The 'things to eat' reopen a schism in the coalition government in the midst of an inflationary crisis. On this occasion, not only between the partners of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, but also within the purple flank itself. With the Minister of Consumption on paternity leave, Podemos has proposed to the Socialists a package of measures to lower the price of the shopping cart that includes a discount on meat, a staple in the diet of Spanish families that is in focus of Alberto Garzón for the high environmental impact of the meat industry.
A little over a year ago, controversy broke out over statements by Minister Garzón in an interview in the British newspaper The Guardian in which he warned of the problem of large-scale farms in Spain and insisted on the need to reduce the consumption of meat that he had promoted in a campaign issued months before. "To me, where they put a ribeye to the point ... that is unbeatable," replied the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.
Then, Garzón had the support of the Minister of Social Rights and Secretary General of Podemos, Ione Belarra, who described the minister's position on reducing meat consumption as "completely logical" because it is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). But inflation has blown up the agenda of the purple formation, which is now committed to subsidizing meat consumption to make the shopping basket cheaper.
Who has not changed his roadmap is Garzón. In its most recent reports, the scientific committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, a body attached to the Ministry of Consumption, has continued to warn of the need to reduce weekly meat rations (from the current 2 to 4 to 0 to 3) prioritizing poultry and rabbit, and minimizing red and processed, with the aim of moving towards more sustainable food systems.
But Garzón's plans collide head-on with the proposal that Belarra has sent to PSOE members, in which he proposes a 14.4% discount on the price of a basic food basket that includes meat, in addition to other essential products. such as fish, milk, oil, eggs, fruit or bread. In line with the tax reduction that was applied to fuels, those from Belarra propose a bonus that would be effective when paying at the cash register and that would appear on the ticket.
The first to reject the measure proposed by Podemos just hours after learning about it was the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, who accused Belarra of launching her new proposal only to fuel "the political debate" and questioned the feasibility of its application, to then defend the current VAT reduction and the check for 200 euros.
In this line, the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, defended that the VAT reduction is already mitigating food inflation, although she left the door open to adopt more measures, as long as they are "adequate" and without "counterproductive" effects and are discussed with the representatives of the distribution chains.
Precisely, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, the main interlocutor of the sector, has called the employers of supermarkets, the agricultural sector and consumers to a meeting next Monday, the 20th.
To begin with, Planas yesterday ruled out discounting the basic shopping basket, as well as lowering the VAT on meat and fish, which is a measure that the sector is also demanding. "We do not contemplate it. We are talking about cost inflation that derives from a higher energy cost, any other measure would not be more effective than the ones we are adopting," the minister settled.
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