The Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, last Wednesday in Congress.Eduardo Parra / Europa Press
United We Can has increased the pressure this Wednesday on the PSOE to include a fiscal reform in the next General State Budgets. Faced with the moderate optimism of the Socialists about the progress of the negotiations, the Secretary General of Podemos and Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, has put the brakes on and warned that the agreement between the Government partners for the 2022 accounts is still "is far". Among the main reasons for disagreement, the top leader of the party has stated that for them it is "essential" to raise corporate tax for large companies. The proposal is to set a minimum rate of 15%, a measure agreed in July by 130 countries within the framework of the OECD, the technical details of which are not yet closed, and for which Podemos believes there is sufficient consensus.
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"Right now we have a situation in our country that is practically unconstitutional," said Belarra during an interview on TVE. The minister has referred to the fact that there are large corporations that pay "zero euros" of corporation tax, while citizens contribute an income tax of 15% on average. "It is evident that this does not comply with the articles of the Constitution, which says that taxes have to be progressive and fair," he defended. The secretary general of Podemos has disagreed with the first vice president, Nadia Calviño, on the option of the experts of the tax reform committee, which will present its conclusions at the beginning of next year, those who evaluate the appropriateness of this measure. “There is an old saying that said that whoever does not want to do anything sets up a commission.I am saying this as a joke, but some issues in tax matters are pure common sense ”, he pointed out.
The Vice President of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, has again advocated this Wednesday for delaying the major measures of the tax reform until the recovery is consolidated and the group of experts presents its report, although she has defended that "adjustments" can be incorporated into the Future Budget for 2022, reports Efe. Although on Tuesday he showed optimism about the vigorous progress of the recovery, he kept the GDP growth forecasts for this year and the next intact, at 6.5% and 7%, respectively. This will not allow the pre-crisis quarterly GDP to recover before 2022 has started. "Of course you can make adjustments in the fiscal area," he conceded in an interview in RNE, although the "big changes" would have to be made once the expert group completes its report,expected in February 2022.
Belarra's statements reflect the discomfort in the leftist party after the probable date to have the budget draft ready next week was advanced. "Right now it seems premature and a bit risky," he said. "The agreement between PSOE and UP is far away," he added at another point in the interview. United We can recall that the increased progressivity of the tax system, and specifically, the reform to "guarantee a minimum taxation of 15% to large corporations" is found in section 10.2 of the government agreement reached with the PSOE.
The minority partner, in addition, defends that the measure was not only approved within the OECD, but also by the G-20, although there are some States to be convinced, including three members of the EU ―Ireland, Hungary and Estonia―. The task of convincing these fractious countries and fixing the technical details that specify the scope of the pact has been postponed until the next G-20 summit, which will be held in Rome at the end of October, after the deadline of September 30 that sets the Spanish Constitution for the Government to refer the Budget project to the Cortes.
Other proposals for debate at the negotiating table - and considered a priority by Belarra - have to do with the approval of a housing law to regulate the price of rents in stressed areas, improvements in the minimum living income, universal for upbringing or the extension of maternity and paternity leave. On Tuesday, a good part of the Government's partners already warned that they would make the Executive “sweat” - in the words of ERC spokesman Gabriel Rufián - to gain their support for the accounts for the next fiscal year. United We also admitted "sharing the concern" of the rest of the political forces regarding the final configuration of the Budgets, which they believe should deepen the agenda of the left. The positions came shortly before the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños,a first round of contacts with the parliamentary groups began in Congress to begin the formal phase of the negotiations.
Coalition "well oiled"
On the part of United Podemos, the discussion on the accounts for 2022 is being led by the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, and the Secretary of State for Social Rights, Nacho Álvarez, the economic head of Podemos.
"I think we are going to be able to reach an agreement", has conceded, after criticism, Minister Belarra, who also pointed out that, in general, coordination within the Government "is improving."
"The coalition is well oiled, it is in good health, but that does not mean that there are no debates," he pointed out in reference to the discrepancies in recent weeks on account of the measures to address the rise in the price of electricity.
A failure in the approval of the Budgets would imply an early call for elections that neither of the two Government partners has foreseen in their roadmap. Álvarez himself, in a recent interview with EL PAÍS, assured that his formation does not go to the negotiation of accounts with the PSOE with red lines, as Belarra has dropped this Wednesday, although he admitted that there are some "crucial issues" that they have to do with the fulfillment of the coalition agreement. "I do not like to talk about red lines in a negotiation, but to advance in guaranteeing the fulfillment of the previous agreements and, in particular, of the coalition agreement, which is the one that governs the road map of this Government", he claimed.
Asked about the leadership of Yolanda Díaz and her possible candidacy for the general elections, Belarra has been optimistic. "Yolanda's style is being fresh air for the coalition and predicts very good results, not only electoral, but when building a country project that aims to lead progress against the alternative of PP and Vox," he said. "She is the most capable person to be able to lead the space," he concluded before pointing out that, despite his doubts, she "has been chosen by the people." "That is the best argument I have to convince her," summarized the secretary general.