In the last four years, and despite the fact that in Spain the political climate was more irrespirable than ever, with constant insults, a motion of censure and up to four consecutive elections, inBrusselsLive a surprising phenomenon. The same as in Madrid, Barcelona or Seville were unable to understand each other, as if they had vital goals and irreconcilable politicians, in the community capital they spoke the same language, coordinated efforts to try to counteract the independence narrative and closed ranks in mattersof StatehowGibraltarand theBrexit.
In a parallel dimension, in Brussels, the Popular Party, Citizens and the Socialist Party have been able to overcome their differences and work together on the issues they considered essential for the country. Together with Exteriors, Economa, Moncloa and the Permanent Representation to the EU, showing a surprising efficiency, waistline and reaction capacity.
The diagnosis among all parties, MEPs, diplomats, politicians, commissioners, ambassadors and EU officials is unanimous. Without that unit the result would have been very different. But the warning is also very clear. Without that block, without cohesion, without the participation of each and every one of the parties, the possibility of curbing the damage to the reputation of the country and of carrying out the same agenda as before, is unfeasible. And with United We can in the Government, it is not at all clear that it can be maintained.
The examples are endless, but multiplied at the rate of October 1, 2017. An informal, but effective network, with real-time contacts and full control of the agenda. To curb or push resolutions in the European Parliament. So that the college of Commissioners will lean towards a more or less hard position. For the leaders of the institutions to make a condemnation of the independentist methods or a defense of Spain as a rule of law.
To neutralize a British deputy in a parliamentary commission that decides on the Pen. To pressure or warn the president of the EuroCmara not to allow a conference or to deny access to the premises claimed by Eurorders. So that the doors of the offices were still closed for Carles Puigdemont.
"This is how it is done, with 'lobby'"
"It has been a job of 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to try to anticipate each movement and cover each space. We warned each other, we improvised response when there was no choice and we signed letters all," explains one of the main sources.
It is not an unusual procedure. Brussels is a crushing machine and decisions are not executed in boring offices. Those responsible are not aseptic bureaucrats. The motto is that if you don't do politics they do it to you, and everyone plays the same thing. That is why it is key to have pieces in the main locations, place who whispers in the ear of the boss.
"There is nothing dirty, illegal or immoral. Here you do so, withlobby, pressure, calls and insistence. You have to be faster, smarter or stronger than your rivals and have capital to spend. One day you have to ask for a favor, and with Catalua we have asked a lot, and you know it is not free. They will claim it and even if it hurts and erodes your image, you swallow and pay, "explains a parliamentary source.
That coordination, however, faces two fundamental challenges in this new legislature. On the one hand, the loss of privileged positions. What happened in recent years was exceptional. The president of the EuroCmara was not Spanish, but almost. His chief of staff, as well as the chief of staff of Jean-Claude Juncker, were Spanish. And the maximum communication managers of the Commission and Parliament, too. That is over and the effects have been evident in recent weeks.
Systematically against everything
The second point is that now, in the Government coalition in Madrid, we are United Podemos, with a very different agenda in Europe. In fact, the deputiespurples, like those of IU, are systematically against all issues considered critical for foreign or domestic politics: Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, independence.
They always vote and pronounce in the opposite direction. And in the EuroCmara and in Brussels in general they fear that this will inevitably affect thecoalitionHow effective was the last legislature. And until last Friday, on issues such as the decision of Parliament not to recognize the status of deputy of Oriol Junqueras since January 3.
The investiture situation has generated an awkward situation for the socialist delegation in the Chamber. The sources consulted say that nothing has changed about the fund to date, but they have had to modify the ways to try to balance the same agenda but without generating friction with ERC and trying to fly below the radar.
The best example was surely Friday. After the decision of the Chamber not to recognize Junqueras anymore,Luis GaricanoYDolors Montserrat, of Citizens, and the PP, reacted immediately and forcefully.Iratxe Garca, leader of the Spanish socialists and Europeans, I expected a little more and in his message there was a defense of the presidentDavid Sassoli– "Always scrupulous with legality" -, but above all an attack on Pablo Casado, trying to divert the focus of attention.
"Respect the institutions and stop using the Catalan question to get political revenue because it hurts the credibility of our legal system. We all pay irresponsibility," said the Socialist.
"I hope the PSOE does not betray the Spanish"
"Now we will see what part Snchez gets, if from Junqueras andCommonor if he continues to defend the Constitution and the rule of law. Of course, we are very concerned, "says Dolors Montserrat." We collaborate as deputies and with Moncloa when we were in the Government and in this legislature, since the opposition in Spain, we will continue to do so. We know that in Europe when we go together we are stronger and the story and the project of Spain are better defended, "adds the Catalan." I hope that the PSOE does not betray the Spaniards in Europe as it is betraying them in Spain. "
Luis Garicano, head of rows of Citizens, pronounces himself in the same line. "We have worked all three games since October 1. We have always agreed that what happens under the Pyrenees is there. That there are party interests, but also Spain, which must be defended. The campaign for good name of the country, for the independence of the judiciary, for the separation of powers and the rule of law is essential.They try to defame, convince us that we are a banana republic.It is something that, being united, has worked well. the expectation, the desire, I dream, I beg, is for the PSOE to continue seeing it in the same way, "says Garicano.
It is not just a question of image or public relations, but of votes and real capacity for influence in all institutions. Each of the three Spanish parties has important positions in the three main groups of the continent:popular, social democrats andRenew Europe, which brings together the liberals and the party of Emmanuel Macron. To carry out key votes, starting with the request to request that the immunity of Puigdemont and Comn be lifted, requires the support of all three.
And that supposes an important and constant work oflobby. ThepopularThey are,a priori, the ones that offer less reluctance. Within Renew, Citizens have the support of Macron in the independence issue, as well as Romanian, Czech, German and Dutch deputies. But not everyone.
Moncloa says to continue with "the same policy"
Among the socialists there have been more doubts these months and especially after the ruling of theEU Court of Justice. That is why the position and vehemence of your message is key. And that is why statements such as that of the former government spokeswoman, Isabel Cela, that the group has not set one in the face of the supplication caused stupor and indignation among their colleagues.
Sources of Moncloa, Foreign and diplomatic assure this newspaper that the commitment is as firm as ever and that the change of government does not imply or imply any change. The MEPJavier Moreno, president of the socialist delegation, defends the same.
"The Government of Spain continue to develop the same foreign policy as in the last 18 months. Now, with a legislature ahead, continue defending from the unit, loyalty and dialogue the interests of Spanish citizens, as well as values foundations of the EU and the rule of law, "he explains.
Taking great care of the language, Moreno adds that "the commitment remains the same: dialogue and agreement with the political forces with which we share the vision of what is best for Spanish and European society, as we have done so far. And in situations that may compromise the image of Spain Abroad, the Socialist Government has always done a great job and effort of transparency and respect for our institutions, and continue doing so. "
Among the diplomats and politicians consulted there is a consensus that the decision of the EuroCmara on Friday, listening to the reasoning of the Supreme Court, of not considering Junqueras deputy anymore is a "game changer", an event that changes the ground now that Puigdemont openly asks Snchez for" coherence "so that his deputies do not vote in favor of the request.
"With the lack of Oriol at stake, the Socialists had a huge problem. But now that it is the institution that has closed the door, it is easier to maintain the same position as always and lash out against Puigdemont, a common rival. It seemed that he was leaving to have to fight with a hand tied behind his back, and now that they are going to be inside the Chamber, it would have been crazy, "they settle with obvious relief from one of the delegations mentioned.
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. (tagsToTranslate) Spain (t) politics – parties (t) Government (t) Spain (t) European Parliamentary Assembly (t) PSOE (t) Citizens (t) European Parliament (t) United We can (t) PP (t) Dolors Montserrat (t) Supreme Court (t) Carles Puigdemont (t) ERC (t) Emmanuel Macron (t) Oriol Junqueras (t) politician