Moreno’s government is suspending a law it signed with Vox ahead of the elections to pardon illegal irrigation in Doñana.

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As the election progressed last June, dozens of legislative initiatives that had begun their parliamentary process were defeated, including a bill proposed by the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox to waive illegal irrigation in the northern part of Doñana National Park. The president of Andalusia’s junta, Juan Manuel Moreno, then promised that all partisan laws would be submitted to parliament in the first session, but now his government has frozen the calendar for controversial irrigation laws with an absolute majority. “The Serious Problem of Drought.”

Andalucia, like the rest of the country, is experiencing a year of severe drought that threatens the community’s agri-food sector, which accounts for 12% of the regional GDP, and the service sector, the second engine of the regional economy. Depends on the water. Swamp stocks are at historic lows, but the situation was critical even before the June election.

In fact, this was evidenced by public figures who were summoned by Parliament at the end of the last legislative session to discuss a bill for the extension of crops near Donana. Irrigation cannot be extended where there is no water. It is futile to talk about the transfer of rivers where there is no water,” said Miguel Delibes, president of the Doñana Participation Council, in a very stern speech. “It is unfaithful, thoughtless, irresponsible and senseless,” he warned the authors.

Measures initiated by parties supporting the Andalusian government [PP, Ciudadanos y Vox] Shortly before the election on June 19, it drew strong opposition from both the central executive and environmental organizations, as well as the European Commission and UNESCO, which warned Spain in writing of millions of dollars in sanctions if successful. Thus, in all documents contrary to the regulations defended by Moreno, he spoke of the serious problem of drought that affects Andalusia, Spain and Europe in general, especially the Doñana aquifer.

For now, however, the drought is all seriousness in President Moreno’s speeches and agenda, highlighting the lack of hydraulic infrastructure that Pedro Sánchez’s government relies on. On the other hand, the Andalusian PSOE, the board must carry out hydrotechnical works of regional interest within its mandate declared by the Governing Council in 2021 and pending since then.

Crisis Cabinet and Task Force

The Andalusian government and opposition have agreed to discuss a common strategy on the issue of drought in parliament to avoid partisan clashes, but this target is stumbling every day due to the proximity of municipal and general elections. The council has authority over a third of the community’s hydraulic infrastructure, while the central government is responsible for 67% of Andalusian basins.

The water problem near Donana and the implications of the irrigation waiver proposal seem inevitable. The issue will go beyond speeches and kind words once Vox decides to re-register the bill he signed a year ago with the PP and reaches parliament with his votes, citizens’ votes and PSOE absent. Vox now has more deputies than previously mandated [14 escaños] And as a result, his initiative quota in the entire House would enable him to save the bill with or without popular signatures.

Sources in the ultra-conservative parliamentary group confirmed to this newspaper that the political commitment is to revive the initiative as soon as possible, although the date for registration in the next plenary sessions has not yet been closed. For the far-right group, it is “a priority, although it is no longer a priority since Moreno won the election.”

Vox has already contacted the Minister of Agriculture Carmen Crespo directly about the Doñana aquifers and on the proposal to expand the crop area in last Wednesday’s plenary session, the first of the first sessions of this legislature. Deputy Rafael Segovia asked him directly if he considered restoring this initiative either in the form of a bill presented by the government itself or through the formulation of the same bill (through parliamentary groups).

In the last assembly, he decided to promote the initiative of the groups that support the government and not go directly to the executive, thus avoiding the obligation to call for a report from the Doñana Participation Council, which would have been disastrous for this proposal, according to the speech Delibes left in Parliament in consultation with public figures. On this, the left opponents opened their ears. Moreno, on the other hand, argued that he chose this path so that the process would be more collaborative and include other political formations and social representatives.

Crespo declined to answer questions from a Vox deputy on Wednesday. Instead, they shifted the debate to the hydraulic infrastructure that depended on the central government: the San Silvestre tunnel and the diversion of the Tinto, Piedras, and Odile rivers, supplying surface water to farmers who defended the measures, thus preventing their illegal entry. Degradation of the Doñana aquifer.

The Agriculture Minister signed a Vox speech to defend the interests of strawberry farmers, although Parliament has already noted the division caused by the proposal in the sector, with calls from those who irrigate under licenses and legislation. Sources in the Andalusian executive and the regional PP confirmed to this newspaper that the bill is “on hold” and “is not on the agenda” because “the drought situation is serious and now the focus should be on global policy.” on the water

The problem of drought was the protagonist of the first face-to-face meeting in the legislature between Moreno and the opposition leader, socialist Juan Espadas, who promoted the creation of a working group to solve the problem through institutional loyalty. and without “desiring systematic confrontation with the central government”. In the plenary session of the Parliament on Thursday, it was decided to form this working group proposed by the Socialists under the Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development Committee.

A few hours earlier, the president of Andalusia had informed the chamber that he had established a “drought crisis cabinet” in his government and warned that if the autumn rains did not fall, Andalusia’s economic situation could worsen because “it is very high. It depends on the food sector and the service sectors. And both use a lot of water resources.

“If it doesn’t rain this monsoon, we will have big problems with our farmers, ranchers and consumers, and this will further reduce the Andalusian economy,” Moreno said, rejecting a proposal to expand the irrigation area around Doñana. And focusing on discussing the need to accelerate the launch of desalination plants and other infrastructure that will help recycle the water we already use.

Parliament on Thursday approved an illegal proposal by the PP, with its absolute majority, which demands a new drought decree from the government, including tough measures including economic security in line with the current situation and imminent implementation. Andalusia is one of the main areas most affected by the drought. The initiative was partially supported by the opposition groups PSOE-A, Vox, Por Andalucía and Mixto-Adelante Andalucía. The Socialist Group and Vox rejected the government’s claims of a new drought decree.

Campaign Initiative

The bill that opens the door to the regularization of more than 1,400 hectares, which illegally use the Doñana’s water to grow mainly red fruits, was registered twice in Parliament last January: the same text signed by the PP and Ciudadanos, on one hand, and on the other by the PP and Vox [los naranjas no querían estampar su rúbrica junto a la ultraderecha, aunque durante el mandato lo hicieron en varios acuerdos presupuestarios].

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