Executive Control Session

Pedro Sánchez: "The Government is focused on what matters to Spanish citizens"

President's News - 18.5.2022

Lower House of Parliament, Madrid

In the control session held in the Lower House of Parliament, the President assured that, vis-à-vis a "denialist" opposition of the general interest, "the Government of Spain is focused on what matters to Spanish citizens", such as the twenty million national insurance contributors, the increase in the Minimum Inter-professional Wage (SMI) of €1,000 and the fact that one out of every two new contracts is permanent, thanks to the labour reform agreed with the social partners.

In his response to Concepción Gamarra (Popular Parliamentary Group), Pedro Sánchez also mentioned the approval of the Minimum Basic Income, the Vocational Training Law, which has been allocated €5.5 billion to improve the employability of young people, and the setting of a reference price for gas to produce electricity.

In relation to Catalonia, the Chief Executive pointed out that, while in the previous stage a unilateral declaration of independence was approved, the latest opinion polls now show that more than 70% of Catalans do not consider independence a priority. A change that he attributed to the commitment to "harmony" in terms of territorial policy.

Dialogue with Catalan institutions

Pool CongresoAlso in reference to Catalonia, when answering Mertxe Aizpurua (Euskal Herria Bildu Parliamentary Group), the president defended that the Government "has taken firm steps" in favour of reunion, reconciliation and moving on from the conflicts of 2017 and 2019. Furthermore, Pedro Sánchez stressed that his confidence in re-establishing dialogue with the Catalan institutions "as soon as possible" is "total, absolute and resounding", both through a meeting with the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and through the Dialogue Table.

From there, he added, the government "is trying to improve the lives of citizens in such extraordinary circumstances as those we are experiencing in this legislature, with a pandemic and a war". To this effect, the president thanked the parliamentary groups for their support in "understanding what the priorities of politics are right now", such as "protecting, cushioning and distributing the burden of the consequences of war" in Ukraine.

Sánchez recalled that 139 legislative initiatives linked to bills and royal decree-laws have been approved during this legislature, mentioning two measures promoted yesterday in the Council of Ministers: the updating of the law on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy and the transfer of almost €1.300 billion to improve Vocational Training. "The Government of Spain's commitment to advancing rights and freedoms is total and unequivocal, as it is in the area of dialogue," he said.

Confidence in the Security Forces and the CNI

With regard to the use of the Pegasus programme by the Guardia Civil and the National Police, a question raised by Aitor Esteban (Basque Parliamentary Group), the president denied that these bodies have this spying technology, "as clarified weeks ago by the Ministry of Home Affairs".

The president expressed his solidarity with those who, like himself, have suffered wiretapping without judicial authorisation, advocating transparency and collaboration with the justice system. "The Government of Spain has nothing to hide and has absolute confidence in the State Law Enforcement Forces and Agencies and the work of the National Intelligence Centre," he said.

Pool CongresoThe Government, detailed Sánchez, has proceeded to an internal review of the CNI and to open the doors to a report by the Ombudsman. In addition, as the president explained in his reply, the modification of the Law on Official Secrets is planned in the regulatory programme, and the Executive is open to proposals - for example, to strengthen judicial guarantees - to reinforce confidence in the work of the CNI's public servants.

The Executive's commitment to democratic regeneration, he stressed, also means that public institutions are not used for partisan or spurious purposes, to obstruct the investigation of justice or to persecute political opponents illegally.

Non official translation