PNV, profitable loyalty under the storm

The noise never worked. Even less in politics. In recent weeks the decibels of some institutional forums have risen to the unbearable. While Casado’s opposition raises the tone for the erosion of the Sánchez and Iglesias government, the Executive does the same to fatten the most extreme right and thus weaken the PP. And in the middle, some investiture allies work dodging insults, pulses and voices to continue advancing in their particular ‘road map’.

The PNV has done it this week. His appeals from the gallery of the Council of Deputies to dialogue, moderation and the exercise of negotiation do not seem to be received. The political climate on fire does not stop but even so, revenues can be obtained. The PNV knows it well. In the storm and in the calm one must know how to play his cards. Now the nationalists occupy the side related to the Government and that is why it is time to reduce criticism and squeeze the negotiation.

In these times when the health crisis is skyrocketing and the economic crisis continues to worsen, it is urgent to shield the same. For now, the training of Andoni Ortuzar has already succeeded in getting the Government to update the calendar for the transfer of almost thirty competencies to the Basque Country, including prisons and the economic regime of Social Security. The first for before March, the second for 2022. They will be joined by another ten competitions before spring and 17 before the autumn of next year, until the full development of the 1979 Gernika Statute is completed.

It is not the only achievement that the formation has reached while the intersection of knives in national politics does not stop growing. This week its spokesperson in Congress, Aitor Esteban, has met with the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, to learn about the axes of the budget that Sánchez wants to approve and the PNV is willing to facilitate. A project of accounts whose exit the Basque formation considers essential to avoid a mortal wound to the Government and a possible electoral repetition. Your six affirmative votes are almost assured in the absence of fringes. This next week the contacts will continue, but his spokesman in the Lower House has already advanced that the agreement is in the absence of working on “some detail.” This time there will be no high demands or uncomfortable commitments, the PNV will be satisfied with ensuring adequate orientation of the accounts and that previous commitments still pending are fulfilled.

Absence of reproaches and criticism

The question of competence was a prior premise and the social orientation and the impulse to the economy of the budgets has been established by the PNV as an obligation to face the crisis. In Euskadi to speak of economy is to speak of Industry, the true engine of its activity and to which the PNV wants to breathe oxygen, also through the general state budgets.

The Government of Pedro Sánchez also has on the table the list of up to 66 projects that the Basque Government has sent it to receive financing from European reconstruction funds. In them appear proposals worth more than 11,000 million. These are structural and essential actions for the Basque Country such as the access works for the High Speed ​​Train to Bilbao and Vitoria, investments for tractor projects in the energy or artificial intelligence field or advances in the field of clean energy. To a large extent, it will be in the hands of President Sánchez the choice of the priority projects to be financed in Spain and it does not seem that those transferred by the PNV and PSE Government will be very relegated.

The PNV’s loyalty to Sánchez has long been translated into the absence of reproaches and criticism. They are hardly heard in the interventions of their leaders. And when there have been, like the ones Esteban did in Congress for recourse to the State of Alarm in Madrid for “an artificial conflict” he distributed them between socialists and popular. In this matter he did leave a red line marked in the form of a warning, resorting to the recentralization of competencies protected in the fight against the virus is something “unjustified” that his party will not accept in any case.

Loyalty to Sánchez, ignore Iglesias

Nor has the praise of the government erupted with force. The support is expressed from Sabin Etxea more in criticism of the PP than in express endorsements of Moncloa’s policies and actions. What happened with the controversial proposal of the PSOE and United We Can to modify the reform law of the General Council of the Judiciary is a faithful reflection of this.

The history of the PNV teaches that in politics the doors and windows should never be completely closed, lest the change of ally has to be precipitated. On Wednesday, in a note, the PNV assured that it did not consider it appropriate to “modify the laws” to modify the majorities. He even stressed that the requirement of a 3/5 support from the Chamber for the renewal of its members was not a sufficient guarantee of depoliticization but at least makes it possible to a greater extent “the search for consensus.” All of them statements that revealed the true opinion of the party and that only for the sake of harm reduction he backed into a corner to come to Sánchez’s rescue if necessary. If the PP persisted in its blockade, the PNV assured, altering the law “could promptly” be an acceptable way to renew the CGPJ.

Nationalist loyalty is actually for only one of the Government’s partners. United We Can and its leader are not devotional saints in Sabin Etxea, too unpredictable. The PNV has come to belittle Vice President Iglesias, assuring that his weight in the Executive is devalued and his decision-making capacity weakened. “We negotiate with the minister,” the party has been in charge of recalling the attempts to negotiate the budgets of the second vice president. Not in vain, the relationship between Podemos and the PNV is not going through good times in Euskadi, where the leadership has engaged its political action in a kind of sanitary cordon towards the PNV.

Iron tuning in the Basque Country

With the other partner of Moncloa, on the other hand, the main institutions in Euskadi govern. The PSE and the Urkullu nationalists have long shared more than Ajuria Enea. The growing harmony between the two parties has led the formation of Idoia Mendia to advance in positions such as self-government or prison policy more typical of the PNV. The absolute majority that they now hold in the Basque Parliament has become the pillar and guarantee of the Government in the coming years in which, if the agreement with Sánchez is fulfilled, the Urkullu-Mendia Government will have to be managing the three Basque prisons next year and the economic regime of Social Security before May 2022.

The real litmus test for their understanding will come in the Chamber of Vitoria, where a proposal for an articulated new Basque statute only partially agreed between the two awaits debate. The so-called new Basque status seems doomed for now to the bottom of the priorities. The deep economic and health crisis that will condition the first half of the legislature has already revealed that this will not be one of the emergencies either for the Government or for the formations that support it.

A PNV that has been addressing the internal renewal process since last week that will conclude with the re-election of Andoni Ortuzar at the head of the party for another term, the third. The two rounds of candidacies start from the renewal of all territorial directorates and the statutes will conclude in the National Assembly scheduled for December 12 and 13.

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