6 November 2021
The Minister of the Presidency highlights the change that he believes has been evidenced in Catalonia with the Government’s policy of dialogue
The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, considers that “the sovereignty procés is finished” and thanks to this the “stage of solutions” is opening in Catalonia with an “institutional” and collaborative relationship between both governments and “that is going through by the constitutional order”.
Bolaños highlights the change that he believes has been evidenced in Catalonia with the government’s policy of dialogue, in an interview with Efe in which he is also convinced that the coalition that supports the Executive of Pedro Sánchez will not be broken and will reach the end of the legislature despite clashes with Unidas Podemos on issues such as labor reform.
For the head of the Presidency, Relations with the Parliament and Democratic Memory, it is very positive that the Catalan Government, and in general the Catalan institutions, are complying with the law, the Constitution and there is a coordinated effort to try to improve the living conditions of the Catalans.
A situation that contrasts with the “unbearable tension” that existed only four years ago and that highlights that it was leading nowhere.
“We start from very different positions and the dialogue process is probably going to be very complex”
“We have to talk; we have to be aware that we are starting from very different positions and that the dialogue process is probably going to be very complex, but we have to approach it (…) It is the only way to do it, he adds. There is no other way”.
He does not confirm the announcement of the Catalan Government spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja, that there will be a new appointment of the dialogue table at the beginning of 2022 and he only indicates that the meetings will be “when it is the right time”, when the two governments agree to it and when it is believed that there may be some progress.
He does not confirm the announcement by the Catalan Government spokesperson that there will be a new appointment of the dialogue table in early 2022
He insists that dialogue is the only way to overcome tensions “and a black period for Catalonia that was the one that produced the confrontation of the sovereignty procés.” “I think the sovereignty procés is over,” he points out. “What is opening is a new stage, the stage of solutions that come from the hand of dialogue, of facing the problem, of seeking a useful and courageous policy.”
Bolaños also appeals to dialogue in the face of a labor reform that indicates that it intends to end two major structural problems in the Spanish labor market, such as temporality and precariousness. The possibility that the 2012 reform will be repealed in its entirety or not, is in his opinion “a nominalist debate that leads nowhere” and that the important thing is to work to achieve a consensus.
“It would be very rare for someone to fall behind the agreement” When asked if the reform would be born affected in case of not counting on the support of the businessmen, he estimates that it would be very rare for someone to fall behind the agreement.
Bolaños does not believe that the proposal of the Minister of Inclusion and Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, to increase social contributions affects the negotiation of the labor reform, he recalls that the pension reform has its own dialogue table and points out that it is about a formula to guarantee the sustainability of the system.
He does not believe that Minister Escrivá’s proposal, to increase social contributions, affects the negotiation of the labor reform But he points out that there may be other proposals and that the Government is open to dialogue. He is not afraid that Unidas Podemos try to claim social achievements as their own because he is convinced that the public knows the “service record” of the PSOE in this area and emphasizes that everything is the result of the progressive policies of a social democratic government.
There is also no fear, he assures, in the socialist wing of the Government of the image that according to the polls the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, is forging, and affirms that he is happy that any member of the Council of Ministers “has a good image and good press, “because that means they are doing things right”.
Despite this desire, he specifies that above all the ministers it is the President of the Government who leads the Executive’s action and who sets priorities.
Coalition until 2023
Félix Bolaños is convinced that the coalition between PSOE and Unidas Podemos will continue until the general elections, which he reiterates will be at the right time, at the end of 2023 and coinciding with the semester of the Spanish presidency of the European Union. That coincidence, according to the Minister, will not affect the work that is already being done to make that presidency a success.
Bolaños, one of the protagonists of the agreement with the PP to renew four constitutional bodies, highlights the importance of complying with the law after the blockade by Pablo Casado’s party.
Given the controversy over the presence of Enrique Arnaldo as a Constitutional Court magistrate at the proposal of the PP, he assumes that in the negotiation there had to be concessions by all parties.
“Let’s stay with the important thing, which is to strengthen the institutions, to renew them, because that is good for democracy,” he added before reiterating his desire that the agreement also extend to the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary.
The Government would return to work “day and night” as it did in the face of the pandemic with the aim of saving lives
Bolaños, in his previous responsibility as secretary general of the Presidency of the Government, was also one of the leaders of the states of alarm decreed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and that the Constitutional Court considers unconstitutional.
A decision in the face of which he affirms that the Government would return to work “day and night” as it did to confront the pandemic with the aim of saving lives.
“We did what we had to “
“We did what we had to. They are highly disputed rulings both within the court itself and also in the legal community and therefore that interpretation or that legal debate cannot make us forget what is important, that we save lives,” he emphasizes.
The minister responsible for Historical Memory also trusts that consensus will be reached in the law that is now being processed in Congress regarding the possibility that Unidas Podemos raise problems again and assures that it is difficult not to support it because it will dignify Spanish democracy.
And regarding the energy crisis due to the price of gas, he assures that “remains intact” Pedro Sánchez’s commitment that at the end of the year the electricity bill paid by citizens will be similar to that of 2018, discounting the CPI.
There will be no gas shortage problems this winter either, he guarantees.