They are not just new faces. Pedro Sánchez wants to completely overturn the Government’s message and his new team, with Isabel Rodríguez, spokesperson and Minister of Territorial Policy at the helm, has started the press conference of the first Council of Ministers of the new Executive with a real rain of millions on top of the table and a positive message about Catalonia. An Executive with a friendly tone, with many smiles, humility and requests for “indulgence” to the press, which started with huge figures precisely on the day that Brussels approved the first 9,000 million euros of the recovery fund for Spain. From the pandemic, the pitched battle with the PP, the tension and the constant controversy over pardons, the Executive now wants to move on to the multi-million dollar distribution of investments. 3,600 million to modernize the automotive sector and promote the transition to the electric car, 1,100 million for the autonomies to improve education, 1,600 million to rehabilitate homes, another 1,000 to build public housing for rent … All were exorbitant figures and news positively to get out of the worst of the pandemic and also of the political wear and tear that the Government has suffered.
And in the great political issue that will dominate this second part of the legislature, the relationship with Catalonia, and in which the new face of the Executive, Rodríguez from La Mancha, has a lot to say as Minister of Territorial Policy, all are also good words and desire to flee from the confrontation with the independentistas and even with the PP. Or at least for now.
Rodríguez is recognized as a student of Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who died in 2019, who even now retains great influence over a Government that incorporates his pupils in key positions such as the new Chief of Staff, Óscar López. One of the teacher’s advice includes “never give headlines, or at least give the headline you were looking for.” And that is why he dodged all the sensitive issues, including the decision to appeal or not the decree of the Generalitat that will make it possible to endorse with public money the sentences of the Court of Accounts to independence leaders. And he insisted that she will try to talk about other positive things about Catalonia, such as its great industrial strength, and not just the monothem. It seems clear that Sánchez’s choice for Rodríguez, a manchega very different from Miquel Iceta, the first secretary of the PSC who sounded like a spokesman, implies trying to prevent Catalonia from becoming the central issue of all press conferences on Tuesdays.
The Government believes that a new phase is opening in Catalonia after the granting of pardons and that the time has come to overcome the framework in which the you process it continued to set the political agenda, with its economic and social derivatives. La Moncloa’s intention is to open a new stage in which messages related to Catalonia overcome the context of permanent tension and crisis of recent years. “You have to talk about Catalonia in other terms. Catalonia deserves that we all talk about it in other terms, as a leading territory in the automotive industry ”, stressed Isabel Rodríguez in her first appearance as spokesperson after the remodeling that Pedro Sánchez carried out this Saturday.
The new Minister of Territorial Policy has made it clear that La Moncloa continues to grant the utmost importance to Catalonia, although the objective for the remainder of the legislature is to open the focus and address structural problems in the rest of the country. “Catalonia of course is a key piece in the territorial development of our country,” stressed Rodríguez, who has made it clear that the Government is not going to neglect the situation in the community. “The framework is given: to advance in coexistence, to end a very difficult situation in social coexistence. The president has marked this route with the clear objective of improving it in Catalonia. Channels and tools have been opened. You have to know how to take advantage of them ”.
Faced with the suspicion of sovereign sectors who understand that there is a change in strategy with respect to Catalonia due to the replacement of Miquel Iceta, Rodríguez’s predecessor in the ministry and first secretary of the PSC, as the new Minister of Culture, the new head of Policy Territorial has recognized “the leadership of Catalonia in many areas” and has even highlighted the “affective ties” that unite its community, Castilla-La Mancha, with Catalonia due to the emigration of thousands of people to its industrial sector. “There is no doubt about my affection for Catalonia, the Catalans and the Catalans. There has been no change of address. It is about recovering a path of dialogue with the only clear objective of improving coexistence ”, he has settled after the first meeting of the renewed Council of Ministers.