Spain Safeguards European Green Deal

The Spaniards were called to the polls on Sunday July 23 for early legislative elections. While the right was given the big winner, it ultimately outstripped the Socialist Party by only a few votes. This result is a brake on the strategies of alliance between right-wing and far-right parties in power in other European countries such as Sweden, which weaken the European strategy around its green pact. The far-right Vox party is no longer the natural ally of the popular party and negotiations continue to form a new government.

Spain whistles the end of the game. While the forecasts were counting on a landslide victory for the Spanish right and the far right, in line with previous elections in Sweden, Finland, Italy and Greece, the Partido popular (PP) ultimately only outstrips the PSOE, the socialist party of current Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, by a few votes.

Conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP finally won 136 seats out of a total of 350 in the Congress of Deputies, while the far-right Vox party, its only potential ally, won 33. They therefore only total 169 seats, far from the absolute majority, which is 176. radical, of 31.

“The retrograde bloc of the Popular Party and Vox has been defeated. Many more of us want Spain to continue to advance and so it will be,” Pedro Sanchez told euphoric activists shouting “No pasarán” (“They won’t pass!”), an anti-fascist slogan from the Civil War.

“Climate change, don’t you care?”
The campaign of the left, centered on the fear of an entry of the extreme right into the government in the event of victory of the PP, seems to have paid off. Turnout reached nearly 70%, or 3.5 points more than in the last ballot in November 2019. The ballot notably aroused unusual interest abroad due to the possibility of this PP/Vox coalition coming to power in a country considered a pioneer in terms of women’s rights or those of the LGBT+ community.

These are the subjects that unsurprisingly dominated the debates, to the detriment of climate change, despite the drought that is hitting the country and the temperature records broken just a few days before the election. To strike the spirits, Greenpeace deployed a giant banner on July 11 Puerta de Alcala, in the heart of the Madrid capital, to alert the candidates and the population. We see the faces of the four main candidates with this provocative slogan: “Do you care about climate change?”

Environmental organizations including Extinction Rebellion, Friday for Future, Greenpeace, WWF, Amigos de la Tierra and Rebelion cientifica have also called for “voting for the planet” and uniting against parties “denying or delaying the fight against climate change when the moment is crucial”. If they have never mentioned the names of parties, we easily recognize the PP and Vox.

Exit from the Paris Agreement

In its program comparator, Greenpeace thus estimates that the PSOE and Sumar propose “measures with different degrees of ambition and always in line with advancing in the fight against climate change, the protection of diversity and the strengthening of administrations to guarantee rights”. While on the other side, the PP “proposes measures that delay and soften the objectives and schedules set, or that involve sharp setbacks” and Vox defends “negationist measures and a return to past scenarios that no longer have their place”. For example, he plans to leave the Paris Agreement.

Negotiations are now at work to try to achieve a majority on one side or the other. If necessary, Spain, which has already had four general elections between 2015 and 2019, would be condemned to a new ballot. This would seem all the more complicated since the country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of December and the European elections are scheduled for June 2024.

The message of the Spaniards is clear: there is no royal road for the strategy of union of the rights wanted by Manfred Weber, the current leader of the EPP, the European conservative party. It has already lost a first round with the adoption of the Nature Law on July 12. The electoral result of Sunday, July 23 is a second lost round. The strategy of relying on the breakthroughs of Georgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia in Italy, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s Law and Justice Party (PiS) and that of Vox in Spain to win the European elections next year on the all right, is under attack. The summer of all the climatic dangers in Southern Europe could come to thwart the plans of all these great defenders of intensive agriculture with openly climatosceptic speeches.

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