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This is Spains new cabinet

Pro-European, anti-Catalan separatist and with more women than men. This is the cabinet in Spain&#03..



Pro-European, anti-Catalan separatist and with more women than men. This is the cabinet in Spain's new Socialist government.

Pedro Sánchez is assembling a strongly pro-European cabinet which demonstrates that unlike the new Italian government, Spain remains more committed than ever to the European project and that Madrids deficit reduction commitments to the EU will be respected under Sánchez.

AS IT HAPPENED: Pedro Sanchez is Spain's new PM

The new cabinet also includes two Catalans, whose anti-separatist stance has put them at odds with the regional government there, and whose presence sends the clear message, that despite relying on the Catalan-separatist vote to oust Rajoy, the unity of Spain remains non-negotiable.

The other stark fact about the new cabinet is that, for the first time, women outnumber men.

So far, only 12 cabinet positions of a possible 15 plus the role of Congressional party spokesman have been confirmed. And the roles have overwhelmingly been given to women and at a time when women's rights and issues of equality remain at the forefront of Spanish politics, this can only be a good thing.

Prime Minister: Pedro Sánchez

Photo: AFP

The 46-year-old former economics professor sailed into the history books as the first Spanish politician to unseat a prime minister through a motion of no-confidence.

PROFILE Pedro Sánchez: the triumph of obstinacy

This remarkable feat was achieved despite the fact that Sánchez is not even an MP after he was forced out as party leader two years ago in a party revolt over refusal to break the political deadlock following two inconclusive general elections.

He then beat off a challenge by Susana Díaz, president of the PSOE in Andalusia to be re-elected seven months later.

Nicknamed the comeback-kid and Mr Handsome – he speaks good English and French.

Economy Minister Nadia Calviño

An EU budget manager is tipped to take over as Spain's new economy minister, a move that has been welcomed by Brussels.

READ MORE: Top EU budget official to become Spain's economy minister

She has been director general for budget at the European Commission, but has previous experience in the economy ministry under both the conservatives and Socialists before leaving for the European Union in 2006.

Foreign Minister: Josep Borrell

A minister with strong EU credentials, this 71-year-old was president of the European parliament between 2004 and 2007. He also served as deputy finance minister, and then public works minister, under former Socialist prime minister Felipe González, who was in power between 1982 and 1996.

For a brief period he was leader of the Socialists when they were in opposition in 1998 but was forced to resign a year later after he was implicated in a financial scandal involving two of his former co-workers when he was deputy finance minister.

READ MORE: Josep Borrell: Spain's new foreign minister is ex-EU parliament president

His appointment not only sends the message of Spains commitment to Europe but also serves to make a stand on Catalonia.

Borrell is from Catalonia and has been very vocal in his opposition to the wealthy northeastern region's separatist drive, drawing criticism from independence supporters there.

“Borrells appointment makes the governments stance on Catalonia very clear,” the Socialist partys head of organisation José Luís Ábalos said on Tuesday. “We arent negotiating or committing to anything.”

Minsiter of the Regions: Meritxell Batet

Another Catalan, Meritxell Batet, has been chosen to become minister in charge of relations with Spain's regions. She will have the prickly task of trying to ease the situation in her deeply divided home region.

Deputy Prime Minister and Equality Minister: Carmen Calvo

Introducing Carmen Calvo, new Spanish VP. She was minister of Culture in a previous PSOE cabinet. She said direct rule was necessary to "calm down Catalan society and restore Catalan economy".

— Llapis Llopis (@llapisllopis) June 5, 2018

A former minister of culture under José-Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, this 60-year-old from Cordoba has held the Equality brief in the Socialist Party under Sánchez. With a doctorate in constitutional law she was chosen to represent the PSOE in negotiations with Rajoys government over the implementation of Article 155 in Catalonia, which imposed direct rule from Madrid after the declaration of independence last October.

Budget minister: María Jesús Montero

This portfolio in the Treasury and Public Administrations puts Montero in charge of setting the public sector spending ceiling for 2019, a necessary first step for Spains local and regional governments to make their own budgets

The Socialist are expected to announce a rise in spending after years of austerity under the conservative PP but are still confined by the public deficit reduction obligations. Brussels set a target of 2.2 percent of economic output for 2018, down from 3.1 percent in 2017.

Montero has been in charge of spending in Andalusia and is a close aide of Susana Díaz. Her appointment has been seen as a desire to close the rift between old rivals Sánchez and Díaz and exert influence within the Andalusian arm of the PSOE, which is the most powerful in Spain.

Environment Minister: Teresa Ribera

Photo: AFP

With strong credentials in environment policy and as a global negotiator in the field of climate change, Ribera returns to the ministry she worked in during Zapateros government. She moved on to work in the renewable energy sector, as a consultant for solar energy firm Isofoton and then Iddri, the Paris-based think tank on climate change.

Minster of Public Works and Transport: José Luis Ábalos

Photo: AFP

Seen as the party peacemaker Valencia-born Ábalos has negotiated between the party barons and the leadership and is seen as key to maintaining cohesion in the fractured party. He has acted as party spokesman and will now takeover the portfolio of Public Works, Infrastructure and Transport.

Health and social welfare: Carmen Montón

Photo: PSOE

The second Valenciano in the cabinet is new health minister Carmen Montón. Born in 1976 and trained in medicine, Montón has been head of health services in the Valencia region and rose to prominence under Zapatero as a key supporter of the law to allow same-sex weddings.

PSOE congressional spokesperson: Adriana Lastra

Photo: PSOE

The role of new government spokesman in congress has fallen to Adrina Lastra, a 39-year-old from the Asturian beach town of Ribadesella and one of Sánchezs most loyal supporters.

She will have the difficult job of conveying the governments stance in a parliament where it holds only 84 out of 350 seats.

Science Minister: Pedro Duque

This Madrid-born aeronautical engineer was part of the first team of astronauts in the European Space Agency that went into space in 1998.

Employment Minister: Magdalena Valerio

A politician in the regional government of Castilla–La-Mancha where she had portfolios for employment, tourism and justice before taking on the social security brief in the region. She has been an MP in Spains national parliament since 2011.

Education Minister: Isabel Celaá

Photo: Wikimedia commons

Born in Bilbao in the Basque Country in 1948, Celaá was regional head of education in the Basque government led by Patxi López.

Justice Minister: Dolores Delgado

A high-profile prosecutor whose expertise is in the fight against jihadist terrorism, she is close to the controversial ex-judge Baltasar Garzón who was struck off after trying to bring the crimes committed under the Franco-era to court.

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Spain’s far-right Vox seek to make gains in 28 May local and regional elections



Spain’s third largest political group in the national parliament, the far-right Vox party, is looking to make gains in the local and regional elections due to be held across the country on 28 May.

Since it entered a regional government for the first time in Castilla y León last year, Vox has attacked the unions and pushed polarising positions on social issues, including abortion and transgender rights.

It is now poised to spread its influence beyond the sparsely populated region near Madrid, with the party hoping to make gains in the elections at the end of May.

Surveys suggest the main opposition, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), could need the support of Vox to govern in half of the 12 regions casting ballots, just as it did in Castilla y León last year.

Polls also indicate the PP is on track to win a year-end general election but would need Vox to form a working majority and oust socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his coalition government from office.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal [pictured at a recent rally in Chinchón, near Madrid] has called the PP-VOX coalition government in office in Castilla y León since March 2022 a ‘showroom’ and ‘an example of the alternative Spain needs’.

It is Spain’s first government to include a far-right party since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In Castilla y León, Vox has slashed funding to unions, which the party has vowed to ‘put in their place’ if it comes to power nationally. Trade union UGT was forced to lay off 40% of its staff in Castilla y León last month and scale back programmes to promote workspace safety. Spain’s other main union, the CCOO, is reportedly preparing to follow suit.

Vox has also angered LGBTQ groups by refusing to allow the regional parliament to be lit up in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement, for Pride festivities as in past years when the PP governed alone.

In addition, the regional vice-president, Vox’s Juan García-Gallardo, has railed against a law passed by Spain’s leftist central government that extends transgender rights.

The 32-year-old lawyer warned earlier this month that women would now be ‘forced to share locker rooms with hairy men at municipal swimming pools’.

Vox’s most contested initiative was a proposal that doctors offer women seeking an abortion a 4D ultrasound scan to try to discourage them from going ahead with the procedure.

The idea was swiftly condemned by Spain’s leftist central government, and Castilla y León’s PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco stopped the measure from going ahead.

The issue highlighted the hazards for the PP of joining forces with Vox, which was launched in 2013 and is now the third-largest party in the national parliament.


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Spain – Gas falls below 90 euros per MWh for the first time in almost two months



The price of TTF natural gas for delivery next month has fallen below 90 euros on Friday for the first time in almost two months and closes a week marked by the decision of the European Commission to cap gas with a drop of 29, 36%.
According to data from the Bloomberg platform, gas closed this Friday at 83 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), 8.9% less than the day before and the first time it has lost 90 euros since last October 31.
After months of negotiations, the EU agreed on Monday to set a cap of 180 euros on contracts linked to the Amsterdam TTF index with a price difference of at least 35 euros above the average price of liquefied natural gas in the markets.

EU countries agree on a cap of 180 euros for gas with the support of Germany
In a report this week, the Swiss investment bank Julius Baer indicated that the chances of the mechanism being activated are low and pointed out that the chosen formula was not very effective in avoiding the multiplier effect that gas has on the price of electricity. However, he reiterated what was said in other previous reports: “Energy supply risks are minimal and prices should continue to decline in the future” due to the availability of raw materials from Asia to offset cuts from Russia.

Gas tends to fall during the hot months due to lower demand, but this summer it has reached historic heights as European countries were buying to face the winter with their tanks full and reduce their dependence on Russia. The price fell in September and October due to lower demand once the warehouses were full due to the high temperatures at the beginning of autumn, but in November it picked up again and 66% more expensive.

This article was originally published on Público

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Spain – The retirement age rises to 66 years



Ordinary retirement at age 65 ends for those who have contributed less than 38 years. In fact, 2023 will be the last year in which this can be done since it will be necessary to have a contribution career of a minimum of 37 years and nine months to be able to retire with the reference age of the last century, since it was established in 1919, and once the year is over another quarter will be added to be able to do it without cuts in the benefit.
This requirement means that to access ordinary retirement at age 65 without loss of pay, it will be necessary to have been working, at least, since April 1985 for those who exercise this right in December 2023 and since May 1984 for those who intend to do it in January.

More than ten million contributory pensioners
In the last decade, and coinciding with the implementation of the delay program, the real retirement age of Spanish workers has increased by one year, from 63.9 in 2012 to 64.8 in mid-2022, according to data from the Financial Economic Report of the Social Security included in the General State Budget.

Contributory pensions will have a historic rise of 8.5% as of January as a result of the disproportionate increase in the CPI, while for non-contributory pensions the revision will be 15%. This review will place the average pension of the contributory system at 1,187 euros per pay, while the retirement pension will rise to 1,365, the disability pension will reach 1,122 and the widow’s pension will reach 847, as a result of applying the 8.5% increase.

The Social Security forecasts point to next year, and while waiting to find out the real effects that the rise may have on the payroll due to its “call effect” to bring forward retirement given the opportunity to alleviate with it the penalties for anticipating it, the number of pensioners will consolidate above ten million, with almost two-thirds of them (6.37) as retirees, to which will be added 2.3 million widows and almost one affected by work disabilities.

This record number of pensioners will place the cost of pensions at 209,165 million euros, the bulk of which (196,399, 93.8%) will be used to pay benefits, including non-contributory ones. Health care has a budget of 1,890 million euros and social services another 3,791, while the remaining 7,144 are dedicated to operating expenses.

On the revenue side, the largest contribution comes from the contribution chapter, which will amount to 152,075 million and will leave the gap with contributory benefits at 36,765.
The imbalance will be covered by a contribution of 38,904 from the Government, to which is added a chapter of others worth 18,116 and which includes everything from sanctions to asset disposals, among other concepts.

Read more of this from the source Público

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