December 11. 2023. 11:18

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Sánchez recruits two MEPs to complete ‘Europeanised’ government

Green EU lawmaker Ernest Urtasún has joined Spain’s new government as the minister of culture and The Left’s MEP Sira Rego will be the new minister for youth and children, the new-old Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Monday (20 November).

After being sworn in on 17 November, following inconclusive elections in July and tough coalition-building talks, Sánchez presented the new cabinet on Monday, describing it as a government with a “high political profile” to ensure “a stable mandate”.

Sánchez has a tricky road ahead, relying on 15 left-wing parties – all within the macro-coalition Sumar – and four nationalist Catalan and Baque parties, facing a united opposition of centre-right PP (EPP) and far-right Vox (ECR) that will vote against any decision put forward by the government.

Reflecting such a complex governing coalition and unstable political landscape, Sánchez has carefully allocated the ministries – 17 for the socialists and five for Sumar.

“The new government will have a strong feminist accent, with four female vice-presidents and more female ministers than male ministers. It will also be a ‘continuist’ government in the economic area and also in the so-called State ministries(…) And it will prioritise dialogue and negotiation in a legislature that will be key to Spain’s social and territorial cohesion”, he said during a press conference in the PM’s residence.

The two MEPs are part of Sumar.

Sira Rego will hold the brand new Ministry of Youth and Children, filling the ministerial quota for the Izquierda Unida (United Left), one of the heavyweights in Sumar.

Raised in Palestine, Rego is a professional nutritionist affiliated with the communist party who started her political career in 2007 as a councillor in the village of Rivas-Vaciamadrid. She entered the European Parliament in 2019.

MEP Ernest Urtasún, the spokesperson of Sumar who comes from the Green-affiliated Catalan party En Comú Podem (Together We Can), will take over the Ministry of Culture.

The progressive coalition and the entry of Urtasún “make the Sánchez III government the Greenest Spanish government ever”, the European Green Party said in a press release, adding a new country to their ministerial roster.

Urtasún studied economy and international relations in Barcelona and worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before being elected for the first time as an MEP in 2014.

Many ministers with EU profiles

Sánchez’s government will have three other ministers with a previous career in EU institutions.

Socialist Vice-President and Minister of Economy Nadia Calviño – the leading candidate to head the European Investment Bank – held office in the European Commission as the director general in charge of budget between 2014 and 2018. She previously worked as deputy director general in DG COMP for financial services, mergers, and antitrust.

Sumar’s Pablo Bustinduy, the new minister for social rights, consumption, and agenda 2030, ran for the EU elections in 2019 and worked in the European Parliament as the coordinator for Podemos lawmakers.

Luís Planas, who will continue leading the Ministry of Agriculture, was elected MEP between 1986 and 1993. After being appointed ambassador to Morocco in 2004, he came back to Brussels in 2010 as Spain’s ambassador to the European Union.

Read more with EURACTIV

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