The budget agreement with ERC and Bildu leads Citizens to vote no | Spain

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The leader of Citizens, Inés Arrimadas, ruled out this Thursday supporting the budgets for 2021 agreed between the Government of the PSOE and United We Can with PNV, ERC and Bildu. Arrimadas solved the enigma of these weeks by pointing again to President Pedro Sánchez, whom he accused of having chosen at the end "the radicalism of Oriol Junqueras and Arnaldo Otegi" in front of his "more focused and moderate" offer. Next week the thesis tried by a sector of the Executive of the variable budget geometry will not prosper. Podemos wanted to point out that goal: the accounts will be more to the left.

In the last session of the Budget Committee to address the 3,793 partial amendments presented to the budgets, this Thursday morning, after three marathon days of work and voting, the president, Pilar Garrido, did not plan to allow another vote, definitive and that includes all the previous ones. He wanted to end the counts and solve that cumbersome process but in the end he gave in, he voted, the parties were portrayed and the overall opinion of the amendments will arrive next week in plenary session thanks to that prior approval with 19 votes in favor (the progressive majority of the Government with PNV and ERC), 11 against (PP, Vox and Ciudadanos) and a preventive abstention (EH Bildu expected that in the afternoon its bases would ratify the support electronically, as they finally did). The result of that final vote anticipates, with slight nuances, what will happen next Thursday in plenary session when the entire project is voted on.

In this scenario, finally, Ciudadanos was compelled to fix a position without waiting any longer. The deputy spokesman, Edmundo Bal, intervened in the commission itself to regret that the work carried out in these previous days to reach a consensus on some improvements to the public accounts had not served to convince the PSOE to forget about ERC and Bildu and turn to the center . Bal made it clear in the committee that his group will not endorse the accounts in plenary session.

The leader of the formation, Inés Arrimadas, wanted to appear to further highlight the political arguments for that rejection. "All Spaniards see that Sánchez has preferred to take the hand of Otegi and Junqueras than that of a moderate party," he summarized in reference to the leaders of ERC and Bildu. The leader of Ciudadanos recognized as "unlikely" and "very complicated" that this coming week President Sánchez rectifies and reconsiders his alliances. "Sánchez has voluntarily chosen the path of ERC and Bildu, and all Spaniards, and many members of the Government, the PSOE and socialist militants have seen it," he said.

Arrimadas remarked that his party has been useful in this multi-party negotiation, that "he had not fallen asleep like others or waiting for Spain to sink to make votes profitable", in respective allusions to Vox and PP, and that he had made contributions to the project , such as the withdrawal of the diesel tax. But he considered that all this is insufficient to lend his 10 seats to this Budget that he described as "bad" and that crosses "orange lines" such as the suppression of Spanish as a vehicular language in Catalonia. For these reasons, according to Arrimadas, Ciudadanos cannot allow themselves in this case to remain in abstention to distance themselves from the block of no that will vote PP and Vox, something in which they have been especially committed since he relieved Albert Rivera in the leadership of their training last spring.

Arrimadas stressed that he is not concerned about this circumstantial alignment with the right and the extreme right because he thinks that his message has already penetrated the population enough that now there really were two alternative routes and that Sánchez is responsible for deciding the State's accounts for next year, which will be marked by the continuity of the crisis caused by the pandemic.

The Cs leader insisted a lot on trying to show that if Sánchez had chosen to close the budgets with his training, instead of with ERC and Bildu, a more focused and moderate alternative could have been built and set the example of what happened in the vote on May 20 of the fifth extension of the state of alarm. That vote went ahead by a very small margin, 177 votes in favor, 162 against and 11 abstentions, among other things because the PP already went to the no side with Vox, Compromís, the CUP, JuntsxCat and ERC. And Bildu, UPN, BNG and a sovereign from ERC lined up in the abstention. The majority that carried out that extension was formed with the PSOE, United We Can, Cs, PNV, More Country, Canary Coalition, the Regionalist Party of Cantabria and Teruel Existe.

Arrimadas pointed out that that panorama could be repeated next week before the plenary session, with the 165 seats of the PSOE, United We Can and Citizens, plus the sum of the PNV (six) and reach an absolute majority of 176 taking for granted support from minority forces such as the two deputies from Más País, one from PRC, one from CC or Nueva Canarias, and one from Teruel Existe. That projection has not even been surveyed. The Arrimadas environment recalls that Cristóbal Montoro's budgets extended from 2018 were approved with PNV and Ciudadanos.

The role of Podemos

The prominence of the day was monopolized this Thursday in the Citizens' Congress, but in Unidos Podemos they did not want to lose track of the result of this complicated budget negotiation. To make their situation profitable within the Government, several leaders of United We can boast of their strength in this process, to present themselves as those responsible for ending "austericide" with these accounts and the budget cuts extended from the time of the Governments of the PP and Cristóbal Montoro.

But also, as did Jaume Asens, from En Comú Podem, to question the value of the improvements that Cs wanted to point out: “Podemos is now in the Government as a differentiating element from the failure of the previous budgets and as a stabilizing force, and the failure foreseeable from Ciudadanos is a warning to navigators before those who concocted with variable geometry: the only stability for the legislature is that of the investiture partners ”. Asens did not specify if that notice was against the PSOE and a sector of La Moncloa and the Executive that had insisted on leaving the door open to negotiate with Cs due to their distrust of the formation led by Pablo Iglesias.

Between 300 and 500 million for members

The budgetary partners of the Government, PNV, ERC and EH Bildu, ended the intense day of this Thursday in Congress breaking down their partial amendments to assess the result of the negotiation. Some of those parties admit that the budget for 2021 is expansive, but also limited given the uncertainty of the looming crisis. The PNV, always a priority ally, presented 85 amendments and passed the filter of 45. The most symbolic is the cession of the Loyola barracks for urban uses, but it will be an exchange and it is not quantified. The rest would add 121 million, not counting the 250 a year that is calculated will involve the withdrawal of the diesel tax.

Among the seven amendments accepted to Bildu there are none of political content but 67 million in investments and technological plans, aeronautics, 48 ​​railway infrastructures and others for marshes, the Navarrese rural Pyrenees or the Velate highway. In ERC there are sources that estimate the amount added to the budget at 100 million and others at 300.

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