A few days ago it was the German chancellor, the social democrat Olaf Scholz, who sounded the alarm in an address to his fellow citizens after the confirmation that the country's economic expectations had plunged to their lowest level since October 2008. This Wednesday, the president of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, hardened the message even further, and in his first cabinet meeting after the summer recess spoke of the end of abundance and of shared assumptions and did not avoid evoking the drama of what lies ahead, which, he said, will consist of the combination of several crises, each one more serious than the previous.
This almost apocalyptic tone of Macron, openly suggesting an outlook of poverty, and the demand to his ministers that they speak "very clearly" to the French people, surprises us here beyond the Pyrenees, accustomed to the fact that the Spanish political class never speak clearly, and take refuge in partisan criticism, hiding the truth as long as possible. I would like to hear Pedro Sánchez talk less about issues on which he really has nothing to say, such as the war in Ukraine, and instead concentrate on presenting a realistic economic discourse, leaving out the arrogance and simply telling us how he plans to approach everything that is on the way.
Europe is preparing for a vertiginous winter and all the PSOE is offering is a sterile and childish debate on the temperature of the air conditioning and heating or on the advantages or not wearing a tie to save energy. Let's return to Germany: finance minister Christian Lindner, leader of the Liberal Party, has proposed a tax cut so that around 10 billion euros remain in the hands of the citizens. It is unlikely to prosper, given that the government is a coalition with the Social Democrats and the Greens, but what is certain to be implemented is the lowering of VAT on gas which will go from 19% to 7% until March 2024. In Spain, VAT on gas is 21%.
Sacrifices will have to be made to defend freedom, Macron said. Meanwhile, the only message being sent by Pedro Sánchez, on tour in South America, this Wednesday in Colombia, is that things are really not so bad in Spain. Indeed, it is a strategy that is very common among Spanish leaders: there is nothing better than an overseas trip to forget about domestic problems, to take the opportunity to criticize the opposition and postpone responses to the economic crisis and inflation. Because autumn, in fact, is here and while in Europe the concern that Russia will turn off the gas tap has been on the rise and gas prices have gone up more than 10%, here we keep forgetting that Chinese proverb that says that when the wise man points to the moon, the fool stares at his finger.