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The Government has entrenched itself in its refusal to make public the reports required by the European Commission on two of the most important reforms of the Recovery Plan, on which no less than 12,000 million euros depend, the largest tranche of the allocation of funds. As revealed by La Información, these are at least three previous analyzes that Brussels demanded regarding some of the most thorny points in labor and pension matters, which the Spanish Executive sent to the Belgian authorities in October 2021, as stated in the operating agreement released in November. But its content has not transpired and, to this day, both Moncloa and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, at the forefront of exchanges with the community capital, continue to refuse to publish them.

The reports are not going to be made known to the public because it is “preparatory work” for the Recovery Plan, justify government sources asked by this means, which emphasize that the important thing is that both the labor reform and the pension reform they have been done with social dialogue and the milestones committed to with Brussels have been met. In this way, The Government refuses to make public information of great relevance, which has to do with the evaluation made by the Executive of the previous situation of the labor market and the public pension system and the reasons that justify the changes put in place, as well as the impact that the reforms will have on a day-to-day basis of workers and in the quality of life of future retirees. It’s not trivial.


Specifically, we are talking about three ex-ante analyzes on the expected changes in collective bargaining (the recovery of the prevalence of the sectoral agreement in salary matters and the ultra-activity of the agreements, among others); the RED mechanism (the new internal flexibility tool complementary to the ERTE); and the Intergenerational Equity Mechanism of pensions. The Commission asked the Spanish Government to send it additional information on these three reforms and, as stated in the so-called ‘Operational Arrangement’ (OA), Moncloa did the same last October, at least with the first two, which at that time They were being negotiated at the social dialogue table and were approved at the end of 2021.

Specifically, in the OA it is stated that the Spanish Government sent Brussels, via email, before the end of October 2021, an ex-ante evaluation of the “deficiencies of the current legislation on collective bargaining and identification of options to address them”. Likewise, on the same dates, the Government sent a preliminary report on the financing mechanism of the tripartite fund with which it intends to pay for the new RED mechanism of internal flexibility in companies, “ensuring fiscal sustainability in the medium and long term” and including in the evaluation “different options and scenarios”. But three months later, none of the ministries involved in these reforms (Labor and Social Security), nor Moncloa, nor Economy have seen fit to explain the content of these evaluations.

Likewise, in the OA it appears as a requirement in the pension reform (within the so-called ‘Component 30’) that the Government had to transfer to the European Commission another additional report, by way of evaluation, on the impact of the baptized as ‘Mechanism of Intergenerational Equity’ and its effects. Specifically, the Spanish Executive was asked to prove that, after replacing the Sustainability Factor with this new tool, intergenerational equity is “guaranteed”. But, again, neither the Social Security nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs have given an account of the content of that prior evaluation, and that when the mechanism has already been approved by the Government -in this case, without the support of the employers- and is in force from January 1, 2022.

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It is not a minor issue. Although from the Government they initially defended that, unlike what happened after the financial rescue of 2012, this time there would be no ‘men in black’ to monitor compliance with the commitments made with Brussels within the framework of the Recovery Plan, the truth is that now government sources do admit that Community authorities are exercising strict control on the milestones and objectives agreed upon when disbursing the funds, with on-site visits every three months and videoconferences in between. And this is evident in the most critical elements of the Plan, such as the labor and pension reforms, on which a new disbursement of funds of 12,000 million euros depends, the largest of all the tranches.

The Commission is now evaluating the two approved reforms and government sources guarantee that the first impressions are positive. But both in the case of the labor reform and that of public pensions, a prior control over the most far-reaching aspects has already been imposed, through ex-ante reports. Regarding the flexibility RED Mechanism, Brussels has stated that It has no intention of endorsing it until the Government shows that it will not result in a greater public deficit. Regarding the changes in the collective bargaining scheme, where the Government has recovered the prevalence of the sectoral agreement over the company agreement and has reinstated ultra-activity, the European Commission has demanded all the guarantees regarding the maintenance of the balance between the necessary flexibility of the companies and worker safety.

And the controversial MEI is also in the spotlight. In the document signed by the European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, and the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, the Commission demanded that the Government prove in a report how this mechanism is going to guarantee intergenerational equity and also how it will adapt to demographic pressure without bursting the seams of the budget framework. Since this measure has already been approved, this information is already in the possession of the community authorities, but, as in the rest of the cases, the content of the report and the results of the prior evaluation are unknown. The Government insists on entrenching itself and has no intention of making this highly relevant information for society public.

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