Sánchez prepares an omnibus decree to win the first major vote

The coalition Government is preparing an omnibus decree with powerful economic content with which it intends to start its legislative production after the investiture of Pedro Sánchez.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 December 2023 Saturday 22:15
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Sánchez prepares an omnibus decree to win the first major vote

The coalition Government is preparing an omnibus decree with powerful economic content with which it intends to start its legislative production after the investiture of Pedro Sánchez. The rule, which will be approved by the Council of Ministers before the end of the year, is being coordinated by the teams of Félix Bolaños in the Presidency and María Jesús Montero in Finance and Public Function.

All the ministries are already making contributions and leading intense negotiations in the face of a vote in Congress that aspires to bring together the same majority that made Sánchez president and, even, try to generate tension in the PP.

The omnibus decree will contain a wide package of measures, with special attention to the economy. The main reason why the Executive decided to bring together a battery of novelties in this rule is the impossibility of being able to approve general State budgets that come into force on January 1.

Sánchez confirmed that the public accounts in force will be extended during the first weeks of January, so there are measures that must be approved or extended in a large decree that gives continuity to the previous rules that were validated in Congress to face the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The Treasury explains that one of the measures that the decree will establish is the extension until June of the reduction in VAT on food and public transport bonuses, which are in force, with the addition of free young people, unemployed and pensioners. The Spanish Government has not yet decided what to do with the electricity tax subsidies currently in force. If they are extended, they will be included in this rule. The salary increase for civil servants for next year, expected to be at least 2%, is also part of the decree.

At Treball, for their part, they are trying to close the intense debate they are having with Economy on the reform of the unemployment benefit, a commitment agreed with Brussels in exchange for receiving European funds. It must be approved before the end of the year. It is not the only measure that Yolanda Díaz's portfolio is negotiating.

The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration plans to include the revaluation of the bulk of pensions with the CPI, pending the final November data (the advance was 3.8%). The department headed by Elma Saiz also works on measures for the self-employed.

I Habitatge is studying the extension of the suspension of evictions for people in a vulnerable situation, a measure that expires on December 31. If not extended, it would expire.

In the Executive they also emphasize the importance of including the transposition of a European directive to modernize and simplify public administration, which eliminates bureaucratic obstacles.

The Sánchez Government already carried out a maneuver similar to this in 2018. At the last Council of Ministers of the year, an economic macro-decree was approved which was then validated without problems in Congress. The PP and Citizens abstained.

The decree would go through Congress during the month of January for validation. It is then that the parliamentary groups can request that it be processed as a bill and introduce amendments.

The validation of the decree, in any case, would be the first major agreement of the majority of the investiture in the legislature that is now starting. The first major vote that the new coalition Executive will face in a legislature whose great political challenge for Sánchez is, precisely, that the new mandate is sustained with stability. Then will come the litmus test of the new State budgets, which Sánchez hopes to approve during the first quarter of 2024.

All this with a constant balance between interests that can become antagonistic, especially in the economic field, both within the new government coalition between the PSOE and Sumar - Nadia Calviño and Yolanda Díaz are already clashing over aid for the long-term unemployed - and between the parliamentary majority of the investiture.

And it won't be simple. Together they consider it "undemocratic" that the Spanish Government wants to approve all these initiatives in an omnibus decree, which will be voted on together. For this reason, from the formation of Carles Puigdemont they ask to negotiate "point by point" the content.

Especially with regard to economic issues, it is difficult to reconcile the interests of more conservative formations, such as Junts and the PNB, with left-wing parties such as the ERC, EH Bildu or the BNG. But Sánchez will have to try to align all his allies, inside and outside the Government. Once the Council of Ministers approves the decree, it will have one month for Congress to ratify it.

For this he needs a simple majority, that is, more than us. And he doesn't have any votes left.