There will be no apocalypse, Sánchez stressed. And that is a positive message for 2023, the year in which Spaniards go to the polls. Spain has the lowest inflation rate in the eurozone and the highest economic growth of any European economy. During the remaining months of the legislature, he announced, the government will “continue to pay pensions and the minimum wage (SMI), although the context is extremely complex at the moment. However, he did not address the idea of an immediate increase in SMI (as advocated by Vice-President Yolanda Díaz). He did not go beyond the general commitment to raise it to 60% of the average wage.
España lidera la bajada de la inflación en la eurozona en 2022.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) January 6, 2023
Facing UGT leader Pepe Álvarez, the president praised the dialogue and social consultation that allowed the government to reach agreements like the labour reform.
In the first year this labour reform has been in force, he said, unemployment has fallen by more than 268,000 people, more than half a million jobs have been created, permanent contracts have increased by 232% (thanks to the extension of the permanent contract) and the number of temporary jobs has fallen by 13 points.
Despite the ‘unfavourable context’, first because of the pandemic and now because of the war, the prime minister pointed out that ‘the government has faced the enormous challenges of this legislature with determination and conviction. In a spirit of dialogue, we have achieved great collective victories and the country has managed to return to the path of social dialogue’. He was critical, however, of those who oppose any kind of agreement, as the opposition does. ‘They work against the interests of Spain and its citizens,’ he warned.
Lashes out at far-right
Pedro Sánchez also referred to the events in Brazil to point out that the ‘extreme right’ starts by insulting and ends by ‘storming the institutions’.
‘If you want to recognise an “ultra-right-wing rascal”,’ he said, ‘he always opposes any social progress, he opposes the increase in pensions, the minimum and the introduction of the Minimum Vital Income (IMV). He opposes gender equality and denies the climate emergency,’ he added.
Also read: Spanish economy growth and inflation