country and Navarra. The independence government of ERC and Junts in Catalonia is not an option. The Canary Islands have a differentiated tax treatment due to their overseas status, and the Balearic Islands are more aligned with the Mediterranean communities.
Discomfort in the PP
The words of Díaz Ayuso were received with amazement in the PP. “We do not feel alluded to,” assured sources from the Junta de Castilla y León, who avoided making further comments. The Xunta de Galicia opted for irony. “From Madrid, things are sometimes seen differently,” declared a senior official from Núñez Feijóo’s Executive. Sources of the PP in Madrid, which Díaz Ayuso aspires to preside as the rest of the barons already do in their territories, distanced themselves from the strategy followed by the president.
Faced with the uncomfortable silences in the PP, other communities of the PSOE did make their discomfort explicit. The vice president of Asturias, Juan Cofiño, who represented the Principality at the Territorial Policy headquarters, understands that Díaz Ayuso’s position regarding the problem of depopulation “destroys instead of trying to fix territorial problems.” Several of the councilors who attended the preparatory committee for the next Conference of Presidents highlighted how Madrid, which in 2022 aspires to become the first community without its own taxes – it is already the only one that does not tax Heritage, and grants a 99% discount on Successions and Donations – He asked the Government to maintain autonomous funds like last year in a non-refundable fund so that communities could cope with the costs of the covid with more resources. “It is contradictory,” summarized the Asturian vice president. “The debate can not be to raise or lower taxes but what resources we need to maintain health, education or dependency,” said his counterpart from Extremadura.
Castilla-La Mancha, the other community next to Extremadura where the Socialists rule with an absolute majority, also charged Diaz Ayuso. “The only party that expelled the Civil Guard from the rural world was the PP cutting 10,000 troops with Mariano Rajoy,” Sergio Gutiérrez, national deputy and secretary of the PSOE regional organization, recalled on social networks. The National Police lost 9.9% of its personnel and the Civil Guard 6.4% during the Rajoy presidency – it lost it in the motion of no confidence in June 2018 – until the end of 2016. The police force exceeded 72,457 to 65,287 in that period (7,170 unfilled places). In the case of the armed institute, the vacancies were 5,265, after decreasing from 82,692 to 77,427 members. Castilla-La Mancha, where María Dolores de Cospedal ruled between 2011 and 2015, was the region where, as a percentage, more personnel were not replaced (16.2%), with 271 fewer agents. “The only linguistic reason was not to teach language in the 70 schools closed by Cospedal,” Gutiérrez added.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.