Pedro Sánchez closes with a very negative balance before facing the Good Friday Via Crucis: Germany resists the pounding of southern Europe and there will not be a mutualisation of the debt, as Spain demanded. Neither will there be a mutualisation of its political failure in the coronavirus crisis. On Thursday the Spanish president suffered a setback at the Congress of Deputies, where his proposal for “new Moncloa Pacts” was only accepted by one political party outside of his coalition government with Unidas Podemos: Ciudadanos, led by Inés Arrimadas. Arrimadas’s embrace is that of a party whose ideas are opposed to those that took Sánchez to Moncloa, but that is not really a novelty in his zigzagging policy.
Neither the Catalan nor the Basque pro-independence parties, which for obvious reasons do not wish to end up trapped in the invisible web of recentralization that continuously progresses, nor the People’s Party, nor extremist Vox, which are trying to bring down the government at all costs, bought the framework presented by Sánchez and Iván Redondo who, with every passing day, appear before the public completely overwhelmed by the colossal impact of the coronavirus.
The IMF predicts the economic consequences will be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The fall of the Spanish GDP stands now at double digits, and a survey published in Germany shows that 45% of its citizens believe the severity of the Spanish coronavirus crisis is due to the inefficiency of its central and regional governments. That one in two German citizens are against the Spanish governments means it will be much harder for Germany and the northern and southern European countries to be willing to accept something that goes far beyond providing the economic relief Spain needs.
Mutualising means sharing, and that, Merkel must believe, is a different kettle of fish, given the use Spain has made of EU aid on many occasions. Perhaps Sánchez will get down from his pedestal, assume his mistakes in the management of the coronavirus crisis and start on a different path from the one he has taken to date. But that is perhaps impossible.