CORONAVIRUS

Spanish Congress approves new proposals for coronavirus recovery effort

The lower house voted in favor of three documents regarding the European Union, healthcare and the economy, but did not pass one on social policies

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Congress on Wednesday.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Congress on Wednesday.Chema Moya / EFE

Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies, approved on Wednesday the majority of the conclusions from the coronavirus economic and social recovery commission, which was formed in May with the aim of designing plans to help Spain bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The commission, which is made up of politicians from all parties, put forward a series of recommendations on four different issues: the European Union, healthcare system, economic reform and social policies.

The social policies document included recommendations for the rental market, the basic minimum wage and the fight against gender violence

Congress approved all of the documents, except the one regarding social measures, which included recommendations for the rental market, the basic minimum wage and the fight against gender violence.

The text on public healthcare received 256 votes in favor, 88 against and three abstentions; the economic recommendations received 169 votes in favor, 168 against and 101 abstentions; while the European Union guidelines received 276 votes in favor, 59 against and 13 abstentions.

The social policies document, which sought to reinstate a large part of the welfare state, was voted down by lawmakers from the conservative Popular Party (PP), Ciudadanos (Citizens), the far-right Vox, as well as some regional parties like the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV). In total, it received 172 votes in favor, 175 against and one abstention.

Spain’s minority government is run by a coalition between the Socialist Party (PSOE) and junior partner Unidas Podemos and it needs the votes of other parties to pass key legislation. In an effort to secure support for the four texts, the government agreed to 61 transactional amendments with eight different political parties.

Although the recommendations for social policies were rejected by Congress, the government can salvage the measures in other proposals or within its budget plans for 2021.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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