Months before knowing if the the general state budget would be approved, Pedro Sánchez already assured that the legislature would be long. Now that he has received support after the multiple agreements with the investiture block, the president of the Spanish government looks even further ahead and talks about five years, or decades. "The golden age is in the making. The best thing in our history is in the future", said Sánchez, concluding an appearance from Ferraz's headquarters in which he praised the past, present and future role of the PSOE. The socialist secretary general chose to make on Saturday, after a key week in which he collected the necessary votes for the budget, a grandiloquent speech to try to deactivate a PP that in recent days has been dedicated to warning that, when it returns to government, it will reverse the new education law and do what it can to prevent the fiscal harmonization promised by the Spanish government.
"Budgets are the best vaccine against the virus of unemployment and lack of growth", said Sanchez, who reiterated that the numbers include the largest investment in history. The PSOE leader has not made explicit reference to the groups that will support the accounts - mainly PNB, Esquerra and EH Bildu - nor to those who have got off the train, such as Cs. He has not even mentioned the PP, despite the implicit darts he has thrown when he has criticized the fact that the opposition has tried to derail the government in a pandemic context. "We want our right wing to be civil, European, and not wild and trumpist like we are unfortunately seeing. We want to reduce the picture of Columbus to the minimum expression. We welcome with open arms those who abandon the front of hatred and exclusion", he said almost at the end of his speech, inviting Inés Arrimadas to join him even though she does not support the budget.
The president of Cs criticized the Spanish president on Thursday to justify her position, and she did so again on Saturday in an open intervention before the party's regional coordinators. Arrimadas criticized Sanchez for "preferring to please Otegi than the Spanish workers, and Junqueras before the SMEs of our country". "Instead of the moderate way, [he has chosen] the way of favoring ETA prisoners and the prisoners of the independence bid" she lamented. However, the former leader of the opposition in Catalunya wanted to make it clear from the outset that her organisation has made and will continue to make a "responsible opposition", thus taking up the gauntlet of the Spanish president.
Emphasis on progressive measures
During his speech, which lasted about 45 minutes, Sanchez explained some of the investments that the accounts are expected to make. He emphasized public education and health as tools for equal opportunities and highlighted measures implemented such as raising the minimum inter-professional salary, creating the Minimum Living Income, or updating the salary of civil servants. "PSOE's legislatures are not counted in months or years, but in the rights that we conquer", said the socialist leader, who stressed that his political organization "is the one that most resembles Spain". Sánchez stressed the more progressive and left-wing side, at a time when the second vice-president, Pablo Iglesias, has managed to appropriate triumphs such as the regulation of rental prices and the extension of the ban on evictions.
"All the answers mean something. The economy offers several alternatives and we choose the progressive one, according to our values. Socialists cannot return to a normality that is unfair to workers; we cannot return to a system where opportunities are won at an auction. All we need is a fair outcome, where the most vulnerable do not lose out", he said. Sánchez did not ignore the debate on Madrid's fiscal dumping: "We are calling for similar fiscal efforts to provide the public services we want to provide. We recognise the same social rights for all Spaniards, wherever they live. And that is why we demand the same fiscal efforts from them, wherever they live", he added.
In his appearance, he emphasized the European funds that will be coming to Spain over the next six years and predicted that 2023 will end with "more solid growth, better quality work and more social justice". "Today we have the opportunity to break with that unacceptable inertia", he stressed in relation to the austerity imposed after the crisis a decade ago. Sanchez reiterated the four main axes of the new plans: ecological transition, digitalization of the economy, territorial balance, and feminism.
This Christmas, "let's give away security"
Beyond the political movement, Sanchez also wanted to launch a message from the health perspective, a few weeks before the Christmas holidays. The leader of the Spanish executive has welcomed the fact that the infection rate is falling, but has warned of a third "critical" stage in the coming months that will coincide with the start of the vaccination procedure. In this regard, he stressed the need to reach a cumulative incidence of 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, well below the current more than 300, so he called citizens to not lower their guard. That is why he has asked that, this Christmas, citizens "put health care first". "Let's give away security", Sanchez has claimed.