Spain's leftist parties agree on budget

Spain's social democratic minority government has reached an agreement with the left-wing party Podemos on a joint draft budget. The budget ends the austerity policy and foresees an increase in minimum wages. But the support of the regional parties in the Basque country and Catalonia will be needed for the budget to be passed in parliament. Is the plan good for Spain and Europe?

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ABC (ES) /

Sánchez jeopardising economic recovery

ABC sees the pact with leftist Podemos as economically risky and politically misguided:

“The agreement is bad news and the best thing that could happen is if the budget isn't approved in parliament. The idea of increasing spending at a time when the economy was growing steadily after a decade of crisis is absolutely counterproductive and could cause grave damage to Spain in the immediate future. ... With complete imprudence Sánchez has opened the doors to the first real interventions of an decidedly anti-system party. ... The most sensible course would be to stick to a moderate budget in order to continue reducing debt and, if possible, lower taxes to boost domestic consumption.”


A model for Europe's left

The draft budget has strong symbolic significance for Europe, the news website TVXS believes:

“Europe's progressive political forces are following a good example and fending off attempts by Salvini and Le Pen to create a far-right front. Despite the differences and practical difficulties that complicate the issue, Spain's Social Democratic governing party has agreed with Podemos to raise the minimum monthly wage. ... The agreement also shows the way forward for social democrats and leftists if they want to stop the far right in Europe with measures that have a significant social and progressive connotation.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

The separatists have the final say

The agreement sounds like a realistic plan but depends on the approval of the Catalan separatists, El Periódico de Catalunya points out:

“We could say that it's a classic social democratic budget. Containing more social justice than systematic revolution. ... This agreement revitalises Sánchez's government but it still doesn't guarantee its continuity, because it needs the support of the Basque nationalists and the Catalan separatists. ... The drama here lies in the fact that in the case of the Catalan groups, that support will have little or nothing to do with the content of the budget.”