Sánchez outlines government initiatives including working with EU to lower energy prices

by Deborah Cater
Pedro Sánchez at La Toja Forum. Image by Pedro Sánchez at La Toja Forum

The Government has proposed to the European Commission and the rest of the community governments a joint purchase of gas and the promotion of a strategic community reserve to try to lower electricity prices. This and other government initiatives Sánchez outlined at the La Toja forum.

Pedro Sánchez, during his speech at the La Toja Forum, said the government continues to negotiate joint solutions within the framework of the European Union to stop the constant escalation of energy prices. This Friday recorded the highest price in the wholesale market: €216 euros per megawatt per hour.

The president also highlighted other government initiatives.

Reducing the digital divide

The president announced that next Tuesday the Council of Ministers will approve a new ‘Covid Fund’ of €345 million for digitisation. It will be a transfer to the autonomous communities to increase digital capabilities and reduce the digital divide. The chief executive has he aim of “strengthening skills”, both of unemployed people and employed, and a commitment to “modular digital training”.

Sánchez proclaimed “Spain is doing better than a year ago and I am sure that within a year it will be much better”. He hinted the employment data next Monday will be positive. The president has shown his “pride” in checking “how our country is progressing” and has spoken of “a collective effort.”

Inflation and energy prices

On inflation and energy prices, Sánchez asked for caution and stated it is a situation that “must be monitored”; as well as “take measures at national and European level”. “The Central Banks tell us that it is going to be temporary,” he added, trying to downplay the situation. He further highlighted “this year the Spanish economy is experiencing a strong recovery and robust job creation.”

Inequality and lack of opportunities

Sánchez also cited the “serious problems” the country suffers. The main one, for him, is “inequality and lack of opportunities.”

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

“There is no progress without social and territorial cohesion,” he insisted before offering some data. 26% of the Spanish population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion; female unemployment stands at 18.9% and the wage gap between men and women reaches €5,000 per year. Before a large group of businessmen, Sánchez opted for a “fair taxation”. However, he didn’t offer more details of what is being negotiated in the 2022 Budgets.

Regional issues and decentralisation

As a nod to Galicia, Sánchez specified the High Speed ​​train (AVE) will arrive in the autonomous community next December. Then Spain will see the inauguration of the section between Pedralba and Ourense. This milestone, the president said, will save an hour and a half between Madrid and Ourense.

Sánchez once again mentioned the transfer or location of State institutions in provinces of emptied Spain. It is a project on which his government is working and which contemplates the “deconcentration” of public power. The idea is to move teams from ministries, official observatories or centres to provincial capitals that are losing population.

Valley of the language

Sánchez took advantage of his presence in La Toja to announce the creation of what he called a “strategic project.” It is ‘Spanish, valley of the language’ and aims to promote learning, tourism, education, science, artificial intelligence, robotics … around Spanish. The idea, therefore, supposes the setting up of an office similar to the one activated by Isabel Díaz Ayuso in the Community of Madrid with Toni Cantó at the helm.

Sánchez rose to PP challenge

The president rose to the challenge of Felipe González and Mariano referring to the blockade in the renewal of the CGPJ et al. Sánchez asked the PP for “responsibility, sense of state and institutional respect.”

He also wanted to send a message to the organisers of the forum demanding an increase of the female presence. “The real difference between past and future is the absence and presence of women”, he concluded on the 90th anniversary of the approval of the female vote. This suffrage was one that PSOE did not support in its day, as Pablo Casado pointed out.

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