Sunday. 14.04.2024
POLITICS

Parliament approves Sanchez's anti-crisis package thanks to Basque separatists

Meanwhile, the 13 lawmakers of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, which normally supports the PSOE in central parliament, voted against the bill along with the conservative opposition.
28 April 2022, Spain, Madrid: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, talk during a plenary session at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid. Photo: Eduardo Parra/EUROPA PRESS/dpa.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, talk during a plenary session at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid. Photo: Eduardo Parra/dpa.

In a nail-bitingly close poll, the Spanish parliament voted on Thursday to sign off a relief package softening the blow of sky-rocketing energy prices and the Ukraine war with a margin of 176 to 172.

The centre-left government's programme, worth €16 billion ($17 billion), hung in the balance until the last moment. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez even cancelled a trip to Poland and Moldova at short notice on Wednesday so he could take part in the final debate at the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament.

The central government wants to support consumers and businesses with its emergency plan. It provides direct aid and tax relief amounting to €6 billion as well as a further €10 billion in state-supported loans. The measures, including rent and fuel subsidies, are set to apply until June 30 in the first instance.

Sánchez's Socialist Party (PSOE), which leads a minority government, was able to persuade the five lawmakers from the Basque separatist party EH Bildu to vote "yes" only shortly before the end of the poll, and thus secured approval after all.

Meanwhile, the 13 representatives of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, which normally supports the PSOE in central parliament, voted against the bill along with the conservative opposition.

Catalan spying scandal

Only a few days before, it emerged that dozens of Catalan separatists are said to have been monitored by the Spanish secret service (CNI) with the help of the Israeli spying software Pegasus.

Sánchez's assurances that he would look into the matter were not enough for the ERC. Party leader and Catalan regional president Pere Aragonès has called, among other things, for the removal of Defence Minister Margarita Robles.

The support obtained by Pedro Sánchez for his package of measures from the Basque separatists earned him the rejection of the right-wing opposition. Some political parties, including the People's Party (PP) and the extreme right (Vox), accused the Prime Minister of preferring those who want to divide Spain as partners.

Parliament approves Sanchez's anti-crisis package thanks to Basque separatists