Moncloa and Genoa blame each other for a disconnect, especially serious in matters of State such as international ones | The Government complains of not having a clear reference between the spokespersons for the area, González Pons as the main person in charge and the diplomats who advise Feijóo
With the first anniversary of Alberto Núñez Feijóo at the head of the PP, if something has not changed compared to his predecessor, Pablo Casado, it is the scarce dialogue between the Government and the main opposition party. Moncloa and Genoa blame each other of a disconnection, especially bleeding on issues related to foreign policy.
In the Executive they accuse the Galician leader of having installed a climate of mistrust, after withdrawing at the last minute from the agreement reached for the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary. At the PP headquarters they regret that from the outset the government has denied them information that the two main parties have traditionally shared. Popular and socialists are no longer linked to state affairs and, although in recent months there have been timid communications, they have not included international issues.
The Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, speaks from time to time with the spokesperson for this area in Congress, valentina martinez. But there are no further contacts, despite the fact that Feijóo has expanded his list of foreign policy advisers with the signing of the diplomat Ramón Gil-Casares for the foundation of the PP. As an audience El Periódico de España, from the Prensa Ibérica group, the Spanish ambassador to the United States and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs with José María Aznar, Gil-Casares, has long been in the orbit of the people who advise Feijóo along with others high-level diplomats such as Juan Pablo García-Berdoy and Ildefonso Castro.
Its incorporation has not gone unnoticed in the Government. The conversations between Albares and Martínez usually take place within the rounds of the minister with the foreign spokesmen of the rest of the groups. A deal that the popular consider unequal because it does not grant any singularity to the first opposition party, the only one with options to preside over the Executive. Outside the parliamentary sphere there is no communication between Genoa and the Ministry.
In Foreign Affairs, the criticisms of the PP are shaken with the argument that the calls are always at the initiative of the minister and never the other way around. “They don’t call,” they say. From the Executive it is also added that they are not even clear to whom they should address because, government sources point out, there is a “lack of clear references.” In short, they do not know what to expect. If the correct vehicle, they maintain, is Valentina Martínez or Pablo Hispan, another of the spokespersons for this area; If Gil-Casares now have to communicate or if international politics is in the hands only of the PP’s Institutional Vice-Secretary, Esteban González Ponswho is the one who accompanies Feijóo on all European outings.
In reality, at least until now, the idea that the PP leader has with that ring of advisers is exclusively that they advise him and provide ideas and positions for his electoral program. Furthermore, Feijóo has been working for months with the idea of being able to reach Moncloa after the next general elections. In the party there was a feeling of emptiness with respect to the international area because all the weight fell on González Pons. And despite his extensive experience in Brussels and being an acquaintance with very good contacts in all European institutions, some voices warned of the need to expand the areas of advice to Latin America or Africa.
Discomfort with Feijóo’s positions
The truth is that, apart from this recrimination about who is the true interlocutor in the PP, what lies behind is a deep malaise of the Executive with Feijóo for his criticism of the Government in the change of position of the Sahara – his support for the autonomy plan of Rabat – to the point of considering that he maintains “anti-Moroccan” positions, despite the fact that all the heads of the Spanish Executive explain, Regardless of whether they have been from the PP or the PSOE, they have recognized the importance of Morocco in foreign policy.
This affair completely poisons the relations between Foreign Affairs and Genoa and influences the absence of communication. The Government does not see that the popular have been modulating their discourse in view of the prospect of governing and, in fact, considers that his lack of strategic vision about the relationship that Spain should have with Morocco makes them “incapacitated” for it.
In Genoa they receive this criticism with astonishment, defending that “the major mistake” was to abandon the historical position of neutrality in the way in which the Government did without taking into account the rest of the parties despite being a matter of State and maximum relevance. The PP insists that Sánchez “has created many problems that did not exist”, giving rise to “very harmful consequences” for Spanish interests. In any case, as this newspaper published, the conservative leader’s order is clear: “look closely” and “take care” of each intervention in Morocco with his eyes set on a future government.
The Bolaños-Gamarra exception
The enormous distance on a nuclear issue makes it less likely that the dialogue will improve in the short term, despite the fact that the relationship between Moncloa and Genoa has improved in recent months. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, maintains a channel open with the general secretary of the PP and spokesperson in Congress, Cuca Gamara. It was he, through this leader, who informed the popular of the content of the royal decree on the military training of Princess Leonor. A deference that he did not have with his own government partners, United We Can, who found out during the Council of Ministers that approved it.
This channel also allowed the Government and the PP to forget their differences and share out the posts on the Council of State. Bolaños offered Gamarra two positions and the general secretary of the PP proposed the names of the former president of La Rioja, Pedro Sanz, and the minister Juan Carlos Aparicio.