Vice President Montero estimates the cost of the latest package of anti-inflation measures at 5.35 billion

The first vice president of the Government and Minister of Finance , María Jesús Montero, has estimated the cost of the latest package of measures to combat inflation at around 5.35 billion euros, which includes a 10% VAT on electricity. and free Cercanías throughout 2024.

In an interview with EFE hours before her appointment as first vice president, Montero defended that this series of measures fits into the commitment to reduce the public deficit to 3% of GDP in 2024 “having demonstrated that fiscal consolidation is compatible with the policy.” ” of social protection of the Government.

“The fiscal margin,” he explained, allows us to continue “for a while” with measures that have sustained income in an environment of high prices and thus maintain a policy that has allowed “economic growth not to stop.”

These measures include the extension of bonuses to public transport and the elimination of VAT for basic foodstuffs, as well as others “without economic repercussions”, such as the prohibition of evictions.

Banking and energy taxes will be imposed

Among the approved measures is also the extension for one year of taxes on banking and energy, initially planned for two years, although with bonuses for investment in decarbonization because energy companies must be “encouraged” to move forward in that direction.

These taxes, which were born on an extraordinary basis and in the form of property benefits, are going to be “incorporated into the tax system, that is, to be converted into fiscal figures”, into permanent taxes.

Thus, throughout 2024 it will work “with the parliamentary groups” to give these figures a “structural” character in the form of taxes and it will be in these negotiations that it will be defined from which investments are subsidized in concert with the provincial treasuries.

“We must keep in mind that we ask these sectors not only for fiscal contributions,” but also to “adapt their structures to the 21st century,” especially energy sectors as “protagonists in climate change.”

Free transportation for vulnerable groups is delayed to 2025

On the other hand, the package of measures does not include the free transport for young people and the unemployed that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, had announced, due, according to Montero, to the fact that “all transport measures” in force for all of them have been extended. the population.

Sánchez’s message, Montero indicated, was in the direction of establishing free transportation for vulnerable groups once the exceptional measures are withdrawn and “we are not at that point yet.”

When it arrives, he added, “an evaluation” will be made of the impact of these measures “on the decarbonization of transport” and “by 2025” it will be analyzed with the political groups “which groups we consider priority.”

Budgets at the end of March The vice president has reiterated her intention that the 2024 Budgets, which are still being worked on “within the Government” to adjust them to the new European fiscal rules, be in force at the end of March or beginning of April.

Before that, the deficit path will have to go through the Cortes. “I hope that the Senate (where the PP has an absolute majority) does not threaten” to veto it, he noted, because it would delay the accounts and harm the autonomous communities by preventing them from accessing a more flexible path of stability.

In the event that the Senate overturns the proposed deficit path, the Government will once again refer it to the Cortes and will prepare the Budgets based on the objectives communicated to Brussels in April, which are stricter for the autonomous communities and city councils.

Montero blames Feijóo’s lack of leadership for the delay in regional financing

Montero also assures that he is already working on the reform of the regional financing system, pending for a decade, and that if there is no progress it is due to the lack of leadership of the president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

“Does Mr. Feijóo have leadership within his party to promote a single position on regional financing?

About regional financing

Regional financing “cannot be reformed because there is no single position on the part of the Popular Party,” he argues, which “in each of the territories has a contradictory position with respect to the other” on how services are financed and the weight they It is due to dispersion, aging or insularity.

“The territories have expressed a position of maximums”, but “an autonomous financing model cannot be built as a sum of contradictory parameters and criteria”, but rather it is necessary “for each one to give up a part of that position of maximums to pursue the general model.

“I want to reform the financing model in accordance with the Popular Party,” he emphasizes, “it seems logical to me that the parties that have a greater presence in the entire territory have a common position on regional financing,” given that it is an organic law that It is voted on in the Cortes.

“But,” he clarifies, it is “a complicated exercise that requires leadership, in the same way that we have conveyed to the Popular Party that we want to have that unique position within the PSOE, the Popular Party seems to not want to take that bull by the horns.” ”.

“I will meet with the Popular Party tomorrow if the Popular Party wants, but it is clear that when the President of the Government has told him it seems that he does not want to,” he points out, because they prefer to continue “permanently giving support to the Government.”

Regarding the possibility that the financing of Catalonia be faced independently, Montero limits himself to asking that the PSOE not put “something that we have not said” and that the objective is to promote “an agreement that allows us to establish meeting points ”.

The tax on large fortunes will remain until the reform

The Government has decided this week to extend the tax on large fortunes for another year – which complements the wealth tax in the autonomous communities that have it subsidized – and, affirms the minister, it will remain in place until the regional financing system is reformed.

In fact, the tax “has fulfilled part of its objective”, since several regions have recovered it to prevent resources from going to the State, and in this way it is possible to “minimize the fiscal asymmetries that were occurring” between the communities. with the economic capacity to subsidize it – “the case of Madrid” – and those that do not.

The tax “is intended to survive until regional financing is reformed, where it will fit,” he emphasizes, because in this debate it will be necessary to decide what taxation is “appropriate for these large assets” without producing “situations of fiscal ‘dumping’.” ”.

Montero: The Government’s intention “is not to be the main shareholder of Telefónica”

María Jesús Montero has also assured that the Government’s intention “is not to be the main shareholder of Telefónica”, in which the State has agreed to buy up to 10% of the capital, but rather “one more shareholder” of a company that has defined as “strategic”.

“The Government’s intention is not even to be the main shareholder; “It is to be another shareholder within Telefónica and, above all, to preserve the country’s interests that are closely linked to national defense,” Montero said in an interview with EFE hours before her appointment as first vice president.

By TTU/EEF