The Second Vice President of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, assured this morning that the spending ceiling agreed and approved for the 2023 general state budget does not include the increase in defense spending announced by President Pedro Sánchez. He promised during the NATO summit held last June in Madrid that Spanish military spending would go from 1.01% to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2029, which will almost double the 13,000 million spent in 2021. However, Díaz has insisted during an interview on Cadena SER that this departure is not agreed or contemplated. “In the spending ceiling that we have negotiated this summer, of course, the Defense increase was not included, here I give you a clue,” she said.
Díaz has insisted that defense spending is not foreseen in what was agreed by the two wings of the Government for 2023, and has also remarked that the accounts for the coming year “have to be useful to citizens.” “In the spending ceiling that we negotiated in the summer, of course, there was no increase in defense,” was the phrase that he repeated at the insistence of the interviewer: “In the spending ceiling that we negotiated, this increase was not. Budgets have to be useful to citizens and enter people’s homes. A celiac person causes spending to shoot up to about 900 euros more per year. They have to be budgets attached to people. The useful policy is that, capable of solving”.
Díaz has once again supported the unions this Monday in their mobilizations for wage increases despite the discomfort expressed by the CEOE employers. “I did not encourage the mobilizations, but the situation is very delicate. They have every reason to leave. The bosses are blocking collective bargaining. And this is serious. The workers are suffering”, affirmed the also Minister of Labor in the interview. The vice president has put a lot of pressure on the bosses, whom she has accused of “not being up to the task.” Díaz is thus moving the ball to the roof of the employers to try to force an unblocking of the negotiation and make it clear that if wages do not rise it is because the employers do not want to, because both the unions and the Government have a clear position.
However, the socialist sector of the Executive, although it also supports a wage increase, is using a much softer tone and avoids directly criticizing the bosses. The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, has made a call to negotiation on Antena 3. “An agreement is better, I trust in the common sense that has always presided over the work of the employers”, pointed out the deputy general secretary of the PSOE. Entrepreneurs “have shown a very healthy common sense throughout the pandemic and this economic situation,” she insisted. In the background there is also an internal discussion within the Government about a decision that does concern it: the rise in the minimum interprofessional salary. The socialist sector is committed to increasing it to 1,049 euros, but the unions are demanding 1,100, this is 10% to compensate for inflation, and Yolanda Díaz is placing herself closer to the latter.
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Asked about the mobilizations announced by the unions in the absence of a salary agreement with the employers, the second vice president has stated that “runaway inflation requires that the social agents rise to the occasion” and has once again expressed her support for the demands of the workers. “The Spanish employers are not up to the standards of their country and, therefore, the unions have reasons to take to the streets”, the head of Labor has settled.
Díaz has lamented that the CEOE got up from the negotiating table on May 5 “for refusing to raise wages” and has accused the employers of “blocking” the renewal of collective agreements. For the second vice president, the salary increase must be addressed urgently, since, otherwise, for working families “it is impossible to live.”
Regarding the rise in the minimum interprofessional salary (SMI), Díaz recalled that the Government will meet with the commission of experts on September 2 and has assured that it is “evident” that the Executive will raise the SMI. Asked about how much that minimum remuneration should be increased, the second vice president has replied that “at least 60% of the average salary”, and although she has pointed out that she doubts that she can reach an agreement with the CEOE, she has assured that she will work to reach a consensus.
A “deep tax reform”
Díaz has called for a “deep tax reform” to avoid returning to the “misunderstood austerity times” and has recalled that the spending ceiling approved for the Budgets does not include the “increase in defense spending.” In the interview, Díaz advanced that the unemployment figure that will be published this Friday will reflect a rise “in the normal line” this month and that it will move in the “usual” of the months of August, September and October, which are usually growth in unemployment due to the logic of the Spanish labor market.
Before including in the Budgets the increase in Defense spending that the Vice President now denies, the Government was finalizing the approval of a credit supplement for the Ministry of Defense of up to 1,000 million euros with the aim of starting this year, without wait for the next Budgets, the increase in military spending.
Defense requested in May an extraordinary credit of 3,000 million euros to meet the costs incurred by the Spanish Armed Forces as a result of the war in Ukraine; from reinforcing NATO deployments in Eastern Europe —the Spanish contingent in Latvia has gone from 350 to 600 soldiers and has been equipped with artillery and anti-aircraft missiles— to delivering tons of ammunition and projectiles to the Ukrainian army, leaving the arsenals drained of blood .
As soon as Sánchez made the announcement of the increase in defense spending in the presence of the Atlantic allies, United We Can already spoke out against it. “The question that must be asked is, if more money is allocated to military investment, where does that money come from… We have always thought that Spain needs much more investment in guaranteed income than in tanks,” said the Podemos leader and minister at the time. of Social Affairs, Ione Belarra.
Putin’s war has shown us that our security is not guaranteed, we must protect it and dedicate resources to it. Spain is going to fulfill the commitment with @NATO to dedicate 2% of GDP to defense spending. This must be a country agreement. #MadridOTAN22 #NatoSummit pic.twitter.com/EKMMTPzgNe
– Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) June 30, 2022