The reciprocal and open hostility between Mariano Rajoy and the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is a certain novelty in Spanish foreign policy. This is not the first time that there has been friction between the countries of the Union, but since joining the EEC in 1986, successive Spanish governments have tried to maintain, out of doors, a very correct relationship with the other European partners. There was considerable tension with France and Germany during the second term of José María Aznar, regarding Iraq, but campaigns of overt hostility were always avoided. Containment. Formality. Despite the obvious ideological antagonism between Silvio Berlusconi and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero there were no tears between the man who loved women in his harem of Sardinia and the man who pushed for new laws on the equality of the sexes. Since 1986, except perhaps the moment in which Aznar imagined himself as the leader of a second England, very close to the United States and distant from the Franco-German axis, Spain has tried to be a politically friendly country in the European Union
That tradition is breaking now. Rajoy and his cabinet have decided to openly confront the new Greek left government, with a triple objective. In the first place, it is intended to send a message of strong support to German economic orthodoxy, during the Spanish electoral cycle. Friendship with Angela Merkel. Pro-Berlin line, while François Hollande and Matteo Renzi treat Tsipras cordially, without facing common with him. French and Italians see in Athens a possible lever to pressure Germany in favor of a more lenient austerity policy. Faced with this strategy, Rajoy offers himself to Berlin as guardian of the dominant line. “Spain has done its homework, suffered and is now entering recovery time.” That is the argument of Madrid. A victory, even partial, of the Greek answer, could cause serious problems to Rajoy in the electoral arena.
Syriza has entered the political history of Spain.
It can be consolidated as a suggestive reference for all the disaffected and indignant. And it can be a symbol of a resounding failure, if the proud Greece ends up sinking the knee. Rajoy does not bet on an intermediate line, like French and Italians. The Spanish president offers himself to Berlin as a standard bearer of severity. Actively seconded by the ministers Luis de Guindos (Economy) and José Manuel García-Maragallo (Foreign Affairs), the bet is already decided. The battle with the new Greek government is part of the general strategy of the Popular Party in the face of a high-risk electoral cycle for the Spanish center-right.
Second objective: to discredit Podemos.
Present the new left as a very dependent force of foreign interests. Money coming from Venezuela in the propulsion phase of the new party and friendship with some Greek leftists who do not want to return the credits, or who want to return them with other conditions and deadlines. Caricaturization of Podemos as a conditioned party from the outside. Claim of the ‘Gold of Athens’, recalling that legendary “Gold of Moscow” (the treasure of the Republic sent to the USSR to pay Soviet military aid). Old arguments with new format.
And finally, the feelings. The references of Minister García-Margallo to the pensions that could have been improved with the money lent to Greece are gimmicky. (Almost 26,000 million, broken down as follows: 6,659 million direct loans from the State and 19,600 million private financial operators, guaranteed by the Spanish State). 26,000 million euros is a lot of money. The argument is effective, but dangerous for government advertising, since it invites other calculations. It invites us to calculate, for example, how many pensions could have been improved with the public money allocated to clean up Bankia (22,244 million, of which only 4% had recovered this past summer), or CatalunyaCaixa (12,000 million, of which only 1,187 have been recovered following the sale of the entity to BBVA), as well as public aid to clean up other old savings banks in difficulty. There are calculations that are charged by the devil and it is the first time that from the Spanish governmental sphere explicitly invites the social grievance with another country of the Union. Work the feelings. Massaging patriotism, which also appeals We can at your large meetings. The Spanish neopatria.