Home World The rise in prices inflames social unrest in Spain

The rise in prices inflames social unrest in Spain

La subida de precios inflama el malestar social en España

Record inflation is fueling anger against the left-wing government in Spain, where trucker strikes and protests by farmers and fishermen put the executive under pressure to act against soaring energy prices.

"contain prices" and "stop the deterioration of our living conditions" It is the motto of the Workers’ Commissions and the UGT, the main Spanish unions that this Wednesday called for demonstrations throughout the country.

In February, the rise in consumer prices was the highest in 35 years (7.6% annual), amid a rise in the cost of energy, fueled by the war in Ukraine.

"Month after month the bills for electricity, heating, gasoline, food, housing or transportation increase. The whole of society is suffering from this situation."warn the organizers of the protests, which are added to a long series of strikes and demonstrations.

Since March 14, a platform of independent transporters launched an indefinite strike in the face of the rise in fuel prices, an initiative that has caused incidents and road closures and has disrupted the supply of supermarkets and some companies.

The government of the socialist Pedro Sánchez also faces a fishermen’s strike, who stopped working from Monday for three days at the request of a federation that groups 9,000 boats, or protests such as those of the taxi drivers, who organized a slow march this Wednesday in Barcelona to cry out against the rise in diesel prices.

The anger has also spread among farmers and ranchers, affected by the rise in the prices of fertilizers and raw materials. At least 150,000 of them marched through central Madrid on Sunday to demand answers from the government.

– Sánchez waits for the EU –

The mobilizations for social discontent, the most important since Pedro Sánchez came to power in mid-2018, have been backed by opposition parties, in particular the extreme right of Vox, which organized its own demonstrations on Saturday in several cities of Spain.

This ultra-nationalist formation, the third force in Parliament and in full swing, takes advantage of the discontent of part of the population, especially in rural areas, accusing the government of being the "ruin for the middle classes and the most disadvantaged".

All of the above leaves the government in a very uncomfortable position, which has taken multiple measures in recent months to raise low wages and contain energy prices, but sees how its efforts are diluted due to the inflationary spiral.

To defuse criticism, Pedro Sánchez promised ten days ago a "national plan" in the face of the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, with tax cuts.

The government has put on the table an additional package of 500 million euros ($550 million) in compensation for higher fuel prices for carriers.

"We live in an extraordinarily complex situation"stressed Sánchez on Wednesday, who showed his willingness to do everything possible to "cushion" the impact of rising prices. The Prime Minister also stated that he was "convinced" to achieve "this week" an agreement with the carriers.

However, the executive continues to be evasive about the scope of his plan, while Sánchez seeks to obtain a joint response from the European Union to the energy crisis at Thursday’s summit in Brussels.

The EU must "sort out" this problematic "from a common point of view"Sánchez insisted this Tuesday.

Madrid has been unsuccessfully asking the EU for months to modify the mechanism that links electricity prices to the gas market. Sánchez, who has met with several European counterparts in recent days, expects a turnaround.

If there is no agreement, the government assures that it will act on its own and adopt measures through a decree law on March 29.

A date considered very late by several sectors in struggle, who remember that other countries, such as France or Italy, have already announced emergency measures.

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