Friday June 24 was a difficult day for the coalition government. Up to 37 people died in an action by the Moroccan gendarmerie trying to cross into Spanish territory through the Melilla fence that morning. During that afternoon and until late at night, the PSOE and United We Can were sitting at a negotiating table to close the measures for the extension of the so-called anti-crisis decree.
They did not succeed, and on Saturday morning, a few minutes before the Council of Ministers that had to approve the rule began, it was not clear that measures such as the 200 euro check for the most vulnerable families were going to come out.
Finally, an agreement was reached on the horn, and the decree included all the protection measures that United We Can and some partners of the Government, such as EH Bildu, had put on the table (reduction of the transport credit, the check, the rise of 15% of non-contributory pensions…).
Pedro Sánchez went to the press room at La Moncloa to give an account of the decree and to explain that, although finally the tax on the large electricity companies will not arrive until the beginning of next year, the Executive is convinced that these corporations should contribute more for their extraordinary benefits. “Those who obtain indirect profits from this price increase have to contribute additionally to the collective effort. We are a community, not a sum of individuals,” he said.
The extension of the anti-crisis plan was not another decree for the coalition government. Beyond the scope and coverage of its measures at a time of historical growth in prices and loss of purchasing power of citizens, it represented the first political action of the Executive after the failure of PSOE and United We Can (as well as the left in general) in the Andalusian elections, which seems to have confirmed the boom of the right that is currently being experienced.
But the impact on the political agenda of this rule and Sánchez’s message about the benefits of electricity companies were almost completely overshadowed by two words pronounced by the president. “well resolved“; This is how the leader of the Executive referred to the incident that ended with the death of 37 people at the Melilla fence after a Moroccan police action that, at least for now, is as controversial as it is opaque.
NATO will continue to be very present in the coming weeks
On Monday, the incident of the fence continued to be discussed, and the issue shared prominence with the other big topic of the week: the NATO summit held in Madrid. In this city, which has had one of the largest police deployments in history in recent days, Sánchez and Joe Biden agreed to reinforce the United States military presence in Spanish territory by equipping the Rota naval base (Cádiz) with more troops.
The reaction of the president (and also of the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska) to the massacre in Melilla and the agreements within NATO and with the United States to increase the defense budget and reinforce the presence of military personnel and weapons They have set off the alarms of United We Can.
In the confederal space they have kept a low profile during the celebration of the summit, which they did not attend, after warning the socialist part of the Executive that this conclave was essential for the country. However, NATO and what happened in Melilla seem to have diverted the roadmap that the Executive had planned to configure after the failure in the Andalusian elections.
In UP they consider that these two issues have managed to bury the impact of an anti-crisis decree that had been configured as a hallmark of the Government and as the main political response to the rise of the right and the extreme right verified in the last regional elections. On Monday, in the midst of controversy over what happened in Melilla and at the gates of the NATO summit, the second vice president of the Executive, Yolanda Diaztried to put the decree back on the first page of the political agenda.
In an event organized by the Ministry of Equality, Díaz recalled its importance and outlined some of its most relevant measures, but it was not successful. The NATO summit, moreover, is not going to stay in a week that can be closed for the coalition government to focus on other priorities.
This conclave has left two effects that will mark much of what remains of the year. The agreement between Sánchez and Biden to reinforce the US military presence in Rota has to go first to the Council of Ministers and then to Congress.
The parliamentary group of United We Can hold a meeting in the coming weeks to decide the meaning of their vote, although they have already made it clear that they do not like this pact and it is not in tune with the progressive agenda that became a priority after the Andalusian elections .
The vote is not in danger in the Lower House, since the PP, predictably, will support it and will add an absolute majority with the socialists. However, if UP or the parties of the investiture bloc (or perhaps both) decide not to support the agreement, an image may be produced of the PSOE voting in Congress with the conservatives and with the ultra-right of Vox, which could also decide to support it. .
Later, after the summer, NATO will continue to be very present. Those of Sánchez and those of Yolanda Díaz will sit down to negotiate the 2023 Budgets, the last of the legislature. In the confederal space they have the objective of making these accounts the finishing touch to a progressive political cycle that clearly bets on social measures that send a clear message to a demobilized left-wing electorate.
In these PGE, however, the PSOE will include the increase in military spending agreed within the Atlantic Alliance, an investment with which the UP does not agree. The so-called “progressive agenda” of the Executive faces more contradictions than ever a year before the general elections are held and in full swing of the right, and the government partners will wage a battle to mark the political sign of the final stretch of the legislature .