Investiture speech by candidate to Presidency of the Government in Lower House of Parliament


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Lower House of Parliament, Madrid

PEDRO SÁNCHEZ, Acting President of the Government

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, good day to you all.

Spain will not be broken up. The Constitution will not be broken. The only thing that will be broken is the blockade imposed on the progressive government democratically elected by the Spanish people.

Honourable Members, I appear here before this Lower House of Parliament, by virtue of the provisions of Article 99 of the Spanish Constitution, with the aim of gaining the majority confidence of the House to be invested as the President of the Government.

Before outlining my government programme, I wish to make some party reflections. One is of a personal nature, which is that for me, as a democrat, as a citizen and as a Spaniard, it is an honour to have the chance to count on the confidence of the House, and also to be able to address the nation from this podium.

Another reflection is of a political nature, directly related to what this moment represents, which is the starting point for a new era for Spain in which all those present here are called to participate. In relation to these two reflections, allow me also to convey my sincere gratitude.

Firstly, to our citizens as a whole, for their patience, and for their commitment to democracy. The figures on the turnout at all the different elections held last year bear witness to this and to the extraordinary strength of our democracy.

Secondly, my sincere and heartfelt thanks to my party, to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Thank you, dear colleagues, for the tremendous confidence you have shown in me. For me, it is an honour to represent, on your behalf, a political force that also represents the living history of Spain.

Honourable Members,

On 10 November, the Spanish people turned out to vote once more. And they demonstrated a clear preference, placing the Socialist Party as the leading political force, some way ahead of the next party.

And this was by no means the first time they had been called to vote last year. They voted on five occasions in 2019, and in the five elections, the PSOE won a clear majority, some way ahead of the second political force.

The PSOE is not only the most voted for force, it also means that it has the largest number of representatives in both the Lower House and in the Upper House. With the results of the recent elections, and once the position was declared by each political formation, it could be seen that there was no other parliamentary majority than the one we present today. Although as we have seen, a majority can be formed to prevent the formation of a government.

And the elections, Honourable Members, also gave us another outstanding result, which is that the men and women of Spain, when choosing their representatives, shared their electoral preferences among 19 different political forces. More parties are now represented in the Lower House than ever before since the very beginning of our democracy.

I wish to say this and underline it because this is the will of the Spanish people and it fall to us, to all of us, to translate this into a government. Let me stress this, we have not decided on the formation of this House, but the Spanish people have, through their vote. And what we have to do over these four days of the investiture is translate their will into forming a government rather than blocking it.

Honourable Members, our Constitution attributes the function to Parliament of representing our citizens, because that is where the sovereignty of the Nation lies. But it also requires something else of Parliament, tasking it to form a government that exercises the executive power and runs the domestic and foreign policy of our Nation.

There is no government without a parliament, but nor can a parliament function indefinitely without a government. In order to fully function, the mechanism of democracy requires all its parts.

For that reason, Honourable Members, I accepted the commission from the Head of State, and that is why I appear here before you with the hope of receiving the majority confidence of this House.

Honourable Members,

I represent a party that is 40 years old. It was set up at a time in Spain when only 3% of the population could exercise the right to vote because firstly you had to be a man, and secondly, you had to be wealthy.

In the elections held 140 years ago, the PSOE logically had no representatives; not a single one. And yet, since a century on, when democracy was re-established, it has governed Spain for more than half of the last forty years.

When a party, or any other human institution, Honourable Members, lasts for so long, it can only mean two things: firstly, it means that its existence is based on deep-seated feelings and aspirations of society, that it is not by accident or a by-product of passing circumstances, but rather it gives voice to the desires of millions of Spanish people.

I appear here before this Lower House of Parliament, by virtue of the provisions of Article 99 of the Spanish Constitution, with the aim of obtaining the confidence of this House to be invested as President of the Government.

Before outlining my government programme, I wish to make two party reflections.

One is of a personal nature, which is that for me, as a democrat, as a citizen and as a Spaniard, it is an honour to have the chance to address the Nation from this podium. Another reflection is of a political nature, directly related to what this moment represents, which is the starting point for a new era for Spain in which all those present here are called to participate.

In relation to these two reflections, allow me to also convey my sincere gratitude.

Firstly, to our citizens as a whole, for their patience, and for their commitment to democracy. The figures on the turnout at all the different elections held last year bear witness to this and to the extraordinary strength of our democracy.

Secondly, my sincere and heartfelt thanks to my party, to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Thank you, dear colleagues, for the tremendous confidence you have shown in me. For me, it is an honour to represent, on your behalf, a political force that also represents the living history of Spain.

Honourable Members,

On 10 November, the Spanish people turned out to vote again. And they chose a clear preference, placing the Socialist Party as the leading political force, some way ahead of the next party.

And this was by no means the first time that our citizens backed the PSOE. They voted five times in a single year, and in all five elections gave a clear majority to the Socialist Party.

Not only is the PSOE the most voted for party, which is why we have the largest number of representatives. With the results of the recent elections, and once the position was declared by each political formation, it could be seen that there was no other parliamentary majority than the one we present today. Although as we have seen a majority can be formed to prevent the formation of any government.

And the elections, Honourable Members, also gave us another outstanding result, which is that the men and women of Spain, when choosing their representatives, shared their electoral preferences among 19 different political forces. More parties are now represented in the Lower House than ever before in our history

This is the will of the Spanish people and it falls to us, to all of us, to translate this into a government. Let me stress this, we have not decided on the formation of this House, but the Spanish people. And what we have to do now is translate their will into a forming a government rather than blocking it.

Our Constitution attributes the function to Parliament of representing our citizens, because that is where the sovereignty of the Nation lies. But it also requires something else of Parliament, tasking it to form a government that exercises the executive power and runs the domestic and foreign policy of our Nation.

There is no government without a parliament, but nor can a parliament function indefinitely without a government. In order to fully function, the mechanism of democracy requires all its parts.

For that reason, I accepted the commission from the Head of State, and that is why I appear here before you with the hope of receiving the confidence of this House.

Honourable Members,

I represent a party that is 140 years old. It was set up at a time in Spain when only 3% of the population could exercise the right to vote because firstly you had to be a man, and secondly, you had to be a wealthy one.

In the elections held 140 years ago, the PSOE logically had no representatives; not a single one. And yet, since a century on, when democracy was re-established, it has governed Spain for more than half of the last forty years.

When a party, or any other human institution, lasts for so long, it tends to mean two things: firstly, it means that its existence is based on deep-seated feelings and aspirations of society, that it is not by accident or a by-product of passing circumstances, but rather it gives voice to the desires of millions of Spanish people.

But this longevity of the Socialist Party also has a second meaning; the party I speak on behalf of is an institution that has overcome the most diverse, auspicious and also adverse situations. It was set up with no other support than from two dozen workers and professionals who contributed 50 cents of their monthly salary to maintain it. It preached in a desert until its organisation and its influence spread to every corner of our country. It has survived persecution and exile. It is a party that does not give up, that does not falter. It is a party that has gone through every type of situation and has faced up to them with the will to overcome.

Honourable Members, the PSOE is - as its very acronym shows - and history substantiates - a Spanish party formed by compatriots who, whether rightly or wrongly, Honourable Members, have contributed and still contribute to improving the life of our society. And those who from the right-wing benches call into doubt the commitment of the left wing in Spain are making a grave mistake. That is why I would ask everyone, from this podium, to show the same respect that we show, because respect for plurality is also an essential mechanism of democracy. And the Socialist Party has shown this throughout its history, which is also the history of Spain.

Honourable Members, the sovereign will of the Spanish people has drawn out a political map that is so fragmented as to have become a challenge to form majorities, and hence, the formation of a government; in the last few hours, we have even seen the right-wing trying to railroad the whole process.

There are two ways to tackle this situation: one is the easy path, which consists of sheltering in the purity of one's own beliefs; in declining jurisdiction, in avoiding running any risks and hoping that others offer a solution. That is not our path; it goes against the grain of our history and our culture. Our choice involves taking on the parliamentary reality, the results of the ballot box and of using that to forge a solution. That has been our commitment since the elections held on 10 November, to achieve the best solution we can, given the circumstances of here and now, and in line with the progressive principles that characterise a progressive formation such as the Socialist Party.

And we have committed to that, Honourable Members. Firstly, as we said before the elections on 10 November, we would reach a preliminary agreement in a period of 48 hours to form a progressive coalition with Unidas Podemos, whom I thank for their support.

It is true that we would have preferred to form a socialist government made up of socialists, with the contribution of prestigious independents with a proven track record. It is also true that we opened up the possibility in July of forming a coalition with Unidas Podemos. And it is true, lastly that these negotiations did not prosper, as everyone knows.

But, it serves little purpose to point the finger. It is more useful to try this again on a new basis that guarantees the two conditions that made an understanding difficult some months back: the principles of cohesion and of suitability.

We did this because that is what the Spanish people asked for on 10 November.

We did this and we agreed what had not been possible a few months prior - to unite our forces in a progressive coalition that will function as a united government since, and I quote the agreement, "it will be governed by the principles of cohesion, loyalty and governmental solidarity, as well as by suitability in the performance of functions".

Aside from that, Honourable Members, what we have done is work to sign up other parties to this agreement to achieve the critical figure that will lead to the formation of a government to set this legislature in motion. And in this situation, Honourable Members, I appear before you to ask for your backing.

The Spanish people have voted in all directions - that is more than evident when looking at the plural composition of this House, but they have voted for a government, Honourable Members, not for a deadlock, not for paralysis. And it is our duty to seek the best possible solution here and now.

All solutions, Honourable Members, are respectable. That is why I wish to state, for the record, my disappointment at the conduct of the forces of the democratic right wing in refusing to make the slightest contribution to the governability of Spain. It is even harder to understand, Honourable Members, their doomsday predictions for the future of Spain and their refusal to help avoid this. I do not share their horror in the slightest, Honourable Members, but if they truly believe that, rather than pretending to, then I cannot understand why they don't lift a finger to help.

Upon the conclusion of this investiture session there will be a vote, Honourable Members, which will reflect three different positions: on one side, the profile of a Spain that wants to make progress, that wants to overcome its differences and that unites to form a coalition of progress, dialogue and social justice; in the middle, those who don't wish to sign up for this progress, but that at least by abstaining don't prevent it; and on the other side, a strange and motley coalition, Honourable Members, ranging from the far right to the right and even to anti-system parties; together with the most inflexible nationalist parties from one extreme and the other. This is the pro-blockade Spain, without alternatives, solutions, horizons or responses, wholly negative and pro-deadlock. The "no" group.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, in summary,

You can draw several conclusions from the map of this Parliament that I would like to share with all of you:

The first is that the Spanish people - and I would remind the right-wing benches because it would seem they have forgotten - have voted for the Socialist Party as the leading force not on one but on five occasions in 2019, and hence, in general, they want to see a progressive government headed up by the Socialist Party.

The second is that the men and women of Spain have shared out their votes on a balanced basis including a significant representation to the right wing. Hence, they want broad, cross-cutting agreements that break the sterile approach of deadlocks and offer a harmonious future that Spain needs and demands.

And the third is that the Spanish people have extended their representation to a good number of political formations of a regional nature; hence, they want us to overcome the regional disputes raging in our country, particularly that we resolve the political conflict that has been eroding Catalonia for a long time and worsening relations between Catalonia and Spain.

And quite rightly, these will be the goals of the progressive coalition, Honourable Members, to govern with a progressive approach, reaching broad-based, cross-cutting agreements on State affairs, and reducing regional tensions through policies and dialogue, and starting to resolve the political dispute in Catalonia.

Honourable Members, I stand before this House with a plan for a progressive government that unites the will of the Socialist Party and of Unidas Podemos to make progress, and which is open to collaboration from all those parliamentary forces that are committed to finding a solution to the challenge we face as a society.

Allow me to describe the progressive coalition I propose to head up, firstly, regarding its values; secondly, its approach, and thirdly, its methodology. I will then outline the government programme.

Let's begin with the values. What values will prop up this progressive coalition?

Firstly, social justice - the goal of reducing the harsh inequalities that a good part of our society suffers from. In Spain, there are more than 12 million people, that is a quarter of our compatriots, who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The unemployment rate is still too high - 13.92% according to the latest Labour Force Survey - and there are many workers who suffer from job insecurity, particularly young people, and even from job poverty. One in every eight workers is at risk of poverty, or better put, female workers, because most of them are women.

Spain has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty in Europe. This affects almost three in every 10 children, in other words, more than 2 million children in Spain. We have one of the lowest birth rates in Europe and the lowest since records began in Spain. This reflects several things but, first and foremost, the difficulties facing young people to emancipate themselves, to find a job that is not insecure and to develop their personal life project. Let me give you a figure that is sufficiently illustrative of the reality of our young people - only 19 out of every 100 young people under the age of 29 have managed to emancipate themselves.

Extreme inequality, Honourable Members, is prejudicial to co-existence and also to progress. And breaching this inequality gap can be achieved through mechanisms of pre-distribution, that is, through raising the lowest incomes, which is what we shall do; and also through redistribution, that is, through fiscal justice, and the resulting social services. And this progressive coalition will also do that.

Secondly, together with social justice, a progressive project is also defined by defending community services - defending public services. We will advocate a social market economy, as provided for in the Constitution. We believe that the market is essential for the creation of social wealth and prosperity.

And we appreciate that the pursuit of personal interest forms part of human nature and is also a powerful stimulus for prosperity; but other stimuli also exist that also form part of human nature, such as generosity, solidarity and empathy.

That is why we believe in a social market economy, but we do not believe in a market society because you cannot hand over such goods to the market as health, education, security, the future or people's lives.

Honourable Members,

As much as we believe in private initiative, we also believe in universal public services. I am speaking, for example, about education or healthcare, which have both suffered from cuts in the last decade that have translated into a decline which has led to an increase in waiting lists, co-payments and the outsourcing of public services.

I am also speaking about long-term care services. Eight years after the entry into force of this law, which suffered under the governments of the previous conservative administration with a decline in public spending, Honourable Members, of 4.6 billion euros.

We are a community, not a group of people. That is where true patriotism lies, Honourable Members, in the recognition of a common asset and not only in identifying with the symbols that belong to us all. Neoliberal thinking, whereby the concept of society does not exist, which only takes into account individuals and families, is an outright fallacy. We exist, Honourable Members, as a community, and we recognise this in the public domain because that is where we are united, interrelated and associated as a society.

It is true that symbols are important for human beings, but precisely because of what they represent. For us, Spain means the education of our children, the public pensions of the elderly, and the public healthcare of our families.

Spain helps out our neighbours in natural disasters, makes it convenient to travel and makes our streets safe. Spain also means the tax we all pay to provide for all this.

Money is not always best kept in the pockets of those who possess a fortune, as we have been hearing lately. Money is often better spent on state schools, on libraries that make us wiser, on hospitals that keep us healthier, on the roads that help us communicate, on the pensions that care for us in our old age, on the police stations and courthouses that guarantee our rights and liberties.

And those who invoke patriotism every minute of the day should pay more attention to the public assets that define and represent us as a society. That is the social patriotism that the progressive coalition I seek to head up recognises which, I am sure, the vast majority of our country also recognises.

Thirdly, the project of the progressive coalition is inextricably linked to freedom; freedom from the arbitrary encroachment of public institutions, freedom from interference from those with the most power. Freedom not to be whimsical but not to be subject to the arbitrary whims of anyone else. Freedom to fully decide on our own destiny, the freedom of expression and association, and to live our lives according to our own values and our own beliefs.

An idea of freedom that is incompatible with the Gag Act, for example, or with the aim of outlawing organisations that don't think the same way as us, or of closing down media outlets. Freedom to live fully and to run our own lives with dignity. Freedom to act without discrimination, and much more so without violence for the mere fact of being female. Freedom not to suffer persecution or setbacks due to sexual orientation. Freedom not to be relegated on grounds of race or origin. Full freedom, incompatible with male dominance, with homophobia, xenophobia or racism.

A full and brave idea of freedom because there has never been anything so contrary to courage as attacking women or children, or anything less noble than persecuting those who are different.

An idea of freedom inspired by humanism, by the defence of the value of human life, which doesn't stop at our borders but is projected through aiding those who requires assistance from Spain and from Europe.

It is true that we should not spend a minute of our time, Honourable Members, on these matters, because these social assets were acquired many decades ago and taken on by society as a whole, but unfortunately, we live in painful times in which such fundamental elements as human rights have once against started to be questioned.

We should remember the words of Bertolt Brecht when he asked, "What times are these in which we live that we must defend the obvious?" Well we will continue to defend the obvious as long as is necessary until such time as we banish intolerance and fanaticism.

Likewise, in a democratic political system, freedom means citizens are actively involved in the government and means the strict control of any abuse by the public authorities. Consequently, it demands transparency, accountability and an exemplary nature. We must combat the political disaffection of our citizens through clear exercises in transparency, strict control mechanisms and guarantees of accountability.

There is not, nor can there be, any justification, Honourable Members, for any unlawful conduct.

Fourthly, Honourable Members, a progressive coalition must build social cohesion through territorial cohesion. It is clear that there is no single way of life or national identity in our country. This circumstance is not new; it was already recognised by our constituents who set it down in Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution. It is also clear that sentiments cannot be imposed by force. The key to cohesion precisely consists of combining different sentiments under the same rules of respect.

A feeling of grievance regarding the Catalan, or better put, central institutions, exists today, Honourable Members, in a broad section of the population of Catalonia, who feel neither recognised nor respected.

There is another, equally broad, section of the population of Catalonia that feels ignored and unfairly treated by the institutions of their region. And there exists, in other parts of Spain, a rejection of the accusations being made by some pro-independence leaders regarding pro-constitutional Spain. And I fall into that category. And these sentiments may be rational, to a greater or lesser extent, but they are undeniable, they exist.

And this is the result of political inability and due to abandoning political channels to resolve a conflict of a political nature. This not only means fitting the diversity of identities in our country into an institutional system, but also comes about as a result of the weaknesses and erosion accumulated by our regional system that we must correct.

This, Honourable Members, is a crisis that has been inherited, which the Socialist Party warned about when it was in opposition, and which we have taken on with all constitutional loyalty and with all the institutional responsibility to return a political conflict to a political theatre, thus putting behind us the diversion it took into the judicial theatre, which has caused so much pain and breakdown to a good many people in Catalonia and Spain.

Honourable Members, we must resume the only path possible, which is political, the path of dialogue, of talks and of agreements, within the framework of our Constitution, logically.

Honourable Members,

We have spent too many years consuming collective energies in political tensions that are related to the structure of our model of co-existence. We have spent too much time building up grievances. We have spent too much time in complaints - many of them sterile - that take us away from the matters that could offer us all greater prosperity and progress.

We now begin 2020, Honourable Members, a time in which the challenges have become even more global and sovereignties ever more shared. Inequalities, our shared European project, the fight against the climate emergency, the resolution of such problems as migration, the fight against dumping or tax havens and combating international terrorism place us in an era of interdependence.

And it is true that one of the after-effects of the economic crisis was the return of formulas from other times that allowed us to recover lost prosperity and free us from the challenges and threats to individuals in a global world. But these formulas, Honourable Members, are no longer valid in the interdependent world in which we live.

We know that sentiments cannot be imposed or prohibited, and that the solution will not come from the imposition of one perception on another, but from a change in both perceptions.

So, what I propose to this House, Honourable Members, is a new beginning. We need to start afresh, to resume our political dialogue at the time when our paths separate and reason and arguments cease to be heard. We need to resume dialogue when grievances start to form, and resume, in short, the path of politics, putting behind us the judicialisation of the conflict.

It is our duty to resume the path of dialogue, negotiations and pacts. And it is our obligation and our duty because we owe this to our children and to our grand-children, who deserve to live in a country united in its diversity, not broken and in dispute.

We all know that dialogue is necessary, that dialogue must be based on acknowledging others, on heeding their reasons. There is no other way to resolve this dispute except through dialogue within the law. The law by itself is not enough, and we have seen that. The law is the condition, dialogue is the path.

If we want to start to work honestly, we must start under these two premises: let's open up honest dialogue backed by the certainty offered by our legal framework.

All of the parties present in this House are under a responsibility to put our weight behind rebuilding the cohesion that has been harmed over more than a decade. And we must do this on the basis of the proposal of a diverse Spain that is enriched in the plurality of its identities, of its languages, of its culture and of its people.

We will not suddenly resolve a problem that has emerged and evolved over the last decade, but we can start to resolve it with patience and constancy, with fortitude and responsibility, and with generosity and empathy. And I guarantee you, Honourable Members, that the progressive coalition will work in this way, with patience and constancy, with fortitude and responsibility, and with generosity and empathy.

Another territorial problem exists which is perhaps even more acute, and much more extensive that we must address with the same dedication, which is the demographic challenge. Those areas of Spain that have lost their people through a lack of attention, or because territorial cohesion means working to create jobs for those young people in the countryside who were forced to look for work in big cities or overseas. Territorial cohesion means having an infrastructure policy that connects opportunities so that no-one feels abandoned by the public authorities.

It is our obligation to aid this inland Spain that is languishing due to depopulation, an ageing population, the dismantling of its public services and the impoverishment of its households.

To do that, the government I aspire to form will take all the measures that are necessary, as I shall set out later on; measures which, logically, will contribute to improving the territorial model we historically use, which is the State of the Autonomies.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members,

These are the four principles, the four cardinal values that will define the direction the progressive coalition takes: social justice, the defence of public services, freedom, and territorial cohesion and dialogue.

If these are the values of the progressive coalition, what will its approach be? And I respond without hesitation: we seek to govern for all Spanish people, whatever their ideas may be and however they might have voted. And we seek to do this, moreover, through dialogue. Politics cannot put a lid on the vitality of a country that wants to develop. And this society called on all of us, on the progressive forces, first of all, because this has been the majority sentiment of the votes cast, but I would also call on the right-wing forces, which represent a high number of our citizens as well. And I would also call on the nationalist and regional parties.

It would be a grave error, Honourable Members, to ignore this mandate, and not to recognise the result of the elections, and to deny this legitimacy, as on some occasions we hear from the right-wing benches.

We all have full democratic legitimacy, Honourable Members, which is why we are here. We hold different positions, sometimes opposing positions, but these positions, in the end, represent part of the Spanish public. These citizens could reach an understanding that we should not reach an agreement, but they would never understand why we didn't try by alleging that our starting positions are too different.

Precisely because we start from different positions we need this Parliament more than ever. We need to sit down and talk more than ever. Precisely because of that we need dialogue more than ever. Our approaches may differ but the problems we suffer from, if you truly think about it, are the same.

Pollution and climate change don't make a distinction between the left and the right, they don't even distinguish between those who believe in their effects or not. That is why it is necessary to forge a pact to reduce CO2 emissions and establish, among other issues, the obligation to allocate areas that are free of emissions in all those municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

The future of our country depends, to a large extent, on education, culture, science and research, and the shape of this future will not distinguish between progressives and conservatives. That is why we need a pact that guarantees an investment in education by the end of the legislature of 5% of our annual GDP.

Old age, Honourable Members, is something I hope we will all reach, but it doesn't distinguish between the left and the right, which is why we need to renew the Toledo Pact, which it why we need to increase pensions in line with the cost of living, which is why it is also necessary to make our public pension system sustainable.

What I want to say, Honourable Members, is that we have an opportunity to prove to our citizens that we are capable of forging broad majorities to resolve key issues. I propose that we return their faith in politics. Let's prove that, over and above our differences, there is a firm will to reach understandings for the good of Spain and the progress of our people.

This government will not ask anyone to renounce their principles, Honourable Members, not at all. We will only ask that they renounce their sectarian values.

In the past, Honourable Members, the sterile logic of the bipartisan system was heavily criticised as it diminished political life to a dialectic of two main parties. It would be even worse if we fell into a dialectic of two closed and sealed blocs. Spain needs the deadlock to be broken. Spain needs us to do things that we weren't capable of until recently.

And this government will try and do that, Honourable Members. We have no personal enemies in this House, believe me, and we will strive to talk with each and every one of you. We will avoid insults and outbursts. We believe that democracy is characterised by the power of the instrument of persuasion, which, by the way, is the most powerful instrument.

Our enemies, Honourable Members, are injustice, hatred and fanaticism. And the only sense a cordon sanitaire makes is precisely that - to avoid access by extremist ideas to positions of power which can harm co-existence. That is why any cordon sanitaire should not be imposed on people, but on ideas.

So, Madam Speaker, Honourable Members:

Progressive values and an approach of dialogue. And, as regards the methodology, allow me to sum it up in a few words: this will be an active and executive government, and consequently, it will be decisive. We need a government that talks and decides. In the past, the government tried to be convincing, Honourable Members, by adopting conservative positions whereby the State forms part of the problem and not of the solution; whereby the best government is one that lays idle and suppresses the problems of the country.

We have had enough of that over the last eight years. We have seen that this is not the case, in the crisis, for example, in Catalonia; in terms of pensions, research, in our international projection. And we have seen that when problems are not addressed, they are rarely resolved, and often worsen, and sometimes are even poisoned.

Of course, governments sometimes make mistakes in the actions they take, Honourable Members. Companies also make mistakes, as do markets - they are not infallible. But the worst mistake of a government is precisely inaction, standing backs with folded arms.

The world, Honourable Members, is enjoying a technological, social and climate revolution, and we must provide responses. The revolution we want to promote does not require bragging. It is comprised of a constant flow of reforms and changes in the right direction; changes that increase the sense of security of people, for example, and thus diminish a fear of the future. Changes that reduce the huge differences in income that many Spanish men and women suffer from and return a sense of community and of confidence in our country. Changes that reduce regional tensions and breakdown and fuel understanding, comprehension and harmony among Spaniards.

So, Madam Speaker, Honourable Members,

These are the hallmarks of the progressive coalition - firstly, values, which will be progressive; an attitude of dialogue and an active, executive and decisive methodology.

Allow me now to break down in greater detail the specific proposals and programme that will transform these values into facts and results.

Today, we will vote on something unprecedented in the democratic history of our country. Today, we will vote for the first proposed coalition government in our recent history. But the programme we offer society is not just the combination of the electoral programme of the Socialist Party and of Unidas Podemos, it goes much further as it incorporates demands made by Parliament, by other political forces and also from society itself which we owe a duty to in implementing the transformations it needs. I would remind you this programme is as follows:

First, economic growth, the creation of decent jobs and the sustainability of the pension system. Second, the digitalisation of our economy. Third, the just ecological transition. Fourth, real and effective equality between men and women. Fifth, social justice. And sixth, dialogue and understanding of a Spain united in its diversity and committed to a Europe founded on human rights.

These reforms comprise our roadmap for the change of decade that now begins. Our country must initiate a new and great transformation that leads to the Spain we deserve by the year 2030. The agreement for a progressive coalition, Honourable Members, divides this broad raft of measures into ten main pillars.

The complete programme is public and available to you but allow me to summarise here some of the most important specific measures included therein:

Firstly, Honourable Members, chapter one refers to the consolidation of growth, to the creation of decent jobs. Spain, Honourable Members, needs to bed down economic growth. We continue to grow faster than the European average - that is a fact - but we must improve the conditions of competitiveness, of productivity and of cohesion to make our growth more sustainable.

This trio - competitiveness, productivity and cohesion - will be the pillars that justify the economic transformations we will address. Hence, for example, let's espouse growth that translates into jobs. Let's espouse growth that combats job insecurity. Let's espouse growth that guarantees dignified, stable and quality jobs.

This government firmly believes in social dialogue, and in agreements, which is why we propose to rebuild broken consensuses, recovering labour rights by repealing the 2012 labour reform.

There is a consensus, Honourable Members, regarding the questions that must be repealed from the 2012 labour reform. We have been burdened with this for too long, but fortunately we now have a parliamentary majority that can guarantee these alterations.

We must also make progress, together with the social stakeholders, on drawing up a new Workers' Statute that takes into account the new labour realities and tackles the challenges of employment in the 21st Century. And, together with that, social dialogue must address new endeavours, for example, the simplification and reorganisation of the list of employment contracts, making grounds for dismissal stricter, the elimination of changes that facilitate, for example, dismissal on grounds of justified absenteeism from work - as the trade unions are calling for - the recovery of labour rights in processes of substantial modifications in working conditions, and the revision of training contracts, including the approval and development of the Interns' Statute.

We will continue to commit to the programme to bring back those who have emigrated, and will continue with the plans to fight for dignified work, the creation of jobs for young people and the fight against the long-term unemployed.

The government, Honourable Members, will also back the unremitting fight against labour fraud, and make a decisive commitment to improving the efficiency and coordination of active employment policies, as well as to simplifying the unemployment benefit system. We will act on the prevention of occupational hazards by updating the legislation.

Honourable Members,

We said before that one of the values that will guide the government's actions will involve one of the main challenges facing this society, which is reducing inequalities. And this will be undertaken through the redistribution of wealth and income, but also through mechanisms for pre-distribution, as I said before, and hence by increasing the lowest incomes. What I want to say is that thanks to this social dialogue we will set a horizon of achieving a minimum wage by the end of this legislature of 60% of the average salary in our country.

We will also address questions that have been pending for a long time, such as the full integration in the social security system of domestic workers during the legislature. We will offer incentives for the shared ownership of agricultural holdings by women, improving their position in the social security system. We also propose to push through the National Social Entrepreneurship Plan. And, under the same philosophy, we must address one of the main challenges we face, which is to make a decisive commitment to vocational training, particularly to dual vocational training.

We will push through the Strategic Vocational Training Plan by including companies with flexible formulas, also creating consortiums involving the participation of social stakeholders and the education community.

Just look at the challenge, Honourable Members. The challenge is that by 2025, Spain will need to create some 200,000 new places in the vocational training system, strengthen teacher training, as well as their mobility and ties to productive sectors. We are currently updating - you are aware of this - the list to incorporate 80 new qualifications and specialised courses associated, first and foremost, with one of the goals I mentioned before - the digitalisation of our economy.

But we must go further than that. We are going to update the content of the 172 qualifications that already exist so that they all include a new model on digitalisation applied to each productive sector.

It is a question, in short, of adapting our training model to the labour needs of the economy in the 21st Century. And in this regard, we will work on revising the List of Professional Qualifications to adapt them to the labour needs of our economy.

This government counts the defence of public service among its values, as I said before. Boosting common goods. To do this effectively, challenges lie ahead that we must tackle, such as the development of the Basic Statute of Public Servants, which demands improving systems for access to the civil service, speeding up processes, professional careers, performance evaluations and professional classifications.

It is also necessary in this field to revise something that is very common and which you will have heard many groups speak about, which is the provisional public employment contract to avoid its abusive use and decisively make progress on the gender perspective in Central Government institutions to avoid any type of gender discrimination.

And lastly, Honourable Members, I can announce to you that in this legislature, the government will continue to draw the salaries of the police and Guardia Civil into line, a measure that is fair to redress a situation that has unfairly gone on for too long.

Chapter two is on fiscal justice and budget balance, which are two sides of the same coin.

Honourable Members, the basis is a clear conviction. It is essential to combine social cohesion with budget balance. Pushing through this ambitious progressive reform programme, laying the foundations for development geared to technological change, harnessing the opportunities of the transition towards a green economy demands greater evaluation of policies and also greater control of public spending.

We will meet our commitments to fiscal responsibility with Europe. And we will do this while being sensible with spending and fiscal justice, which will require progressivity and consequently, placing ourselves on an equal footing with other Eurozone countries.

A just fiscal system is one where those that have the most contribute the most, in other words, a progressive system in which no-one evades their fiscal obligations, because fraud is the worst fiscal injustice.

It is essential to fight fraud with more and better tools. To do that, I can announce to you that we will push through a Law on Measures to Prevent and Fight Tax Fraud and we will draw up a national strategy that includes strengthening resources, updating the list of tax havens and boosting prevention through the Tax Agency's list of defaulters. Likewise, we will push through something to prevent what the previous government did - we will ban by law the approval of any future tax amnesty.

It is necessary to introduce strict limits on cash payments, ban dual-use software, push through unity in controlling large fortunes and exercise greater control on SICAVs.

In terms of companies, we will raise the tax rate for large corporations and reduce the rate for SMEs. We will also revise something important, which is the tax system for cooperatives, for labour societies; in short for the social economy, to recover the tax efficacy in encouraging this type of company. And as regard personal income tax, we will not increase the tax pressure on the middle classes, who will not be affected, and we will only increase the general tax bases for those taxpayers with income in excess of 130,000 euros per annum.

We will promote digital taxation, as required by the European Union and we will push through the Tobin Tax, as other European countries have done.

Honourable Members, now is the time to commit to a green future and taxation is another instrument to achieve this. The ultimate goal is to remove incentives for harmful conduct for the environment. This will be based on the clear premise of avoiding any impact on the middle and working classes due to regulatory changes. In this regard, we will continue promoting the establishment of CO2 compensation mechanisms at borders for imports at an EU level.

It is essential to address the modernisation of our tax system with criteria of justice and efficacy in the use of revenue. I believe that this is a diagnosis that most of this House shares, but we must update our system and ensure efficiency in the use of revenue while being more vigilant in controlling spending. In short, we must be more efficient in managing taxation so that public transfers of revenue meet the goals they were conceived for.

Honourable Members, chapter three relates to boosting industry, SMEs, the social economy I referred to earlier, the self-employed and the primary sector to strengthen our productive fabric within the framework of the technological revolution.

Spain has a real chance of forming part of the group of countries that head up the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But to achieve this, we must undertake reforms and pay close attention to some of the segments that sustain our productive fabric, such as the social economy, SMEs and also the self-employed, which represent more than 3 million Spaniards. I will now outline some of the measures we want to push through in the next four years.

We will continue to foster the Spanish Innovation Eco-System, we will decisively support SMEs, all under the Spain, Entrepreneurial Nation, Strategy. To do this, we will boost the role of the Centre for Industrial Technological Development as the main agent that drives innovation in our country. We will also support the digital transformation of SMEs through the approval of the SME Strategic Framework 2030.

A key element of productive policy is boosting science, and investment in R&D+i. We will increase public investment in civil R&D+i at a higher rate than the increase in the limit on non-financial State spending and move towards EU targets on total public and private investment.

It is necessary to facilitate the recruitment of personnel at public research centres, increasing pre-doctorate grants, post-doctorate contracts, improving conditions of pre-doctorate research staff, and in short, bringing into line rights and committing to professional stability.

The development of the Science Act, which hasn't been updated since 2011, is a priority, by strengthening the transfer of knowledge and simplifying the work of researchers at public bodies. And it will clearly be necessary to increase resources, but also to handle them more effectively from a multiannual perspective to better harness talent and the continuity of personnel. Spain can and must be a country for science, and it will be a country for science, for innovation and for knowledge.

Changing tack, trade, Honourable Members, must not be absent from the wave of modernisation that our country requires, and we will present a plan to modernise retail trade which boosts digitalisation and the adaptation to new technologies.

The internationalisation of the Spanish economy is key for achieving sounder and healthier growth. And to boost this, we will push through the Internationalisation Action Plan 2020-2021, which will modernise the financial support instruments and also introduce sustainability as a cross-cutting element in the internationalisation policy to be implemented in the Spanish public sector.

The government undertakes to improve coverage and set fairer quotas for self-employed workers. We will gradually bring the rights of this group into line with those of employed workers and establish a contribution system based on real income, with greater social protection in the event of unemployment, sickness or retirement.

Spain needs to increase the weighting of its industry in global GDP, to which end it will set up an Industrial Development Plan that serves to improve competitiveness and create quality jobs. The government will free up State resources to guarantee the continuity, which is important, of those companies that are a fundamental source of employment in their regions; in other words, we will fight, as we have done so decisively in recent months, to combat industrial relocation.

And with the participation of regional governments and of the main economic and social stakeholders in the sector, we will draw up the Sustainable Tourism Strategy 2030, based on sustainability and the implementation of smart tourism.

Honourable Members, living conditions in the countryside are very important for this government which I mentioned before regarding repopulation and the demographic challenge, and undoubtedly for the primary sector as a whole. That is why, as I have said on many occasions, every time I have had the chance to come up to this podium and mention it, we will advocate a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with sufficient funding to guarantee this threefold economic, social and environmental sustainability of agricultural, livestock and forestry holdings in Spain throughout the whole financial period 2021-2027. The countryside can count on the Government of Spain.

And the fisheries sector can count on us because we will be boosting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture based on knowledge, innovation and scientific research.

And lastly and within this chapter, I would like to focus for a moment on the digital revolution. We will implement a raft of measures designed to complete the rollout of digital infrastructures, with new mobile 5G technology; we will create a social voucher for Internet access for vulnerable groups and we will enact the Digital Rights Act and present an ambitious Spanish Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

And in all of this, of course, the public authorities must adopt an exemplary approach to move towards a more open and efficient digital administration. And in this regard, I would like to highlight the extension to the Citizen File in which any citizen can undertake formalities and access all their files in relation to the public authorities.

Chapter four relates to the fight against the climate emergency. The recent Chile COP25 Climate Conference held in Madrid helped further familiarise us with the great debate that affects us as a society. Here we are already suffering from drought in the countryside, with reservoirs at low levels. Fires have ravaged our rural environment and we have lost biodiversity in a country that is tremendously rich in its biodiversity of seas and rivers.

Only one conclusion is possible, which is that our model of development is obsolete; it has collapsed. This is ruining the planet in which we live.

The government I will head up, if this House grants me its confidence, will be - and don't doubt this - the first line of commitment to the ecological transition, to the protection of our biodiversity and to the guarantee of dignified treatment of animals.

We will approve the Climate Change and Energy Transition Act, which will set ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emissions. The aim will be to achieve a very ambitious challenge by 2050, including 100% renewable energy, with between 85% and 95% by 2040.

We will approve the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan; we will strengthen the electricity market with the aim of reducing our energy bill, always offering certainty to old and new investors, not as happened with previous governments. And any action undertaken by the government will have the just transition of the new energy model as a priority.

No-on will be left behind; there will be no losers, to which end I announce that we will set up the Just Transition Institute, which will take over from the Mining Districts Institute to develop urgent action plans for the districts affected by the closure of coal power stations and nuclear power stations with an established timeline, such that new opportunities for jobs in the districts affected are guaranteed.

Honourable Members, we will also draw up a strategy, approve the Circular Economy Strategy with the aim of achieving "zero waste" with a horizon of 2050. We will push through the approval of a Single-Use Plastics Act. And we will also address efficiency measures for such key sectors as construction, agri-food, tourism, containers, packaging, textile, electrical manufacturing and electronics.

The government will regulate and foster energy self-consumption, simplify bureaucracy and technical procedures for self-consumption without cost. And in an endeavour to protect the most vulnerable families, the government will reform the electricity voucher, creating a general voucher that will also include a gas voucher. Furthermore, we will ban basic supplies being cut off in the event of non-payment due to grounds beyond the control of the user.

It is also essential, Honourable Members, to address sustainable mobility, to which end we will enact the Sustainable Mobility Act, we will fund public transport, we will implement a financial subsidy scheme for electric vehicles and push through the Suburban Transport Plan 2019-2025, among many other measures in this field.

In this chapter on ecological transition and the environment, I would like to expressly mention water management as one of its key elements. We will work to this end on a National Plan on the purification, sanitation, efficiency, saving and reuse of water, enshrining, among other issue, the access to water as a human right and not as a commercial asset.

We will extend the network of protected spaces, providing sufficient funding for policies to defend biodiversity and the management of natural spaces.

And lastly, we will push through an Animal Welfare Act, which is being increasingly demanded by society.

Chapter five is the demographic challenge. As I said before, territorial cohesion does not only refer to the conflict in Catalonia, regional financing or the development of jurisdiction and powers in the regions. There are a great many areas in our geography that cover most of our autonomous regions - none are exempt from this - that have emptied out due to a lack of opportunities. Young people have been leaving our villages due to a lack of opportunities, and hence it is imperative to reverse this situation. To do that, the government will develop a strategy to fight depopulation, enhance connectivity and provide support for young people.

We will consolidate the inclusive Welfare State in the countryside. We will undertake to extend all public welfare services to all citizens regardless of the size, dispersion or ageing of the population. We will implement cross-cutting measures to support job creation projects, self-employment and collective entrepreneurship in rural municipalities at demographic risk.

We will develop coverage of more than 30 megabytes and 3 gigabytes for all citizens at an affordable price. We will prioritise improving existing infrastructures, and in particular, all municipalities, regardless of their size, will have a transport service that communicates with the main town or village in the area.

Access to healthcare at home will also be guaranteed when there is no local health centre and we will guarantee security in our villages by reinforcing the workforce of the State law enforcement agencies.

And to stimulate economic recovery in deprived and abandoned areas, Honourable Members, we will set up depopulation offices in at least 20 rural districts that require urgent intervention. Their function will be to accompany people and companies that wish to set themselves up in the area, facilitating them with contacts and mediating in the process.

Honourable Members, chapter six involves boosting culture and sport as essential factors of quality of life. The government wishes to establish culture as a right and sport as a guarantee of health, integration and quality of life. Consequently, we want to push through cultural activities and support the creation of youth sectors above all. I already announced that the budget for culture, Honourable Members, will be gradually increased over the coming years. We will complete the development of the Artists' Statute, unanimously approved by this Parliament to improve conditions for creators.

We will set up a public copyright office under the Ministry of Culture and Sport to optimise the management of rights and oversee the protection of intellectual property. We will implement a Reading Pact to revitalise the book sector. We will defend a model of a plural, independent, public, transparent and quality RTVE geared towards boosting and spreading Spanish culture.

We will regulate, Honourable Members, sporting professions with a training and employment plan for retired athletes.

And two last measures that lead on to the next chapter of the government programme: we will promote a Sports Act that will seek, among other issues, to particularly support women's sport, together with grass-roots and university sport, and we will push through an Equality Action Plan in the field of culture to give greater visibility to invisible female authors, artists and creators, thus removing the gender gap.

Honourable Members, one of the hallmarks of this government will be the policies aimed at achieving full equality between men and women, and chapter seven is given over to this.

Gender equality is not a fleeting fashion; it defines us as a society. Feminism will not take a step back. It is an irreversible social and political movement that advocates equality peacefully and in a cross-cutting fashion, which is why it is unstoppable. This government has precisely signed up to this philosophy of equality sought by the feminist movement at a global level.

And hence, we shall develop, firstly, policies that guarantee equality between men and women at work through a law that guarantees equal pay. We will establish measures that foster wage transparency. We shall continue to promote equal terms and conditions at law for paternity and maternity that are non-transferable, progress in equality and co-responsibility that also reflect on the use of time. To that end, we will push through a social agenda to streamline timetables that we seek to agree with all the social stakeholders and political parties.

And in order to ensure compliance with these measures, labour inspections will be stepped up, the disciplinary regime will be boosted and the State Office to Combat Gender Discrimination will be set up.

Progress on equality means doing away with those forms of discrimination that women suffer from in all areas, and so we will address, among other aspects, thee deactivation of the so-called "pink tax", that is price increases on the same product when it is the "female version".

And if equality is an inalienable right, the fight against gender-based violence is a genuine social emergency. The figures remain overwhelming: more than 50 women were murdered last year; the figures of convictions for sexual offences have been increasing by some 10% a year since 1998. To fight this, we must step up the tempo with a government with full powers and, to start with, we will get back to the basics by regulating the Criminal Code whereby for sexual consent only "yes" means "yes".

The government will develop all the matters pending in the State Pact to Combat Gender-based Violence, incorporating into our legal system the provisions of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating all forms of violence suffered by women.

We will provide additional support for those that suffer from this violence through the approval of the Comprehensive Plan for Compensation, Redress and the Recovery of Autonomy. We will suspend the regime of visits to children by parents or legal guardians that are convicted or that have had precautionary measures imposed for serious crimes of gender-based violence or those committed in the presence of children.

We will work to eradicate prostitution and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. In this regard, we will approve the Comprehensive Law to Combat People Trafficking for Purposes of Sexual Exploitation. We will also step up the protection of children to avoid access to pornography online under the new Audio-visual Law of the European Parliament.

And, Honourable Members, we say "NO" to surrogacy. Reproductive exploitation is prohibited under Spanish law and hence we will act against agencies offering these services in the awareness that they are banned in our country.

We will guarantee sexual and reproductive rights to ensure that maternity is freely decided upon through policies on the education and prevention of unwanted pregnancies by facilitating access to the latest contraceptive methods, emergency contraception, and the voluntary termination of pregnancy for all women, and guarantee assisted reproduction treatment for all women under the National Health System.

It is important, Honourable Members, for us to make an effort - also shared - to close the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We need more women in these fields, to which end we will develop various measures at an education and science level.

Chapter eight refers to the protection and extension of social rights and democratic regeneration. The government I request this House's confidence to form will work to protect, recover and consolidate social rights, and it will do so from a clearly progressive perspective, defending public rights, education, healthcare, long-term care and social services.

One of the strategic vectors that will mark the future of our country is undoubtedly education, and this is a field in which a broad-based agreement is not only desirable, but also essential.

The government will push through a Constitutional Law that repeals the current LOMCE, a law based on two main considerations. The first is to ring-fence state education as the structural cornerstone of the education system, and the other is the incorporation of agreements reached with the education community.

Under this new law, it will be necessary to align vocational training with the rest of the system, strengthening training in values as well as mechanisms for autonomy and school governance.

The new Education Act must guarantee inclusion, the elimination of school segregation on grounds of student origin, special educational needs or sex.

Honourable Members, no centre maintained with public funds will be able to justify any form of segregation. We are under an obligation to act to address such phenomena as failure at school, the early drop-out rate, harassment and violence at education centres. And we will do so through special plans under which regional education departments will play a special role due to their jurisdiction on the matter.

We will guarantee that compulsory education is truly free and effective so that no family in a situation of vulnerability sees the education of their sons or daughters cut short.

The subject of religion will be voluntary, with no alternative subject and marks will not count for academic effects.

And, in this constant effort at adaptation, it will be essential to commit to teaching staff. We will strengthen basic training, promote teacher stability and develop performance evaluations in agreement with sector representatives.

Honourable Members, a quality public education system is the best tool for the equal opportunities and social mobility that Spain is committed to. To achieve that, we will increase public resources allocated to education, and to grants, to place them at the ambitious but potentially realistic target of investment in education of 5% of GDP by the year 2025.

And in the same way, this will be the legislature, with the help of the regional governments, of the universalisation of access to child education from the ages of 0 to 3 in the public system under conditions of equality.

And, in the field of university education, I propose to implement a University Pact together with all the political and social stakeholders. We must guarantee not only sufficient resources, but also the ability to attract and retain talent in our universities and the stability of faculty staff to reduce job instability.

We must simplify procedures for the accreditation of new academic qualifications, strengthen a new grants policy, as well as university fees, to which end we will need to speak a great deal with the corresponding regional departments.

The grants system must be revised to consider it as a subjective right according to the situation of family income. This system must be, above all, and we all agree on this, fast and flexible. Grants must cease to be a handout and become a right for those people that meet certain social and academic requirements.

Moreover, we will facilitate mobility and residence - which I wish to convey to those that are committed to combating rural depopulation - of students from the rural environment in access to university studies. We cannot allow anyone to suffer discrimination or added difficulties because they are from the countryside.

And, on healthcare, the government whose investiture I ask this House to vote for will develop, without delay, the gradual elimination of co-payments, starting with pensioners and those households with the fewest resources and at risk of vulnerability.

Over the course of this term of office, we will also gradually introduce public oral healthcare as part of the portfolio of service offered under the National Health System and further shield our public model with a clear commitment to direct public management.

And similarly, we must redirect policies related to the pharmaceutical industry, prioritising efficiency and transparency in price fixing. Spain must reach investment in healthcare comparable with the Eurozone average, and we must do so during this term of office, such that we achieve this goal of 7% of GDP by the year 2023.

The right to healthcare protection means universal access to the National Health System, which is why, Honourable Members, we will do something that has been pending since 2012, which is to extend this right to ascendants from non-EU countries, reunified by their children of Spanish nationality, reversing the measures implemented, as I said before, by the previous government in 2012.

And lastly, we must develop such areas as the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Updating Primary Care, the development of early care, the integration of rare disease needs in the global planning of healthcare cover and the revision of the Mental Health Strategy.

I don't want to conclude this chapter without referring to what I consider to be the best asset of our healthcare system - its professionals. We will improve staff conditions, guaranteeing compliance with the agreements in force and promoting a programme for the return of professionals that currently work abroad as a result of the cuts implemented by the previous government.

And, in the field of social services, we propose to constitutionally protect the public social services system as the Fourth Pillar of the Welfare State. It is fundamental to address one of its basic tasks, which is reducing the waiting lists under the Long-term Care System. We will also improve the minimum amounts agreed for the provision of long-term care.

And lastly, we will act to resolve a growing problem in our streets that particularly affects our elderly folk, which is the approval of a strategy to combat undesired loneliness.

Honourable Members,

This will be the government that guarantees dignified pensions through sufficiency and updates to the public system. We will propose to all the political forces and social stakeholders a new Toledo Pact that guarantees, through a constitutional law, the sustainability and sufficiency of the public pension system. We will update pensions by law in line with the cost of living - the CPI - and increase the purchasing power of minimum and non-contributory pensions.

And we will reduce the gender gap in pensions and extend widowhood pensions for unmarried couples.

And in this regard, I propose to push through the reform and reorganisation of the social security system within the framework of social dialogue. Consequently, we must bring about a structural increase in revenue and limit inappropriate costs of the system.

Spain, Honourable Members, as I said at the start of my speech, needs a government that is committed to policies to combat poverty and extreme inequalities. And this government will be deeply involved. We will increase provisions for each child in the care of vulnerable families and in the future we will apply guaranteed benefits for families without income or on very low income. The goal, consequently, Honourable Members, is to end up implementing a minimum living income in our country that rescues the most vulnerable groups from poverty.

And in this area, as I said at the start of my speech, we will combat childhood poverty with such measures as boosting subsidies for school dinners and materials and subsidies for conciliation, as well as streamlining hours. Protecting children and adolescents means investing in society.

We must provide the tools but also grant the necessary protection. To that end, I announce that now is the time to culminate, as soon as possible, the Law on the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents from all forms of violence.

Honourable Members,

Only 19 out of every 100 young people under the age of 29 manage to emancipate themselves. Access to housing is one the worst problems we face as a society and one of the fields in which the constitutional mandate is most dissatisfactory. This government will endeavour to rise to the circumstances of what this mandate represents, and will work with a clear roadmap, not only to increase the allocation of budgetary resources, but also through clear regulatory measures to protect those who most need the State's support, particularly in terms of rentals.

We will halt abusive rises in rents by putting a ceiling in tense market zones, and we will strengthen the jurisdictional framework of local authorities so that they can act in this area. We will push through immediate relocation measures for situations of vulnerability, we will promote social rents for people who have suffered mortgage foreclosure proceedings and have no housing alternative.

We will back mechanisms for the viable re-structuring of mortgage debts on the primary residence of good faith debtors that are also in a situation of vulnerability. We must study the application of additional obligations for large owners of properties, and consequently will reform the legal and tax regime of real estate investment trusts (SOCIMIS).

As regards tourist rentals, we will strengthen the powers of owners' associations so that they can condition the exercise of this activity.

We will decisively commit, Honourable Members, to refurbishments. We will implement a State Plan that includes specific financing for rental properties, with energy efficiency as one of its core elements.

We must take additional steps in the social use of housing and the public stock of properties under a clear legal framework. We must not tolerate what we have seen over recent years, Honourable Members, whereby public properties are exploited, as they are at this time, by investment funds, and we must guarantee that their purpose is suitable, that is for those families that need them.

In this field, I believe that the SAREB [Company for the Management of Assets proceeding from Restructuring of the Banking System] will play an important role, guaranteeing that agreements are signed with regional and local authorities that back the use of housing for social rents. We must use all the tools at our disposal to guarantee the effectiveness of the constitutional right to housing. And consequently, we will make public land available and stimulate the private rental supply.

This government will act decisively in another area that is raising growing concern, which is the prevention of addictions. We will regulate advertising for gaming and online betting and introduce measures on information, management and the limitation of the consumption of gaming.

We will back standardised criteria with the regional governments to avoid betting shops opening at certain times of day and limit their proximity to schools, as is unfortunately the case in many towns and cities in our country today.

And we will redirect the tax on the administrative management of gaming, of online operators, to allocate a percentage to preventative initiatives, to raising awareness and to redressing the negative effects of gaming activities.

The initiatives set out to date call for compliance with the social obligations of institutions. We don't want to indiscriminately expand on the presence of public institutions. We want an active government and an efficient State. We seek to have efficient, transparent institutions to combat inequalities and fight for equality.

And this last mandate - that of transparency - directly links into democratic regeneration. Honourable Members, on this question we have a moral duty to be ambitious because what is at stake, ultimately, is the very trust in politics and public institutions.

We have an obligation to reach an agreement for the election to and renewal of constitutional bodes and independent and other bodies and to do so, moreover, on the principles of merit, ability, equality, gender parity and professional prestige.

The government will also draw up a National Plan to Combat Corruption, strengthening the operational resources of the State law enforcement agencies and studying the introduction of new criminal figures. We will approve a Comprehensive Law to Combat Corruption and a Whistle-blower Statute that strengthens this key figure in combating a scourge such as this, which is intolerable for society.

Similarly, Honourable Members, we will address the regulation of lobbyists to make their work more transparent. We will more effectively regulate the conditions of incompatibility and performance of private activities for public sectors, and we must also reform the Transparency and Good Governance Act and approve its regulation to make it effective based on the experience we have acquired over recent years.

We must also initiate actions to strengthen the fight against "cartels" operating in public procurement processes, and it is key to make progress on integrating the principles of good governance and corporate social responsibility in the public foundation and business sectors.

And, tying these goals into democratic regeneration, we must commit to more effective justice as a priority of this legislature. We will promote a State Pact to Modernise the Justice System, with a strong emphasis on speed and flexibility, and on access to the system. And we will also amend, Honourable Members, Article 324 of the Criminal Procedure Act to eliminate the maximum deadline on initiating the trial process as it is a limitation on combating public corruption.

Chapter nine is related to new rights and also to democratic memory. One of the great successes of constitutional Spain has been the increase in rights, which has turned the country into a modern and free society that serves as an international benchmark. But this task is not over, Honourable Members.

The government I aspire to form is committed to consolidating Spain as the country of diversity that it is, attending to petitions from civil society and approving in this term of office as many legal changes as are necessary to enhance the rights of LGTBI persons, and persons with disabilities, through the amendment of Article 49 of the Constitution, and enhance intercultural co-existence.

To this end, we will approve, as we have publicly announced, the Euthanasia Act that acknowledges the right to a dignified death. We will also continue to develop the rights of persons with functional diversity through the development of inclusive laws and rules.

The government will protect all families, and all types of family, as Spanish society demands. This includes single-parent families, large families, multiple birth families and foster families. We will draw up measures to support children adopted by LGTBI families and recognise the parentage of lesbian couples.

And Honourable Members, last October, the State, with the involvement of its three powers, moved the dictator, Francisco Franco, from his mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen. This symbolic act strengthened Spanish democracy, opened up a new era in the redress of justice and memory that should serve to start to finally close the division between Spaniards; and although some people were annoyed by this action it was not directed against anyone and was carried out with the respect that any human being deserves, even those who have systematically vulnerated human rights.

This precisely distinguishes democracies from dictatorships and we will continue down this path of redress and maintain this same philosophy. To do that, we will undertake actions to recognise and redress victims of the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship.

We will declare 31 October as the day of memory for all victims of the Franco dictatorship, and 8 May as the day of recognition of the victims of exile; we will back the exhumation of victims of the Franco dictatorship that remain in mass graves, we will remove symbols of the Franco regime from public places and annul decorations deriving from repressive actions exercised during the dictatorship.

Lastly, we will perform an audit of the goods plundered by the Franco regime to return them to their rightful owners, starting with the recovery, as soon as possible, of the Pazo de Meirás back to the public heritage.

The government will approve the Citizen Security Act to replace the Gag Act to guarantee the exercise of the right to free speech and peaceful association, and that is another firm commitment. The government also intends to move towards a fairer electoral system, always seeking the maximum parliamentary consensus possible and, to this end, we will propose the elimination of the voto rogado to this House.

Another of the most harmful phenomena to the trust on which civil co-existence is based is the proliferation of fake news. Lies, slander, falsehoods are not new phenomena but the outbreak - Madam Speaker, I believe that this House will offer a broad consensus - of digitalisation has added to their production and facilitated their expansion.

That is why, while always strictly respecting the freedom of speech and information, we will push through a national strategy to fight fake news. We will also approve a cyber-security plan and set up a national cyber-security forum for technological development and research.

Honourable Members, in a non-denominational State, it makes no sense for any faith to be above the law, or enjoy privileges that harm the principles of legality and equality. Accordingly, the government will make the legislative changes necessary, I can announce this now, to facilitate the recovery of assets that have been unlawfully registered in the name of the church.

Equality does not mean uniformity; on the contrary, full equality demands the recognition of equal rights for all individual traits, which is why we advocate, at all times, pride in diversity and the right to be different.

That is why we will approve the Comprehensive Law on Equal Treatment and Non-discrimination; we will approve a law to combat discrimination against LGTBI persons, including a nationwide ban on the so-called or wrongly named conversion therapies; we will approve the first trans law to foster the socio-labour integration of transsexuals and their full participation in political, social and cultural life.

As will adopt public policies geared towards improving access to education of the Gypsy population and seek to ensure they remain in education and have access to employment, and lastly, we will push through a comprehensive legal and political framework to eradicate the discourse of hate and hate crimes.

Honourable Members, I said that this government will not treat anyone as an enemy and that is the case, but we will be radical in combating racist ideologies, xenophobia, homophobia and male domination.

For this government, patriotism means protecting all Spanish people equally, including minorities and the most vulnerable.

Patriotism means being proud of our achievements in social rights, our status as pioneers - you only have to look at what is being debated in France at the moment on the Comprehensive Law to Combat gender-based Violence - in civil liberties. Patriotism means removing symbols from public spaces that evoke a time of oppression exercised under the dictatorship against Spanish people for their ideas, their culture and their language.

This will be a government that will hoist and honour our flag, our flags, but never hide behind them to harm or oppress other compatriots.

Chapter ten, the last chapter of the government programme refers to strengthening territorial cohesion, strengthening our State of the Autonomies, strengthening self-rule and development within a federal Europe in which our future is written.

As I said before, the government will work to overcome the political conflict in Catalonia. We must do this for all the people of Catalonia and of Spain, out of conviction and responsibility.

Dialogue must always fall within the bounds of the Constitution, and this must be an absolute priority for finding formulas for understanding and consensus.

We must not take on this territorial wound, Honourable Members, as a chronic pain to be passed down from generation to generation. Spain of the autonomies, Spain of self-rule, is an unquestionable and consolidated reality with no way back; a reality that has operated in parallel over recent decades with the full involvement of our country in the development of the European project.

The framework for territorial organisation provided for under Title Eight of our Constitution has meant that regions silenced for decades could finally have a clear voice. This has meant the free development of national identities within our constitutional framework. This has shaped Spain as a plural, diverse, democratic nation, full of individual traits that enrich us all. Spain as it is will be our political project. And as the independent fiscal authority pointed out, contrary to some beliefs that are being questioned by part of the right-wing, self-rule has led to an improvement in the territorial distribution of income to a greater degree than in some peer countries; for example France, with its centralist State.

Hence, the path cannot lead backwards, as some propose, but must lead to improvements, the reform and updating of our system, while always guaranteeing equality among Spaniards. Ours is a complex model, Honourable Members, that is clear, but complexity is no more than a manifestation of the diversity of our country and cannot be converted into a pretext not to develop. It must operate to stimulate consensus and dialogue under a clear premise which demands a will to share power, and not to limit power. Or better put, not for a single institution to take on this power.

That is why we will improve, Honourable Members, the mechanisms for institutional collaboration with all regional governments. We have done this over recent months; we have set up bilateral commissions that are contained in many statutes of autonomy to strengthen institutional cooperation between the Central Government and regional governments, and as a result of a political conflict that is yet to be resolved I can announce that we will set up a forum for bilateral dialogue between the Government of Spain and the Regional Government of Catalonia. We will set this up and discuss and bring to an end this territorial dispute within the constitutional framework.

We will also work with the Regional Government of the Basque Country, Honourable Members, to comply with the transfers that are still pending under the current Statute of Autonomy and on renewing this as the Regional Parliament of the Basque Country wishes, logically always within our constitutional framework. It is essential to clarify the distribution, as I also said before, Honourable Members. A lot of what we are seeing in terms of regional grievances is related to the erosion of our State of the Autonomies, which we must renew and clarify at a jurisdictional level between the State and the regional authorities. And by doing this, we will be combating one of the most perverse effects of the current system, which is the regulatory uncertainty caused by jurisdictional conflicts. It is true that this government, I mean the previous one, has significantly reduced the level of institutional conflict between the State and the regional governments, but it is clear that we must clarify jurisdictional powers to continue to diminish these conflicts. We need more efficiency, more clarity, more specification in the distribution of powers, which would be beneficial for society, and for economic agents this would mean less conflict and more clarity.

And similarly, we will promote the participation of regional governments in State decisions, and of the State in regional actions when this affects the general interest. And we will foster a real exchange of information which will enhance genuine integration between the two tiers of power. This legislature that will now commence, Honourable Members, as I have said before, must be the legislature of dialogue and, both in general and in particular, the legislature of territorial dialogue.

And we will also promote the formal constitution of the Conference of Regional Presidents on an annual basis. This will also be, Honourable Members, as we announced in our agreement for a progressive coalition, the legislature for regional financing. It is clear that we cannot do this alone; we will also need the support of the conservatives. But I believe that the regional governments, which manage the Welfare State, need to update the model of regional financing. This is a diagnosis, this is a claim not only made by presidents of socialist regional governments, but also by those of other political parties, and consequently, I believe that we must address this without delay.

We must guarantee better regional financing, and also local financing while respecting their core elements, among other reasons, because spending on social matters depends on them, as I said before, matters that are key for our government, such as education, healthcare, social services and lone-term care.

The decentralisation process in Spain is inseparable even in historical terms, Honourable Members, from the project to build Europe, and in this regard, I want to tie in both currents that flow in parallel. The decentralisation of territorial power in our country and the construction of Europe. They operate in parallel as the manifestation of a great success, which is the heritage of the whole of Spanish society - a Spain of the autonomies, a decentralised Spain, a federal Spain in a federal and united Europe.

Spain will continue to have a firm voice in the redefinition of the European integration project. We are going to step up our commitment and base it from the outset on a very clear principle, which is reducing inequalities, insecurities and poverty. We will continue to advocate the creation of a European minimum wage, a European unemployment insurance that complements national unemployment protection systems and the effective consolidation of the social pillar of the European Union.

The European project must broaden its support base to make it more legitimate as a useful instrument for people. In short, as a union of values that extols the diversity of our continent and our societies, and offers a unique platform for influence in a globalised world.

The European Union must be a global benchmark in the fight against any form of discrimination, to which end we will back the creation of a European High Commissioner for fundamental rights and for equal treatment, to harmonise and supervise the protection of fundamental rights in all countries.

Europe, Honourable Members, is much more than just a market; it is a genuine community of humanist values which, without these values, loses its raison d'etre. This is the vision with which Spain continues to embrace the European ideal. Honourable Members, I will now conclude the summary of some of the measures contained in the agreement of the progressive coalition. These are all measures aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda that this government is committed to, which will precisely seek to light up the Spain we want to see in this coming decade.

I started by outlining the values that maintain the progressive orientation of a progressive coalition that I would ask your support for. I then went on to describe the integrating and pro-dialogue approach that we will maintain with each and every political group. I have defined our work methodology as active and finally listed our programme.

Honourable Members, exactly two decades ago, Europe adopted the single currency. Nothing appeared to stop the aim of the EU to expand its limits and its model of social market economy, the primacy of the rule of law and democratic values. Then a decade ago a devastating economic crisis hit us hard and forced us to a sudden halt. This same Europe was unable to respond, either effectively or with equality and it suddenly discovered its limitations. During this time, our nation, Spain, was forced to heal its wounds without being able to think of everything it left on the wayside and in the price to pay, which has been costly in terms of inequality and insecurity.

With this new change of decade, it is time to recover and repair the after-effects that still prevail in Spanish society. In short, we need to lay the foundations for the third great transformation of our country.

The first transformation, Honourable Members, returned us to Europe and aligned us with a system of freedoms and social rights. The second transformation turned us into a benchmark in terms of equal opportunities in Europe and throughout the world. And the third places us ready to face up to the major challenges of our time, to address the ecological transition, to address the digital revolution, to address and debate the challenge of inequality, to find how to understand each other and to see, respect and acknowledge the diversity of identities in our nation. Meanwhile, we must achieve full gender equality and greater social justice that makes us all feel part of the same community.

Honourable Members, there are groups in this House that clearly don't share the ideas I have outlined and I am aware of that. The same is true in our work centres, in our families, in our neighbourhoods but this does not prevent dialogue, or reaching agreements, or living side-by-side each day. That is why I insist on the commitment to use dialogue as a tool that reconciles politics with the man and woman in the street, with a society that begs us to reach great agreements, great pacts, great consensuses, that returns to a culture of agreement, and shies away from confrontation. In a few minutes, Honourable Members, I will leave this podium and then listen closely to the speeches as each spokesperson uses their time as they see fit. The only thing I would humbly ask from them is to think of the people watching us from their homes. Come up to this podium, lay out an alternative vision to the programme I have outlined, defend it passionately with the conviction that your conscience dictates. Vote according to your criteria because it will be, Honourable Members, an honour to listen to you and debate with you. The only thing I ask is that we don't contribute, through our words, to put a strain on co-existence. Let's not incite from this podium further division in the streets, greater discord in companies or disagreements in families. That, Honourable Members, is also patriotism.

Thank you.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation