Spain has entered an electoral year with the elections in Castilla y León on February 13 and Andalusia, still without a date, but surely before the end of the year. Two elections that can be a shock for Pablo Casado and the political right, which observes a strong bite from Vox in the polls. In addition, the PP insists on the idea that European funds are being distributed with little transparent criteria and has transmitted this to the EU leaders. A few weeks after a year has passed since the failed motion of censure in Murcia, which prompted the regional elections in the Community of Madrid, Aimar Bretos interviews the president of Murcia, in ‘Hora 25’.
The crisis over Ukraine
This is one of the most important state issues that will be raised in this legislature. I speak of all the political parties, of the autonomous communities, we must be with NATO, with the EU and with this issue we cannot be lukewarm or generate uncertainty.
I don’t know if it will serve to bring positions closer together, but I do believe that it can serve to give an image that society needs: when it comes to important issues, we prioritize the general interest. I think the PP and Pablo Casado are doing it. I also believe that the President of the Government is doing it, distancing himself from his Government partner.
The change of Health with the third dose
They have not yet been able to inform me of the reason for this change in criteria that plunges many people into uncertainty and doubt. It seems that we are lagging behind in the third doses and I think that the changes in criteria generate uncertainty in the population. I have the best of the concepts of politicians, but that decisions of this depth are made by politicians by their own conception seems to me to be a mistake. Decisions must be made according to science.
There are resources and if it is a pandemic there are all the public resources that are necessary. In the Region of Murcia, health resources have been provided based on the epidemiological need. Murcia has come to be in a new normal situation and the same number of toilets were not necessary. We give utility to the concept of COVID reinforcement. The more resources we have and the more that can be hired, the better. Those who have been needed have been hired. Precisely in the middle of the sixth wave, the Government establishes a COVID fund of zero euros for the Autonomous Communities. I do not understand that in 2021 there is a COVID fund and in 2022 there is not. We have had to do everything with our resources.
My position as president of the Region of Murcia is that funds be distributed without telling me why they don’t come here. That the criteria are not explained to us, that they appear to be arbitrary criteria, I think is quite detrimental for a region that is European.
339 million have arrived in Murcia, but they are conditioned funds, which have been distributed by sectoral conferences. They are funds that are directed to those actions established by the central government itself. The bulk of the ‘Next Generation’ funds, the projects presented by the Autonomous Communities, we know nothing about that. Of the PERTE we know nothing. These are the ones that give meaning to the backgrounds and about which we know nothing.
The little that has been distributed has been done with non-transparent criteria. I would like to emphasize that we are very late in the distribution of funds. That in 2023 they have to be committed and executed. We are going very late, an attempt was made to organize from the Moncloa economic office, then it has been passed on to the ministries. I myself wrote to Von der Leyen and he replied that it was the responsibility of the states. Funds are being distributed without objective criteria and it is going at a very slow speed. One of the concerns is our low level of execution of European funds.
Each generation has its desire. Montoro did what he could and now it’s up to others and suffer some consequences, some decisions that can be improved. The reality is that we cannot remain silent in the face of a distribution that is not being done correctly.
We have to rethink the objective distribution criteria. Let’s hope this changes. Going to court is the last resort. We believe that this is the last step that must be reached, we are in time to exercise the co-governance that has been talked about since the beginning of the pandemic. The criteria for distributing the conditioned funds are decided at the sectoral conferences. I speak of unconditional projects. Murcia has presented more than 1,000 projects. It is on this that we have to sit down with the Government and present a real co-governance. What I request is real co-governance and together we can decide the distribution criteria.
The situation of the Mar Menor
The Mar Menor that concerns us all will obviously see crystal clear waters. If you go to Mar Menos right now you will see crystal clear waters and we have the best parameters of the historical series. This happens because it is winter. Although today we see this as soon as the days lengthen we will return to trophic phenomena. It is necessary not to forget the Mar Menor. Vice President Ribera, whom I thank for her commitment, brought a project to pump the contaminated water that is falling down the boulevard and I hope that it can be resolved as soon as possible.
What the regional government has done is legislate to regulate the activity that generates nitrates and pollution. Now the problem is in the subsoil and it is coming out through the boulevards. There is no longer any agricultural discharge and what needs to be done is to cut this off with good drainage channels.
The failed motion of censure in Murcia
To be reborn you have to be dead and I’m telling you, far from it. All of Spain witnessed what happened, a legitimate maneuver, a fudge, but legitimate. In the worst of the pandemic. They did it with nocturnality and treachery. Something that was not justified and that was done out of ambition for power and exchange of power in the city council and ended as it had to end.
Govern with Vox
I have the parliamentary and government support of those who decided to comply with the 2019 agreement. They were very brave and I thank them. Regarding Minister Campuzano, she is not in that party and we are working on managing reality as best as possible.
I would really feel like if all the councilors were from the PP. In recent years we have applauded political pluralism and I applaud it. No one can say that I am imposing anything, I am dialoguing and reaching agreements to govern.
I have suffered in my flesh how when a government does not depend on the PP and instability is served. Both Juanma and the rest of the regional presidents have to demonstrate that the only way to ensure stable governments is for them to depend solely on the PP and we cannot risk anything else.
The frictions of the PP
They haven’t asked me. Casado is going to be the next Prime Minister and we will have him for a few legislatures. In the Region of Murcia they are all with the Casado project. Trying to generate friction, confrontations in the PP, can give revenue to the PSOE or other parties, even in the Government, but at the moment of truth it will be sterile. The PP has things clear and the president of the PP is Casado, it is the best project and if Casado is not president, Sánchez will be and that is worse for Spain.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.