Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has told the country’s regional premiers that he will request a sixth and final two-week extension to the state of alarm.
MPs will vote on the measure on Wednesday, and if it receives the support of lawmakers, the emergency conditions will be in place until June 21.
Sánchez, who leads a coalition government with junior partner Unidas Podemos, also conveyed to the regions’ chiefs that they would recover the majority of the powers that have been recentralised to Madrid during the coronavirus crisis, once their areas are in the final stage of the deescalation plan, Phase 3.
The coalition government lacks a working majority in parliament and has needed support from other parties to extend the state of alarm every two weeks.
On Saturday, it emerged that the government has reached a deal with the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), which will vote in favour of the extension.
Meanwhile, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) will abstain, after voting against the last two extensions. This should ensure a win for the government.
Part of the deal that Sánchez has reached with ERC and PNV is that the regions will take part in decision-making with regard to the distribution of European Union funds that will be disbursed to assist with the reconstruction of the members states’ economies in the wake of the crisis.
Sánchez told regional chiefs that Spain would receive €77 billion in transfers from the EU and €63 billion in credits.
The sectors that will benefit the most are tourism, trade, renewables, automotive, transport, construction and digital.
Two of the conservative Popular Party (PP)’s regional chiefs, Alberto Núñez Feijóo (Galicia) and Juan Manuel Moreno (Andalusia), called on Sánchez to allow the regions to manage the newly launched guaranteed minimum income scheme, which the coalition government says will assist 850,000 families who are at risk of poverty in Spain.
The government has already agreed to transfer these powers to the Basque Country, Catalonia and Navarre.
Feijóo said “Guaranteed minimum income must be managed by the regions so that there is an impartial approach.”
“It would not make any sense for there to be different administrations,” given that other welfare schemes are already administered by the regions.