Vitoria (EFE).- The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has announced measures worth €400 million to help citizens and businesses cope with the energy crisis in the coming months, a priority issue along with compliance with the Statute of Gernika.
The plenary session of General Policy this Friday that will determine the activity of the Basque Parliament it has served to test the willingness of the opposition parties to reach an agreement to deal with inflation and the escalation of energy prices.
Facing a scenario of uncertainty due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a pre-election environment eight months ahead of the municipal and regional elections in May, Urkullu has proposed lend the opposition a hand and sign key land deals in five areas: the 2023 budgets, strengthening primary care, the education pact, the demographic challenge and energy.
400 million in aid
To face the black scenario of a global crisis, it has announced a program of measures worth EUR 400 million that will serve to cover the basic needs of vulnerable groups, compensate for the loss of purchasing power of citizens and provide loans to viable companies that in a complicated situation.
It has also announced a new personal income tax deflation after the recently approved 4%, a 10% increase in social emergency aid (AES), subsidies to cover gas in social housing and the food sector, so that the price increase does not affect so many citizens .
He explains that this program will be financed with its own budgetary resources, with European resources and also with extraordinary resources for the tax surcharge on energy companies.
Following the aftermath of the pandemic, the Lehendakari has confirmed that Osakidetza’s workforce will be expanded, increasing temporary employment from 40% to 7% and strengthening primary care with 358 positions for general practitioners and health personnel.
These goals bordered on other historical aspirations of nationalism. Urkullu has not mentioned the pursuit of a new statute and has only demanded that the current one be completed.
To do this, it asks that a permanent commission be established between the central and Basque governments to ensure compliance. The PNV spokesman Joseba Egibar is blunt on this matter: the statute must be complied with “period”, he said.
The main opposition parties, for their part, have left the door open to reaching country agreements, but with nuances.
Bildu: well-being pact
EH Bildu spokeswoman Maddalen Iriarte has called for a “welfare pact” that includes tax reform that taxes those who have the most to achieve strong public services, measures to pay a “fair” price for energy and access to the house.
It has made it ugly that Urkullu is not betting on a new status, despite promising to hold a consultation on the issue in 2015 and stressing that many of the abertzale formation’s proposals on energy, housing, public services or taxes require sovereignty. “Did you throw in the towel?” he asked.
We can: Defense of the public
Elkarrekin Podemos-IU spokeswoman Miren Gorrotxategi is also in favor of reaching agreements for the defense of the public, negotiating with the major food distributors for affordable prices for consumers and for the establishment of a public energy company.
The leader of the purple formation has put the most basic needs of Basque citizens above self-government, which in her opinion should serve precisely to shield the public.
PP: Tax Reduction
Of the People’s Party, Carlos Iturgaiz has reached out to make a pact for next year’s budgets to cut taxes, reduce the number of senior positions in the Basque government, strengthen the health system and improve education.
He recalled that the population has always defended the “full and loyal development” of the Gernika statute and linked the discrepancies about the impending transfers to the interpretation of the statute by the PNV, which is “not the only possible one” nor is it “legitimate”. .
The only Vox MP, Amaia Martínez, has accused Urkullu of living in a “parallel reality”, having no empathy for the real problems of the Basques, offering “placebos” in the light of the current situation and if the doctor to be Jekyll and Mister Hyde since “some days it demands compliance with the statutes and land agreements and other days the Basque homeland”.
PNV and PSE invite to agree
The partners of the Basque government, PNV and PSE, who rule with a comfortable majority, have nevertheless invited the opposition to join the pacts in order to get the best out of the crisis.
The only criticism of the socialist leader Eneko Andueza was to remind him that the government of Pedro Sánchez has informed him in recent days that this is an auspicious time to design a new phase of negotiation on the pending transfers and that is why he sees the need not for “permanent complaint”. For the rest, he has said that his party is “reasonably satisfied” with the coalition government.
In response, the Lehendakari has valued the “good health” of the coalition government that provides “institutional stability to the country”. EFE
Written by Elena Puerta
Edited by Julian Black