• Rajoy bends to Socialist-introduced measure, agrees to unfreeze funding
• 200mn euros first tranche of five-year budget to combat gender violence
Under pressure following broad opposition support in Congress Tuesday for a resolution introduced by the Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE), President Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) on Wednesday announced his agreement to sign into law the all-party Pacto contra la Violencia de Género (National Pact Against Gender Violence) next month and to free up 200 million euros in funding to combat violence against women in Spain.
The first of five tranches of a 1 billion euro budget agreed to last July that is destined to combat domestic abuse and violence against women over the next five years, the funding had been stalled after support for the government’s 2018 federal budget was withdrawn by a key parliamentary ally, the centre-right Basque nationalist PNV party, over the government’s controversial use of constitutional Article 155 to intervene in the Catalan independence crisis.
On Tuesday, the PSOE introduced a resolution in Congress calling on Rajoy to sign the agreed-upon pact against gender violence into law and to free up the 200 million in funding earmarked for 2018, despite the government’s inability so far to move approval of next year’s budget through Congress. Ángeles Álvarez, the PSOE’s Secretary for Equality and Diversity, said the 200 million funding was absolutely urgent and that the monies needed to be released immediately if the government was serious about guaranteeing the safety of women and children in Spain who fall victim to domestic abuse and machista violence.
On Wednesday, Rajoy bent to the pressure exerted via the PSOE-introduced resolution and announced that his party would vote with the PSOE and the opposition today in Congress to release the 200 million in funding for the first year of the anti-violence pact, which he said he anticipates signing into law no later than 31st December.