The President of Red Eléctrica de España and former Minister of Public Administration, Jordi Sevilla, reviewed the ‘Current State of Spain’ at the Proa Comunicación Observatory held on Tuesday, February 5 at the Deusto Business School. “In Spain, the idea of public interest has been lost,” he lamented. This concern along with the idea that, despite living in the best era humanity has ever gone through, the need exists to assert our fundamental values and defend human rights in the face of technological advances, were the key focal points of his speech.
Sevilla acknowledged while making this statement that he was angry and going through a “pessimistic phase as an informed optimist,” mainly because “this is not the society for which I fought.” In this sense, he shared with the audience the calling he felt deeply since the 2008 crisis to “defend the obvious,” and the realization that many things are questioned “from ignorance,” as a result ” making what already is, worse.” He revealed his astonishment at how the rules and regulations themselves are contradictory, “up to the legitimacy of the Government to govern and I refer to both Pedro Sánchez and Rajoy during their eras.”
The President of Red Eléctrica de España argued in defense of the 1978 Constitution, emphasizing the need to revisit something by which “40 years have passed,” yearning for the political discourse of those times. “We need to understand politics as a common place where problems are solved through rational debate,” because “nobody is right and everyone has a stake,” he reflected.
He was quite concerned about this inability to solve problems through “agreement, compromise and dialogue,” because he considers such a failure “fuels populism and anti-establishment movements.” In his opinion, this doesn’t only happen in Spain, but also throughout the Western world in general. He specified globalization, which has brought about “global problems without national solutions,” as a root cause of the political environment we see today. Equally culpable in his view is partisanship, which has impeded negotiation with respect to the versatility necessary to negotiate solutions to issues of public interest. One needs to go back to the year 1992 to find the last great agreement successfully accomplished in the Spanish Parliament, namely the vote on the Maastricht Agreement.
Such a scenario, during election periods, results in high levels of abstention among the populace, disloyalty towards parties for which they have always voted and a delay in the decision to vote, “which isn’t exactly the best situation,” he lamented. However, he revealed a path of hope, concluding with his expectation that it is precisely voters’ anger that will lead politicians “to negotiate, agree and solve problems.”
Jordi Sevilla was the Minister of Public Administration (2004-2007) and Treasurer for the Campaign of the Socialist Presidential Candidate twice, in 2015 and again in 2016. He was also a Representative for the province of Castellón in the Congress of Representatives, spokesperson for the Economy of the Socialist Group and President of the Parliamentary Commission on Climate Change (2000-2009). Between 2016 and 2018 he was the vice president of the Spanish consulting firm Llorente y Cuenca, a company dedicated to reputation management, communication and public affairs. Previously, between 2009 and 2015 he was Senior Counselor of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He has also been a professor at the School of Industrial Organization (OEI) and at the Institute of Enterprise (IE). He is the author of several books on economics and politics, the last of which is titled ‘Vetos, pinzas y errores: ¿Por qué no fue posible un gobierno del cambio?’, He has published numerous articles in specialized magazines and in the daily press.
The Proa Comunicación Observatories
The Proa Observatories are discussion forums complemented by the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They were enacted with the purpose of becoming a laboratory of ideas, where genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues as well as discuss corporate reputation, branding and public relations as important elements for businesses to improve and succeed.
Among the distinguished guests who have participated in these forums are economist Manuel Conthe, President of Red Eléctrica Spain Jordi Sevilla, former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert, writers Pablo D’Ors and Pilar Urbano, Director of External Communication at Deloitte Antonio Belmonte, Director of Communication and Institutional Relations at El Corte Inglés José Luis González-Besada, the High Comissioner for the Spanish Brand Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, Director General of the OJD Manuel Sala and IESE Professor Yago de la Cierva, editor of Innovación Digital de Vocento Borja Bergareche and the President of Multinacionales por Marca España José María Palomares, among others.