Vitoria (EFE).- The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, announced measures of 400 million euros to help citizens and businesses deal with the energy crisis in the coming months, a priority issue with respect for the Status of Gernika.
The plenary session of General Policy this Friday with which the activity of the basque parliament it served to test the willingness of opposition parties to strike deals to deal with inflation and escalating energy prices.
Faced with a scenario of uncertainty due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a pre-election environment eight months from the municipal and regional elections in May, Urkullu offered the opposition to lend a hand and reach major national agreements in five areas: the 2023 budgets, strengthening primary care, the education pact, the demographic challenge and energy.
400 million aid
To face the black scenario of the global crisis, he announced a program of measures endowed with 400 million which will be used to cover the basic needs of vulnerable groups, to compensate for the loss of purchasing power of citizens and to provide loans to viable companies that are in a complicated situation.
He also announced further deflation of personal income tax after the recently approved 4%, a 10% increase in Emergency Social Aid (AES), subsidies to cover gas in housing social and the food sector so that the rise in prices does not affect so many citizens.
He explained that this program will be financed with own budgetary resources, with European funds and also with extraordinary funds for the surcharge on energy companies.
After the aftermath left by the pandemic, the Lehendakari confirmed that Osakidetza staff will be expanded so that temporary employment will drop from 40% to 7% and primary care will be strengthened with 358 positions for family doctors and staff health.
These goals have bordered on other historical aspirations of nationalism. Urkullu did not mention the aspiration for a new status and only demanded that the current one be completed.
To do this, he asks that a permanent commission be created between the central and Basque governments to guarantee respect. PNV spokesman Joseba Egibar was blunt about this: The Statute must be respected “during the period,” he said.
The main opposition parties, for their part, have left the door open to the conclusion of national agreements, but with nuances.
Bildu: social pact
EH Bildu spokeswoman Maddalen Iriarte called for a ‘welfare pact’ that includes tax reform that weighs on those who have the most to achieve strong public services, measures to pay a price “fair” for energy and facilitate access to housing.
It made it ugly that Urkullu was not betting on a new statute despite the fact that he promised in 2015 to hold a consultation on this issue and pointed out that many of the abertzale formation’s proposals on energy, housing, public services or taxation require sovereignty. “Have you thrown in the towel? he asked.
We can: public advocacy
The spokesperson for Elkarrekin Podemos-IU, Miren Gorrotxategi, also spoke out in favor of concluding agreements for the defense of the public, to negotiate with the large food distributors affordable prices for the consumer and for the creation of a public energy company.
The leader of the purple formation has put the most basic needs of Basque citizens before autonomy, which, according to her, should precisely serve to protect the public.
PP: Tax reduction
Since popular party, Carlos Iturgaiz reached out to seal a pact for next year’s budgets, to lower taxes, reduce the number of high-ranking positions in the Basque government and to strengthen the health system and improve education.
He recalled that the people have always defended the “full and loyal development” of the Statute of Gernika and linked the differences on the pending transfers to the interpretation of the Statute by the PNV which “is not the only possible one” nor “legit” .
The only Vox parliamentarian, Amaia Martínez, accused Urkullu of living in a “parallel reality”, of not having empathy with the real problems of the Basques, of offering “placebos” in the face of the current situation and of being like the doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde for “some days he demands respect for the Statute and country agreements and others the Basque homeland”.
PNV and PSE invite to agree
The partners of the Basque Executive, PNV and PSE, who govern with a comfortable majority, have nevertheless invited the opposition to join the pacts to get out of the crisis in the best possible way.
Socialist leader Eneko Andueza’s only criticism has been his recall that the government of Pedro Sánchez has informed him in recent days that this is a good time to design a new phase in the negotiation of pending transfers and that he therefore sees no need for “permanent complaint”. Otherwise, he said his party was “reasonably satisfied” with the coalition government.
To this, the Lehendakari, in response, appreciated the “good health” of the coalition government which offers “institutional stability to the country”. ECE
Written by Elena Puerta
Edited by Julian Black