El presidente del Gobierno y del Partido Popular, Mariano Rajoy, ha pedido “perdón” esta semana por las noticias de corrupción que han salido a la luz los últimos días y que afectan a su partido, durante la sesión de control al Gobierno en el Senado. En este sentido, el líder del Partido Socialista, Pedro Sánchez, sigue exigiendo al PP medidas de transparencia, pues lo considera “la meca de la corrupción”, al mismo tiempo que propone sus propias medidas de regeneración democrática tras haber roto el diálogo con dicho partido.
1. Mariano Rajoy se disculpa por la corrupción en el Partido Popular. Paloma Cervilla describe en ABC el mensaje de Mariano Rajoy: un primer mensaje de disculpas, un segundo mensaje de comprensión a los ciudadanos y un tercer mensaje de esperanza, pues está dispuesto a luchar contra la corrupción. Por su parte, Federico Quevedo opina en El Confidencial que debido a los casos de corrupción que afectan a su partido, los ánimos en el Partido Popular están hundidos, y que las noticias de corrupción son la gasolina que alimenta a Podemos, sin necesidad de hacer campaña electoral. Marisa Cruz comparte la misma tesis en El Mundo, y dice que la “Operación Púnica” ha sumido a buena parte de los cargos del PP en un estado de shock y miedo a la respuesta que los votantes le reservarán en las urnas.
2. El PSOE descarta el pacto con el PP contra la corrupción. Juan Carlos Merino explica en La Vanguardia que Pedro Sánchez quiere marcar el paso de Mariano Rajoy ante la sucesión de escándalos con una batería de medidas de regeneración democrática. Fernando Garea dice en El País que al líder de la oposición, Pedro Sánchez, no le basta con la petición de perdón de Rajoy y quiere que el presidente del Gobierno vuelva a acudir al Congreso la semana próxima para hablar monográficamente de la corrupción.Luis Ángel Sánz opina en El Mundo que el PSOE de Pedro Sánchez da la máxima prioridad a la limpieza de la vida pública, y además de presentar 33 medidas de lucha contra la corrupción, ha dado oficialmente por rotas las conversaciones con el PP para alcanzar acuerdos en este sentido.
Tras el anuncio de la semana pasada del presidente de la Generalitat de Cataluña, Artur Mas, la consulta soberanista ha dejado de tener características de referéndum, convirtiéndose en una especie de proceso participativo.
1. La recomposición de la unidad soberanista. Miquel Noguer opina en El País que el Gobierno catalán pide ayuda al frente soberanista para garantizar que la consulta alternativa del 9 de noviembre sea un “éxito”, antes de hablar de adelanto electoral. José Antonio Zarzalejos desvela en El Confidencial que el presidente de la Generalitat anunciará antes del próximo 9 de noviembre su compromiso de convocar elecciones autonómicas anticipadas, para cuya fecha se maneja el 25 de enero. Salvador Sostres sostiene en El Mundo que adelantar elecciones sin la lista unitaria sería el fin de la carrera política de Artur Mas. Y añade que aunque el líder de ERC, Oriol Junqueras, se siente decepcionado por Mas, no están interesados en aparecer como los rompedores de la unidad, y por ello los dirigentes de Esquerra se han inscrito como voluntarios de la recogida de firmas del 9N. Por su parte, la más pequeña de las formaciones soberanistas, la CUP, se retira de las negociaciones con CiU, ERC e ICV, porque entiende que el éxito de la consulta alternativa que impulsa Artur Mas no se logrará a través de un acuerdo político, sino sobre la base de la movilización popular.
2. Distanciamiento entre Pedro Sánchez y Susana Díaz. Isabel Morillo explica en El Confidencial que la líder de los socialistas andaluces, Susana Díaz, tras varias semanas centrada en Andalucía, ha vuelto al foco nacional, dejando clara su “autonomía” frente a Pedro Sánchez y su deseo de liderar el debate territorial llevando la voz cantante del PSOE frente al problema de Cataluña. Gabriel Sanz opina lo mismo en ABC, pero añade que la decisión de Susana Díaz de retirarse de la carrera por la Secretaría General del PSOE llevaba una condición no escrita: que la política territorial fuera control del socialismo andaluz. Anabel Díez sostiene además en El País que las opiniones de la gobernante andaluza sobre cuestiones territoriales tienen relevancia, ya que preside el Consejo de Política Federal, órgano en el que se debate y aprueba el modelo para España de los socialistas.
3. El Partido Popular celebra su Comité Ejecutivo Nacional. Marisol Hernández apunta en El Mundo que uno de los temas más tratados fue el caso de las tarjetas opacas de Caja Madrid, por el que el ex vicepresidente del Gobierno, Rodrigo Rato, está imputado. En este sentido, Marisa Cruz opina que Rato cede a la presión de Génova y renuncia temporalmente a la militancia. Por su parte, Antonio Casado dice en El Confidencial que con la suspensión temporal de la militancia, el PP resolvió en el Comité Ejecutivo la resolución del conflicto interno sobre el modo de ejecutar políticamente a Rodrigo Rato. Y esto, dice Antonio Casado, en nombre de la regeneración democrática prometida y mirando de reojo a Podemos.Paloma Cervilla explica en ABC que la decisión de Rato relaja la tensión interna que existía entre los dirigentes del PP, al mismo tiempo que le evita a Mariano Rajoy “el mal trago” de expulsarlo.
On October 14th a significant event took place: Artur Mas, President of Catalonia and of the political party Convergència i Unió (CiU),held a press conference to explain the process of referendum to be held on November 9th. His message was clear: there will be open locals, polls and ballots.
Almost a month earlier, on September 19th, the Parliament of Catalonia had passed the Law on a non-binding public consultation. Almost 80% of regional MPs supported it, which is a large overall majority. On Saturday September 27th, Artur Mas signed the subsequent Decree convening a consultation (referendum) on independence to take place on November 9th.
In response, the Government of Mariano Rajoy, via Council of Ministers, lodged on September 29th an appeal before the Constitutional Court against both the Law and the Decree. In turn, the Constitutional Court has suspended the entry into force of both Catalonian resolutions while it deliberates on the appeal against them.
During his press conference, Artur Mas said that the November 9th is a preliminary consultation, and that this will be followed by the final consultation in which several political parties should submit a joint candidacy to convene early elections and advocate for an official referendum. However, this joint candidacy of several parties is still in the air, because as Mas said himself, the political consensus has weakened. This is an implicit allusion to Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña, ERC) and the Socialist Party of Catalonia (Partido Socialista de Cataluña, PSC) and the possibility that they will withdraw their support for the consultation.
The governing Popular Party interprets President Mas´ press conference as a “victory of democracy”, as “a step back” and a “waiver” of Artur Mas to hold the consultation. As for alternative legal frameworks, president of the Popular Party and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said they will appeal these alternative ballots if they see a-legalities.
Meanwhile, the first secretary of the Socialist Party of Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, has described as “cheating” and an “error” the alternative consultation proposed by the President of the Catalan Government, believing that it lacks the minimum democratic guarantees. As a result of the alleged new terms of the consultation, , Iceta has claimed that the Catalan Socialists will not participate in the preparatory campaign.
Regarding the pro-consultation political parties Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña, ERC), Initiative for Catalonia (Iniciativa per Cataluña- Verds, ICV) and Candidature of Popular Unity (Candidatura de Unidad Popular,CUP) accuse Mr. Mas of renouncing to the agreed consultation and of replacing it with a participatory process.
International Press views
Tobias Buck, from the Financial Times, thinks that the latest Catalan move suggests Mr. Mas is reluctant to trigger a head-on clash with Madrid, or to openly defy a legal ruling by Spain’s highest court.Raphael Minder says in The New York Times that the voteon November 9th will look similar to what had initially been planned, organized with the help of more than 20,000 volunteers, held in polling stations across Catalonia and with the backing of 920 town halls that recently voted in favor of a secession ballot in November. Regarding the legal framework, Raphael Minder states that Catalonia will push forward with a planned November vote on independence but in a modified way under existing frameworks allowed for citizen participation, in an attempt to skirt restrictions imposed by the Spanish courts.In the same way, Ben Sills, from Bloomerg, qualifies the movement of Mr. Mas as an “informal” ballot for November 9th that will allow Catalans to vote, but won’t have legal force. Raphael Minder agrees with this and adds that this informal ballot would struggle to receive international legitimacy.
The president of CiU, Artur Mas, loses political consensus.As Artur Mas recognized in the press conference, the political consensus on the celebration of the referendum with the rest of the Catalan political parties about has been weakened. Matt Moffett, in an interview to Salvador Cardus -a sociologist and member of the National Transition Advisory Council- notes that Artur Mas’ new plan has “less democratic and symbolic force”. Raphael Minder, from the New York Times, highlights that in the coming weeks Mr. Mas will also have to face a significant challenge in keeping other pro-independence parties aligned with his governing party, Convergencia I Unió. Ashifa Kassam from The Guardian thinks that Artur Mas is caught between defying the Constitutional Court and the pro-independence parties pushing for the vote to go ahead.
The Popular Party considers the process closed. The leader of the Catalan Popular Party, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, considers the press conference of Artur Mas as a step backwards, a defeat, and a victory of the democracy. As Tobias Buck says in the Financial Times, Mariano Rajoy, Spain´s prime minister, qualifies Artur Mas latest decision as a way to abandon the planned referendum, and greeted it as “excellent news”. Matt Moffett in the Wall Street Journal holds that after Mr. Mas’s remarks, Vice President Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters that the Government would analyze the new plan to see if it can be contested in the Constitutional Court.
The Socialist Party retains the federalist option. The leader of the Socialist Party, Pedro Sánchez – followed by the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party, Miquel Iceta- offers both Artur Mas and Mariano Rajoy the proposal for a federal reform of the Constitution. Ben Sills, from Bloomberg, describes Sanchez’s position as a path to clear the way for a negotiated settlement.
The minority political forces position themselves towards the new way of continuing with the Catalan consultation. The rest of the Catalan sovereignty’s block, ERC, Democratic Convergence (CDC), Democratic Union (UDC), ICV, EUiA (Catalan branch of IU) and CUP are joined in their criticism of the decaffeinated process that Artur Mas is leading. In the same way, Matt Moffett holds in the Wall Street Journal that some pro-independence political parties feel that the referendum has been greatly devalued. Raphael Minder in the New York Times puts on the spotlight Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, aleft-wing secessionist party enjoying the second-largest representation in the Catalonia’s Parliament. The party’s leader, Oriol Junqueras issued a statement suggesting that it wanted early elections to move swiftly toward a unilateral declaration of independence.Ben Sills explains in Bloomerg ERC’s position,which has led Junqueras to offer Mas qualified support for his new goal. Without agreeing to join Mas’s ticket in the next regional ballot, he said he would do everything he could to make the plan work. Albert Rivera, president of Ciudadanos, an anti-separatist Catalonian party, believes that “Republican Left of Catalonia merely observes how Mas flees forward and commits political suicide”. Meanwhile, the leader of UPyD, Rosa Díez, has been critical of Mas’s decision to maintain the sovereignty consultation and announced that UPyD will enlarge the complaint filed against him two weeks ago in the Supreme Court to include these “fraudulent” actions.
The consultation on November 9th will go ahead.The referendum on November 9th will be carried out on the basis of a different legal framework to the Law on a non-binding public consultation (which has been suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court). The Catalan Government will design an ad-hoc legal framework for citizen participation. Mr. Mas has not provided the details of such framework as he doesn´t want to give any clues to the Central Government.
Tobias Buck says in the Financial Times that the legal basis the Catalan government will use to organize and finance the informal consultation is not clear. Mr. Buck also believes that Mr. Mas will be under pressure to show how the planned consultation differs from a series of informal independence ballots held in some Catalan towns in 2009.
Matt Moffett reveals in the Wall Street Journal a key difference between the new plan and the original: the central role of volunteers. In this new scenario, these will be essential in helping to administer the process, rather than Catalan government officials. Another key aspect of the new process is that participants would register at the moment they vote. And he adds that Catalan officials were reluctant to use the local census data as a basis for voter rolls, because of the fear of an additional court challenge.
Raphael Minder says in the New York Times that the Artur Mas’s alternative plan is less likely to push Spain into a constitutional crisis, even if it creates further political and legal uncertainty and continues to be opposed by the Central Government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Artur Mas has not referred to the possibility of amending the Constitution, but he said that if the Spanish Central Government makes a specific offer, he will examine it and see if it is supported by the Catalan citizens..Regarding the scenario of early elections, Artur Mas understands it as a “referendum or consultation in the form of elections.” It means ordinary elections called by the President of the Generalitat, in which some political parties submit a joint candidature and receive absolute majority. The ultimate aim is to hold a referendum, as Mr. Mas does not contemplate the joint candidature for any other purpose. He is the only one who can proclaim elections so he has said he is open to opinions from other political parties on his idea of these elections for a referendum, and has left the ball on their roof. Fiona Maharg-Bravo says in Thompson Reuters Breaking Views that Catalonia’s independence would be messy, non-consensual and fraught with many legal uncertainties.
Social platforms position themselves surrounding the Catalan consultation. In general terms, the pro-consultation platforms do not consider the possibility of any other choice than the November 9th referendum –despite the abovementioned alternative of the anticipated elections, so they insist pressuring Catalonia’s president Artur Mas.
The activity of the Catalan National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional Catalana, ANC) has focused on collecting signatures to support the independence consultation, celebrating various concentrations demanding the referendum and it also led the preparations for the celebration of the Catalan National Day Diada, last September 11th. In that respect, Ben Sills remarks in Bloomberg the hundreds of thousands of supporters of independence who were on the streets of Barcelona Sept. 11th to mark Catalan National Day.
Other pro-consultation associations, which are less influential, such as Omnium Cultural and Súmate, have also presented several initiatives and events to convince more voters.
By contrast, the Catalan Civil Society (Sociedad Civil Catalana, SCC), an anti- independence entity, has been organizing demonstrations in various towns in Catalonia calling for the unity of Spain and against independence.
Finally, Clean Hands, the collective of public servants, has filed a writ before the National Court requesting the suspension and the subsequent illegalization of the Catalan National Assembly, based on the listing of 24 actions that it considers offences. .
Raphael Minder in The New York Times believes that Mr. Mas must now hope that a nonbinding referendum can generate enough popular enthusiasm amid discord among the main secessionist parties and without any legal guarantees from the government of Spain.
Sólo participan CiU, Esquerra, Iniciativa y la CUP
Alfonso González de León| 13 octubre, 2014
Los partidos catalanes tras la aprobación de la Junta Electoral. El uno de octubre el Pleno del Parlamento de Cataluña designó a los siete miembros de la comisión de control de la Ley de Consultas, comisión que ejercerá funciones asimilables a una “junta electoral”. Los diputados de los partidos del bloque soberanista (CiU, Esquerra, Iniciativa y CUP) han sido los únicos que han participado en la votación, pero han sido suficientes para facilitar la elección de los miembros de la junta electoral. Por su parte, el PSC, el PP y Ciutadans han coincidido, con matices, que se estaba cometiendo una ilegalidad, e incluso un acto delictivo tras la suspensión acordada por el Constitucional. El Gobierno y el Partido Popular impugnarán ante los tribunales el decreto por el que se constituye y designa la junta electoral. Paloma Cervilla interpreta en ABC esta actuación como que Mariano Rajoy “mueve ficha” ante el tema soberanista.
In a frantic year of institutional changes in the European Union, it is now time for the new European Parliament and the European Council to approve the 27 Commissioners designated by the recently appointed Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker.
All through last week and up to October 7th, Juncker´s team of Commissioner designates have facedscrutiny from MEPs in a round of hearings that are part of the process to get them confirmed. In addition to five written questions from MEPs that the potential Commissioners need to reply in writing, they also face a three-hour grilling session to answer questions by the MEPs on the portfolios they have been nominated to take up, in order to assess their suitability. The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament will declare in principle the hearings closed and there should be a vote in Plenary on October 22nd.
If all goes well, the new Commission will take office as of 1st November for the next five years, and the changes Juncker has announced in the arrangement of portfolios will finally be put into practice. Not only are most of the designated Commissioners new to the post, but the elected Commission President has also reallocated certain portfolios to different Directorate Generals (DGs) and has created a much talked-about system of Vice-Presidents who are in charge of specific DGs arranged in clusters.
New faces, new competences
These changes are particularly visible in the field of intellectual property, where the soon-to-be Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society (DES), Günther Oettinger, will now be under the umbrella of the Digital Single Market cluster, directed by Commission Vice-president, Andrus Ansip, and will also take over files that were previously under different DGs.
Oettinger, a 60 year-old conservative German politician, is chancellor Merkel´s ally and is not new to the job since he was the Commissioner for Energy in the previous Commission, but he has no previous experience in IP and broader technology issues. His hearing before the committees of industry and research (ITRE) and culture and education (CULT) on Monday 29th September was considered by experts to be convincing but slightly unenthusiastic and vague on specific policy options.
His new responsibilities as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society will include taking over from outgoing Neelie Kroes´ former DG Connect (Communications Networks, Content & Technology), but also the units responsible for copyright – which was formerly under DG Market (internal market) and is being transferred -, and the Creative Europe Programme, the European Commission’s framework programme for support to the culture and media sectors, which was until now in DG Education and Culture.
As for the new head of the Digital Single Market, Commissioner Vice-President Andrus Ansip, he is a former Estonian Prime Minister who has been appointed by Juncker to steer and impulse one of the ten priorities of the Juncker Commission – the Connected Digital Single Market. Iin the written answers he had submitted to Parliament´s questions ahead of his hearing he reinstated his fervent support for the Digital Single Market of the EU. While Oettinger´s appointment has been welcomed with lukewarm reactions, Ansip has been welcomed much more enthusiastically since as Prime Minister he has led Estonia to be at the forefront of technology and e-services.
Another relevant face for the next term will be V?ra Jourová of the Czech Republic, a former Czech regional development minister who has been nominated by Juncker to be the Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality Commissioner and will as such be in charge of the ongoing data protection reform. Jourová appeared before the European Parliamente committees of legal affairs (JURI), civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE), women´s rights and gender equality (FEMM) and internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) on October 1st and apparently failed to convince MEPs of her suitability for the role. If her appointment is confirmed, she will also fall under Ansip´s umbrella of the Digital Single Market cluster.
Also worth noting is the fact that Juncker´s own head of cabinet, Martin Selmyar, is also technology and digital-savvy. As former head of cabinet of Viviane Reding, former Commissioner for Justice, he was partly competent for data protection issues, and he previously worked as legal advisor at Bertelsmann, with special focus on audiovisual, telecommunications and competition issues.
Hot issues –the priorities for the next five years
Oettinger made it clear during his hearing before the European Parliament that copyright enforcement is at the top of his list of priorities. His predecessor, outgoing Commissioner for the Internal Market Michael Barnier has struggled during his term to impulse copyright reform.
A Commission White Paper (a preamble to legislative proposals) on “A Copyright Policy for Creativity and Innovation in the European Union” initially drafted by Barnier´s DG Market was due in June 2014, but was postponed until after the summer after other DGs (notably DG Connect and its Commissioner Neelie Kroes) judged the draft not to be ambitious enough. Barnier recently acknowledged that the controversial document will not see the light before the end of his term and that the new Commission will have to take on the file.
The political direction of the new Commission with regards to this issue remains to be seen, since Oettinger stressed before the European Parliament that he stands for reliable protection of copyright but was not more specific on his views on the topic and on how he intends to balance the traditionally different approaches of his predecessors Barnier and Kroes. Stakeholders from the right-holders community such as the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) have already expressed their concern at the move of the copyright file to the new DG Digital Economy and Society at the risk that this DG might promote the interests of internet service providers over rightholders’ interests.
Equally important is the package of telecom reforms. Following the European Commission´s proposal of September 2013 to launch a wide reform of the telecoms sector, the European Parliament adopted the “Connected Continent” package of telecom reforms in March 2014. The file was steered by Spanish MEP Pilar del Castillo and the ball is now in the court of the European Council (the Heads of State and Government), who has to vote on the legislative proposal with the amendments drafted by the Italian government (holding the rotating Presidency of the Council until 31st December 2014).
The Italian Presidency has vowed to get the reform approved before the end of the year but negotiations are proving to be difficult. Oettinger, who is seen as more sympathetic to the big telecoms companies than his predecessor Kroes, will have to ensure that the modernization of the sector is finalized during his term and that a compromise is reached on issues like roaming charges and net neutrality.
The pending reform of data protection rules is also on Oettinger´s list but will be led by his colleague Jourová, under the supervision of Commission Vice-President Ansip. The Commission´s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation which plans to unify data protection within the EU was adopted by Parliament earlier this year and is awaiting a decision by the European Council. If approved, the Regulation would extend EU data protection law to all foreign companies processing data of European residents. This issue has come into the limelight as the negotiations between the EU and the US to conclude a trade and investments agreement (TTIP) are ongoing and also in the wake of the NSA surveillance scandal, which has triggered a larger debate about privacy and the Internet.
If Oettinger´s new portfolio was considered by some not to be a big enough file for a German Commissioner, others believe that German chancellor Angela Merkel is interested in keeping a close eye on data protection and that this would justify Juncker´s choice. Oettinger, for his part, will also take the lead on the reform of the e-privacy Directive and cyber security issues.
Jean-Claude Juncker has said before and after being elected that he considers the digital agenda to be key for the new Commission. Together with his college of Commissioners, a lot of work needs to be done to get there in the next five years. There is a delicate balance to be struck between enabling technology and services and at the same time protecting right-holders and consumers, balancing national interests and more generally, keeping up with technology advances in a sector where technology and the changes it produces in business and society as a whole move faster than policy-making.
José Ignacio Wert y Josep Piqué analizan los retos a los que se enfrentan los jóvenes españoles
David Córdova| 2 octubre, 2014
Foro de Medios Internacionales organiza el desayuno-debate con D. José Igancio Wert y D. Josep Piqué
2 de Octubre, Madrid
D. José Ignacio Wert, Ministro de Educación, Cultura y Deporte y D. Josep Piqué, Vicepresidente y Consejero Delegado de OHL, han analizado los retos a los que se enfrentan los jóvenes españoles para acceder al mercado laboral.
El desayuno-debate ha profundizado sobre las características del capital humano para contribuir al éxito de las empresas españolas en un entorno globalizado.
El desayuno ha tenido lugar en el Hotel AC Santo Mauro y ha sido presidido por D. Eduardo Serra, Presidente de la Fundación Transforma España, y moderado por Dª Elena Herrero-Beaumont, Socia de Vinces. El desayuno se ha desarrollado de manera distendida entre los participantes y un grupo de periodistas internacionales.
La educación tanto en España como en otros países europeos, se enfrenta a numerosos retos. Uno de ellos y fundamental, es cómo lograr que los jóvenes españoles adquieran una formación adecuada para acceder al mercado laboral.
Tanto D. José Ignacio Wert como D. Josep Piqué han mostrado sus opiniones sobre cómo el talento de los jóvenes españoles contribuye a que nuestras empresas logren ofrecer con éxito sus productos y servicios en un mercado global.
Foro de Medios Internacionales es una iniciativa impulsada por VINCES y Fundación Transforma España con el objetivo de crear un canal de comunicación entre los medios internacionales y el sector público y privado de España. El Foro refuerza así la comunicación oficial que se está llevando a cabo desde el gobierno y desde los sectores empresariales, ofreciendo información de contexto que resulte de utilidad a los periodistas internacionales en el desarrollo de su actividad, con la idea de promover la comunicación de los intereses públicos y privados de nuestro país en el exterior.