During an interview on the Las Mañanas programme on RNE [Spanish National Radio], Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy underlined the need for a government with “extensive parliamentary support capable of tackling the significant challenges currently facing Spain”. “There is a great deal of room for reaching an understanding,” Rajoy said.
As regards whether the round of talks with the political groups begun earlier on Monday by King Felipe VI has been sped up, Rajoy explained that it is taking place “at the appropiate time”; in other words, three or four days after the constitution of Parliament. “I believe we are proceeding on time and in due form, and that nothing out of the ordinary has taken place,” he said.
Rajoy said that, despite the freedom afforded by the fact that a budget has already been approved for 2016, “the sooner a government is in place and fully capable of exercising its duties, the better”. He went on to say that “the truly important thing” is for “Spain to have a government, above all a government that reflects the election results and a government with an agenda and clear objectives in order to tackle the issues that genuinely matter to the people of Spain”. He added that this should be done “as soon as possible”.
In this regard, he underlined the need for an agreement with “extensive parliamentary support capable of tackling the significant challenges currently facing Spain”. In his opinion, the Partido Popular [People’s Party], the PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party] and Ciudadanos [Citizens] are united by such “fundamental” issues as the unity of Spain, the principle of equality among all Spaniards, European policy and foreign affairs policy. They also agree on certain objectives, such as defending the welfare state, economic growth and employment.
“Therefore, even though there are indeed issues on which we disagree, I believe there is a great deal of room for reaching an understanding,” Rajoy said.
Continuing with the reforms
Rajoy said that the formation of this government “would send a positive message out to everyone in Spain and abroad, would generate security and would generate certainty in Spain and in the markets”. This would allow the country to enjoy “four very positive years” because reforms would be undertaken “with extensive support and for a long time”, and would be able to consolidate the economic recovery. He went on to say that the main objective continues to be creating two million jobs over the next four years.
Rajoy then underlined the importance of the reforms undertaken during the previous legislature. “The greatest mistake we could make now would be to go back on ourselves, return to old policies since we all know where they led us”, he said. He highlighted three major objectives looking forward. The first and most important is to create jobs, for which “we need an economic policy like the one we have had in recent years”. Secondly, to maintain and improve the pillars underpinning the welfare state. Thirdly, to fight Jihadi terrorism.
As regards Catalonia, Rajoy stressed that the Government of Spain’s position remains “very clear”: it will resort to the courts whenever any decision is taken that violates the Spanish Constitution, the Statute of Autonomy or the law, because that “is the duty of the Government of Spain.”
Furthermore, he stressed that if the new President of the Regional Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, calls him, he will respond; as he always has and continues to do with any president of any regional government.
Venezuela and Argentina
When asked about the situation in Venezuela, Mariano Rajoy stressed that he wants the same for that country as for Spain: democracy, freedom, human rights, free enterprise and a welfare model. For that reason, he urged the political leaders of Venezuela to “transform the country into a free and democratic nation.”
As regards the change of president in Argentina, Rajoy stressed the good relations he has always maintained with Mauricio Macri, the new President of Argentina. “The first steps are highly positive for Argentina and for the people of Argentina as a whole,” he said.