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Feijóo: "The energy decree is an act of authoritarianism, but the PP is going to comply"


The president of the Popular Party acknowledges that it is "very difficult" to govern in Spain if his formation does not rise in Catalonia: "We have lacked empathy." On his relationship with Díaz Ayuso: "The one who bothers the most is the Government"

Manuel Fraga's table powerfully attracts attention in the office of Alberto Núñez Feijóo (Os Peares, Ourense, 61 years old) in Santiago.

Feijóo has good color after a few days off in the Vigo estuary, and after this conversation he will go to a meeting with Mariano Rajoy, of whom he is an outstanding disciple both for the good (a serene tone and a certain facility for short distance) as for the bad: he blurs again and again the contours of his political story and is determined to go against it, riding the polls, in the 16 months that must remain before the elections.

Gone is the promise of his first speech, with that desire to banish hyperboles: Feijóo lashes out at Pedro Sánchez to the point of calling the energy decree “authoritarian”.

His economic policy is that of the PP of all life, lower taxes,

despite the fact that the deficit and the debt make this move practically unfeasible.

The first rule of politics is to win elections;

there Feijóo looks strong and only puts one but: the PP needs more votes in Catalonia.

And a little more than a year after the appointment with the polls, he hardens the tone on several sides and trusts part of his bet to the next crisis, with inflation, the closing of the gas tap by Vladimir Putin and the overdose of recent uncertainty.


15 years ago, Aznar told Rajoy that power is not inherited, that it must be conquered with a political project.

Sometimes it gives the impression that you are playing at not defining yourself, in line with Rajoy.

How do you define his project beyond making strong opposition?


It is difficult to hide the traceability of a politician who has been in public affairs for 30 years.

I am a convinced constitutionalist, an autonomist and a reformer.


In his day he showed willingness to reform the Judiciary.

The PP reached an agreement to modify the law.

What prevents you from complying with the Constitution there?


If you have that text, I would appreciate it.

I don't have it.


Did the PP sign it?


We do not have it.

I think a list was agreed, that's what they told me, nothing more.


The fact is that the renewal of the Judiciary has been blocked twice: both times, with the PP in opposition.

Don't you see a pattern there?


The PP had a commitment: not to renew the Constitution without reforming the Organic Law of the Judiciary to give judges the possibility of electing judges and the Courts the ability to elect prestigious jurists.

I agreed not to condition the reform to a new law.

We put some requirements in writing.

And when we were negotiating, the government unilaterally changed the law;

He has participated in the CGPJ competitions.

There are things that are not normal: turning a Minister of Justice into Attorney General from one day to the next;

dismiss the director of the CNI at the request of the independentistas, the director of the INE because they do not like their data, appoint a director of the CIS who belonged to the PSOE executive.

The discrediting of the institutions had not happened before;

Sánchez occupies them with a self-confidence that is difficult to overcome.


Your party has come to question the legitimacy of the Government.

You promised to avoid hyperboles.


It seems childish to me that Sánchez has given instructions to insult us spokespersons and ministers because the polls and even the CIS say that at this moment we would win the elections.


Your deputies are not short either: they accuse the Government of complicity with ETA.


What the Government has done with Bildu had not happened in 44 years of democracy.

That the Government has Bildu as an ally, that he is in the official secrets commission and is co-author of the memory law is something that the PSOE will regret.

A party that has not apologized for the almost 900 murders and 10,000 wounded by ETA cannot form part of the governability bloc.


Can legitimate criticism be exercised without saying that the Government collaborates with a terrorist group that does not exist?


ETA does not exist;

its consequences yes.


He hasn't killed for 11 years.


Parties are still held for the release of ETA members.

Can this be normal?


Aren't you in favor of bringing ETA prisoners closer?


There are objective elements that can discourage the approach.

And that cannot be a bargaining chip to pass laws.


The regulations that allow approaches are clear.

Are you insinuating that the Government fails to comply?


Prosecutors are resorting to some approaches.


You were talking about autonomy.

How are you going to reconcile it with the pacts with Vox and with leaders who talk about recentralization?


Autonomism is to respect the Statutes;

it is to respect the competences of the communities, and that the communities respect those of the State.

It is to protect the co-official languages.

In Spain there are nationalities, but not a multinational State.

And the Constitution allows for independence parties;

Another thing is that the Government grants Bildu and ERC a VIP treatment and gives Podemos the economic policy.

Extremisms in politics have gone out of style and centrality is back, which is where my project is.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo poses leaning on the table that he inherited from the founder of the PP, Manuel Fraga, in his office in Santiago.ÓSCAR CORRAL


In Europe, the center-right supported the states of alarm;

the PP voted against twice.

They oppose energy saving measures that you yourself raised, something that Le Pen or Salvini do not do.

Draghi and the British right have approved energy taxes.

The PP always seems to be against it, far from that centrality.


Let's not do demagoguery.


They are facts: the PP has even opposed measures to lower the price of fuel.


Sánchez prefers to agree with ERC and Bildu and responds to each outstretched hand with a slap.

He has not negotiated with the autonomies.

And as for the tax, our red line is that it cannot be passed on to consumers.

We proposed lowering VAT on gas and they preferred the Iberian exception, which means that we have subsidized France with 230 million.


Are you against that pact in Brussels?


With this measure we are subsidizing France.

Does the shop window decree save 230 million?


Are you not in favor of the measure of the shop windows?


Three weeks before its approval I spoke of a savings plan to avoid restrictions.


And now the PP wants to take it to the Constitutional Court.


I was the first to propose mandatory measures for the Administration and voluntary for citizens.

There was no answer.

Later, the Government said in Brussels that it was not willing to make any kind of savings because it had not been consulted.


There were several countries against the Brussels plan of a 15% reduction.

Spain negotiated, obtained 7% and presented measures that partially coincide with its own.


That decree is published without talking to anyone.

The autonomies are called when it is already in force, and no allegation is accepted.

All the autonomies have complained about the measures: when the PNV criticizes them, nothing happens, but when the PP does it, it is disloyalty.

Why can't a merchant keep the window lit until at least one o'clock in the morning?

Sánchez's energy policy is based on ideology, not technology.

We haven't even discussed nuclear power.


The nuclear moratorium does not solve the problem in the short term.


I would listen to the experts and put general interests above ideological ones: the EU has said that nuclear is a green energy.


And who would pay for that?


The companies.


Have you talked to them?


They don't know whether to buy fuel because, in principle, they will dismantle the plants in 2027. And there is no energy policy beyond making trouble with our gas supplier, Algeria, at the worst time.

The decree is half improvisation and half swallow it, an act of authoritarianism unbecoming of an autonomous State.


That accusation of authoritarianism seems one of those hyperboles that you wanted to banish from politics.


No. This decree is an act of authoritarianism: it was not negotiated with those who have to apply it.


And saying that you are going to disobey is not at least politically irresponsible?


The PP is not going to disobey.


That said Isabel Díaz Ayuso.


And his counselor said he will comply.

Those who fail to comply with laws are the partners of the Government: they fail to comply with the rulings of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, and they agree that non-compliance with Sánchez.


If you govern, would you force 25% of classes to be taught in Spanish?


The Government and the parties have agreed not to appeal that law to the Constitutional;

that is serious.

But let's go back to the decree: the PP will comply.

Even if it is an improvised decree, useless, without negotiating with anyone.

And that has left out what is important: what do we do with ceramics from the Mediterranean and with the electro-intensive industry.


Does it bother you that Díaz Ayuso starts those controversies on his own, that seem to drag him?


We do not always agree on everything.

But the one who bothers Isabel Díaz Ayuso the most is the Government.

For the PP she is a political asset in Madrid.


The economy is going to be key in the elections.

What scene do you see?


This has been the government that has had more money in democracy, with more European funds.

And it has 24 tax increases and an increase in debt of 20 points of GDP.

Per capita income


grown less than in Europe.

It is true that there has been a pandemic and since February there has been a conflict at the gates of Europe, but no government has had so many resources.

The economic policy is a failure.

Even the German socialists have updated the personal income tax rate with inflation.


You criticize the increase in debt, and at the same time ask for tax cuts.

How do you do that?

In 2011, Rajoy presented himself with a promise of general tax cuts and made the biggest increase in history.

Four years ago, with the economy growing, the PP again promised tax cuts.

Is that recipe good for everything, at all times?


What Rajoy did was recognize debts to suppliers of billions, take them out of the drawers and pay them.

We receive a deficit of more than 10% of GDP.


And then with Rajoy the debt went from 70% to 100% of GDP, when they were not going to put a single euro in the bank.

You escape: how are public services financed with these tax cuts?


We have always maintained public services.

They are sacred.

I propose a reduction in VAT on electricity that the Government has copied.

A reduction in VAT on gas that the Government has preferred to ignore in exchange for the Iberian exception, which subsidizes France.

And a temporary drop in personal income tax on income of up to 40,000 euros.


If taxes go down, collection goes down, and you yourself warn of the deficit and the debt.

How does that circle square?


The collection is well above what was expected.

Low incomes are paying for inflation, why not return to families what they overpaid?

Germany has done it, the socialists approved it in Euskadi and Navarra, and the PP wherever it governs.


Beyond the fiscal, do you see a crisis approaching?


I am more interested in what the Bank of Spain, Brussels or the IMF say about it than what the Government says.


The IMF sees growth of 2% in 2023. It is far from being the brutal crisis that the PP predicted.


Sánchez predicts 2.7% and each forecast is getting worse.

This Government is not made to manage a crisis, but to sustain Sánchez in power.

It does not have a European economic policy, but the one dictated by Podemos.


Is Vice President Nadia Calviño not European enough?


Many economic policies have not gone through Calviño;

Like other measures, they seem like a flight forward.

And I remind you that the socialists left Spain in 2011 with broken boxes and on the verge of rescue.

On many issues it is easier to talk with the PNV and Iñigo Urkullu than with Vox

Alberto Nuñez Feijoo


Does the situation seem the same to you as in 2011?

This parallelism reminds us of “when Spain falls, we will raise it up”.

Does that catastrophism suppose to feed a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy?


I do not say anything that the multilateral institutions do not say.

Let's go to the important thing: we were going to grow 7% and we will see if we reach 4% in 2022. Inflation was going to be 1.7% this year, and we are at 10.8%.

This Government cuts purchasing power by 10.8%, never seen before.


Inflation is general: it is global.

Would you raise pensions with inflation?


My goal is to lower inflation.


But would you raise pensions with the CPI?


The policies of this Government generate inflation;

lowering inflation everything can be done.

The PP has always raised pensions.

The PSOE does not.

And with the vote of the current president of the Government, then a deputy.


You have had a very good relationship with the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu.

If he arrives at La Moncloa and needs to complete the majority, would you like to have the PNV?


I have a good relationship with most of the socialist regional presidents, who in my opinion have more political stature than Sánchez.

And I have a very cordial relationship with Urkullu.

We agree on industrial, fiscal, and energy policies;

We disagree on the State's vision.

But my objective was and is to obtain a sufficient majority to govern.

It's what I've always done.

And in the last Andalusians we achieved it.

Talking to the PNV is much easier than talking to the PSOE.


And is it easier than talking to Vox?


In many things yes, it is easier.

Because the PNV believes in autonomy and so do we.

I respect the voters of Vox and its leaders: you will not find disqualifications against Vox here;

what he is going to find is a call for the concentration of the reformist center-right in Spain.

The best electoral ally of the PSOE is the existence of Vox.

Vox is running for election and has votes: we do not share their vision of Europe, their vision of autonomies, their vision of the Constitution, or other issues.


But they agree with them.

R. We have agreed in Castilla y León.

Before we tried to agree with the PSOE: the answer was "you go to new elections".

Was that the solution?


Could they then repeat the pact with Vox in the general elections if there was a risk of electoral repetition?

In what conditions?


I have already explained my political project, which is based on having a sufficient majority to govern.

I will not give up my own political biography.

That we are continually asked if the PP would be willing to agree with Vox when the PSOE governs with Bildu seems like a bad joke to me.


In Catalonia and Euskadi the PP presents very poor results.

Can Spain be governed without having a powerful presence in these two communities, which in recent times have caused imbalances in Spanish politics but at other times tend to stabilize it?


There are four major electoral engines: Andalusia, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia.

Of those four engines, three are running fine.

In Catalonia we have had some very bad results.

It is very difficult to govern Spain if the PP does not rise in Catalonia.

In recent years, Catalonia has had a generation of bad politicians, who have divided society, who do not comply with the laws, who demand that the central government modify the Penal Code, that laws that are approved in Parliament not be appealed, and even that The sentences of the Supreme are not fulfilled.

We are going to tell the Catalans that we will respect the results of the elections: we always will.

Surely we have made mistakes and we have not had a minimum of empathy to show our proposals in Catalonia.

But our objective is to represent the Catalan constitutionalist space:

"The objective is social engineering to ideologize Spain"

The PP has traditionally voted against social conquests, and even litigates in the highest legal instances while it is in opposition, but then it is difficult to retrace that path when it reaches the Government.

Asked about what he would do if he arrives at La Moncloa and the Constitutional Court endorses the abortion law, or about the law that regulates euthanasia, the president of the PP is blunt: “On laws that affect moral, ethical issues, personal beliefs , if we want them to have a vocation for permanence, it is good to talk to those who do not think like you and try to reach agreements.

There is a discussion about whether a minor who cannot drive can have an abortion.

Isn't that a legitimate discussion?

In many countries this is illegal.

Would Alberto Núñez Feijóo then reform that law if he reaches the presidency of the Government?

“I am telling you that a minor under the age of 16 needs parental consent to be able to have an abortion.

That's what I think,” she replies.

On euthanasia, the popular leader considers that Galicia is “one of the communities with a living will and with more advanced declarations of last wills.

In certain cases, the basic living will proceeds.


“But here the objective is social engineering to ideologize Spain.

I would never use laws that border on moral aspects and personal beliefs to impose my ideology.

I would try to agree on them.

Felipe González's abortion law lasted for decades.

Zapatero's was done unilaterally, and it has lasted less”.

Is the PP opposed to these social conquests, but does it leave them intact later when it reaches the Government?

“What I am trying to suggest is that this ideological uniformity seems short-sighted to me and is done to avoid the real needs of the country: today we are poorer,

Faith of errors

Due to an error in the transcript of the interview, in a previous version of this information, the term País Valenciano was attributed to Feijóo, when in fact the president of the PP referred to Valencia.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-08-14

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