The defeat of Nadia Calviño in the race for the presidency of the Eurogroup he will not end the tug-of-war that he maintains with the second vice-president of the Government, Pablo Iglesias. Some of the clashes that have taken place within the Council of Ministers on account of the measures that were to be approved are already well-known, since the economy minister is a strong defender of the budget orthodoxy. Nor is she in favor of repealing the labor reform or raising taxes such as VAT, and will continue to hold her views vis-à-vis the Podemos ministers despite the setback in Europe.
There are many who think that with defeat Calviño will see his authority in Pedro Sánchez's cabinet diminished, and also many believe that the Prime Minister will take advantage of what has happened to give free rein to the tax increase, since as the economic vice president is not at the head of the Eurogroup and Spain does not have to set an example, fiscal changes can be addressed planned with a little more wide-sleeved despite the rejection they generate at a European level.
Tax changes that include existing tax increases such as personal income tax or companies, and the creation of new ones such as the tax on the wealthy that the ministers of United Podemos, or the so controversial taxes on certain digital services (Google rate) or the one that will tax financial transactions (Tobin rate). However, it seems that Calviño is not willing to give in on this, even though he has lost the long-awaited presidency of the Eurogroup.
This Friday, in one of her many speeches to offer her point of view on what happened at the meeting of the Ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union (EU), the leader made it clear that "This is not the time to discuss a VAT increase" or other taxes such as personal income tax despite the need to "strengthen" Spain's tax collection, which is very low compared to that of other European countries.
The economic vice president recognized that Spain must rethink its finances because it will have to tackle the problem of debt in which it is incurring to face the coronavirus crisis if it does not want it to be a "burden" for future generations. But he said that although the government's fiscal approaches are "well known" because they were in its electoral program and in the government agreement with Podemos, another thing is when to start them so that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is affected as little as possible. "Other issues will come into play at the right time so as not to jeopardize economic growth," he stressed.
He thus made it clear that he will maintain his position vis-à-vis Iglesias, with whom he has starred in various comings and goings, especially on account of the repeal of the labor reform, hitting the table to silence those who assure that the European setback will cause it to lose power within the Government. In fact, it has an ally in this task, the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, who this Friday pointed out that Calviño's leadership in the economic area is "indisputable" and his policy "is being very effective."
When asked in an interview if he thought that what happened in the Eurogupo weakened the economic vice president within the Executive, Escrivá was blunt and said that he saw no "relationship between both issues", praising once again the leadership "very effective and very solvency "exercised by Calviño.
THE COVER OF MERKEL
And there is another wing, that of those who believe that Calviño will be able to strengthen himself despite what has happened because he has the support of great European leaders such as Angela Merkel. It should not be forgotten that the Spanish vice president achieved the support from countries that add 80% to the GDP of the Eurozone in the Eurogroup vote, including Germany and France, which is why it is viewed favorably.
Proponents of this theory point out that, precisely for this reason, Sánchez knows that he must keep it in the Government and to ensure that it continues to count on its share of power, because it cannot be ignored a person who has had the support of such a large and important group of European colleagues, including the German chancellor. What's more, this wing also points out that Calviño is key now that it is time to negotiate the distribution of the Reconstruction Fund of 750,000 million euros that the EU is going to launch.
There are those who believe that the failure of Spain in the race to preside over the Eurogroup weakens its position in the face of the tough negotiations that are going to open, but Calviño herself has denied this. In fact, he believes that the result of the vote does not have to affect our country's expectations of European aid.
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