Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez Benalmadena rally

Pedro Sánchez addressed the crowd in Benalmadena Credit: EWN

Crowds of PSOE supporters flocked to the party’s rally at the Recinto ferial los Nadales, Benalmadena on Wednesday June 5.

Two reporters from Euro Weekly News, Darryl Kelly and intern Talyta Franca were on hand to chronicle the events of the afternoon.

  1. PSOE’s Final Rally: Gathering of Supporters in Benalmadena

This was the last chance to show their support and hope for success in the European elections which take place on Sunday, June 9.

More than 200 people arrived in buses, cars, and some even made the steep climb up the hill to hear speeches from Teresa Ribera, Nicholas Schmit, Juan Espadas and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez himself.

Pedro Sánchez and supporters in Benalmadena
Credit: PSOE Malaga
  1. Diverse Crowd Gathers for PSOE’s Last Push Before European Elections

The crowds waved their flags high in support of not just the party, but to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community and their nation of Spain, reflecting the diverse audience that stand by their political ideologies.

The police presence was also at a very high level, with more than 100 officers securing and patrolling the area before, during, and after the event.

  1. High Police Presence Marks PSOE Rally

This added security came as a precaution for the usual risks with large events, but also acted as a deterrent to anyone leaving the rally for Vox,  which was occurring simultaneously in Malaga City, from making any appearances.

One supporter, Jose Miguel from Fuengirola, remarked that despite the heavy police presence, ‘”the atmosphere was quite calm and joyful to reflect the supporters’ optimism and unity for the party’s successes, and that no matter where the rally would be held, the supporters would come.”

4. PSOE Meetings Unites Locals and Ex-Pats

As the crowds gathered in the rows of seats before them, it became apparent that there was a diverse mix of people attending the event. From locals to expatriates, to migrants of various nationalities living in Spain, all were unified in their joint belief in the party.  Three supporters from Britain remarked on their admiration for Sanchez and the socialist movement in Spain.

One of the ladies, aged 80, stated that “I lost faith in the socialist movement after being a Labour supporter for the majority of my life in the United Kingdom, but had re-discovered my belief when I moved to Spain and began following the PSOE in 2008.”

When asked why Sanchez and the party are so appealing, one of the other women present remarked that “He reflects an empathy and a willingness for progress that reflects the fundamental principles of socialism.”

5. Espadas Highlights PSOE’s Commitment to Economic Stability

The first to speak was the General Secretary, Juan Espadas. He highlighted the significant role of the European Fund (Fundo Europeo) during the pandemic. He underscored how this financial support was critical in helping men and women in Andalucia maintain their employment, a testament to the PSOE’s commitment to economic stability and social support.

Espadas proudly noted that Andalucia was the autonomous community that benefited the most from the European Fund, receiving a significant percentage of the total investment allocated by the government. This amounted to over €24 million during the six-year tenure of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The emphasis on the European Fund was presented by Espadas as an example of social democracy in action. He articulated the need for economic growth that is not only wealth-generating but also equitable and protective of society. This vision of a fair economy, he said, is central to the PSOE’s platform, aiming to build a Spain that is self-sufficient and independent, particularly in the realms of energy creation and sustainability.

Espadas’ remarks also touched on the critical aspects of energy transition, ecological transition, and digital transition. These pillars are seen as fundamental for preparing Spain for future challenges and ensuring long-term development. Espadas highlighted that achieving self-sufficiency in energy is a basic pillar for the country’s progress, stressing that this transition is essential for a sustainable and resilient economy.

6. Schmit’s Speech: PSOE’s Vision for a Sustainable Europe

The second pivotal speech of the PSOE rally came from Nicolas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. Schmit, hailing from Luxembourg, passionately advocated for the PSOE’s commitment to democratic and sustainable principles, while highlighting the significant achievements and vision of the Spanish government over the past six years.

Schmit’s address underscored the centrality of the social democratic movement in shaping a just and sustainable Europe. “The social democratic family is the main force for our social democratic and sustainable Europe,” Schmit declared, emphasizing his dedication over the past six years to reintegrate social issues into the government agenda. He lauded the Sánchez administration for its notable accomplishments in this regard, particularly in fostering social dialogue and raising the minimum wage in Spain, thus improving the living standards for many Spaniards.

Addressing the pressing issue of rising energy prices across Europe, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Schmit highlighted the broader implications of these challenges. He pointed out the intertwined nature of economic and environmental concerns, stressing that these issues impact all layers of society.

Schmit drew attention to the European Green Deal (Pacto Verde), an ambitious initiative launched in 2020 by the European Commission. The Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, promoting investment in sustainable technologies and industries.

“Europe has become a global leader in climate protection, and we are on the way to becoming the first carbon-neutral continent,” Schmit proudly stated. His remarks underscored Europe’s leadership role in climate action and the significant strides made towards reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainable development.

Schmit’s speech reinforced the PSOE’s alignment with broader European objectives, emphasizing the interconnectedness of social justice and environmental sustainability. By advocating for policies that address both social inequities and ecological challenges, Schmit positioned the PSOE as a forward-thinking party committed to comprehensive and sustainable progress.

The Luxembourgish commissioner highlighted how the Green Deal exemplifies the EU’s commitment to environmental stewardship and economic resilience. The initiatives under this deal aim to transform various sectors, including energy, agriculture, and transport, to ensure a sustainable and green future. Schmit’s emphasis on the Green Deal also reflects the PSOE’s dedication to aligning Spain’s policies with EU-wide objectives, promoting a cohesive and unified approach to tackling climate change.

Schmit’s speech served to bolster the PSOE’s platform, showcasing their commitment to addressing both immediate social issues and long-term environmental goals. His remarks about the Green Deal and Spain’s social achievements under the Sánchez government were aimed at reassuring voters of the PSOE’s capability to lead with vision and integrity.

7. Ribera’s Address: Innovation, Economic Growth, and Social Equity

Theresa Ribera hopes to become an MEP
Credit: EWN

After Schmit came Teresa Ribera, the current Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge and a hopeful candidate for the European Parliament, who passionately emphasized the importance of innovation, technological advancement, and social equity.

Ribera’s speech resonated with the audience as she tackled pressing issues such as the affordability of living in Malaga, the rapid growth of Spain’s economy, and the party’s commitment to human rights and gender equality.

Ribera began by addressing the critical issue of housing affordability in Malaga. She highlighted that “living is a right secured in the constitution,” and criticized the current situation where Malaga has become a luxury accessible only to a few. This pointed out the necessity for policies that are truly committed to the needs of the people. Ribera’s focus on housing aligns with broader concerns about social justice and the need for inclusive growth in urban areas.

Shifting to the broader economic landscape, Ribera painted a picture of an economy that is soaring “como un cohete,” like a rocket. She outlined a vision for modernizing Spain’s production sectors, including agriculture, industry, and technology. Ribera emphasized Spain’s wealth and capacity to invest in innovation and diversify its economic activities, particularly in regions like Malaga.

Ribera also expressed pride in the decisions made by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez concerning human rights issues in Palestine and Ukraine. This underscored the PSOE’s commitment to upholding international human rights and supporting global justice, reinforcing the party’s values on an international stage.

In addition to her economic and international insights, Ribera highlighted the role of women in politics, emphasizing the PSOE’s commitment to gender equality. She praised the party’s slate of women candidates, who are dedicated to fighting for their rights and ensuring that these rights are not eroded by opposition forces. Ribera’s commitment to gender equality and her advocacy for women’s rights are central to her platform, reflecting a broader commitment to social justice and equality within the PSOE.

Her focus on innovation and technology as engines for economic growth, combined with a strong stance on social equity, painted a holistic vision for Spain’s future. The emphasis on housing affordability in Malaga was particularly poignant, highlighting the need for policies that make cities liveable for all residents, not just the wealthy.

8. Sánchez Reaffirms Socialist Principles Amidst Criticism

To bring the rally to an end, Pedro Sánchez took to the stage and began addressing the crowd confronting recent attacks against his family while reaffirming his commitment to socialist principles.

Despite facing criticism, Sánchez asserted his integrity and mentioned ‘Clean Hands’, a direct reference to the ‘Manos Limpias’ party which has raised the complaint about his wife then highlighted the challenges of navigating the socialist path, which he believes is not only difficult but also inherently fairer.

9. PSOE’s Achievements and Challenges Under Sánchez’s Leadership

Addressing the achievements of his government, Sánchez emphasized their success in significantly increasing the minimum wage by 54 per cent over the past six years. He proudly noted that despite economic challenges, 21 million people in Spain are gainfully employed and benefiting from social security measures, a testament to the government’s commitment to economic prosperity and social welfare.

10. Global Crises and Spain’s Response: Sánchez’s Perspective

Turning to global crises, Sánchez underscored Spain’s response to challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine. He highlighted the government’s decision to officially recognize the Palestinian state, signalling their dedication to international solidarity and justice. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of defending public health and education, expressing concern over rising healthcare costs and the financial burden of private education on Spanish society.

Sánchez’s speech also focused on his government’s determination to industrialize Spain and strengthen public services, particularly in education. He condemned school dropout rates and outlined ambitious plans to revitalize Spain’s economy, aiming to make it the largest economy in Europe. Sánchez ‘s vision for economic growth and social progress aligns with the PSOE’s longstanding commitment to equitable development and opportunity for all citizens.

By reaffirming his dedication to socialist values, Sánchez sought to rally support for his government’s agenda. His emphasis on economic prosperity, social welfare, and international solidarity resonated with the audience, reflecting the core principles of the PSOE. Despite facing challenges, Sánchez ‘s speech conveyed a message of resilience and determination to build a better future for Spain.

11. PSOE Rally: Unity, Criticism, and Hope for a Socialist Spain

Red and white was the order of the day
Credit: EWN

After Sánchez closed his speech, the crowds began to cheer in admiration and following the obligatory press photos, the crowd then dispersed into the street, still carrying their flags high and proud.

One observation of the crowd was the considerable number of people in the 40+ bracket, with a few younger supporters scattered amongst them.

Aisling, from Co. Cork, Ireland, stated that she was refused entry into the rally due to her scarf baring a Palestinian flag, despite the constant reference to the need for a ceasefire from the PSOE. She admitted that the incident led her to believe that “the messages proclaimed by the party were being used political devices to win over the vote of left-wing supporters, and that the act of suppressing the pro-Palestinian goes against the freedom of the people.”

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Written by

Darryl Kelly


    • Lance

      09 June 2024 • 23:15


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