The formation of the new Government and the distribution of portfolios left changes in stickers and new faces. One of the most surprising changes is that of the Ministry of Social Security and Migration Policies to be directed by Elma Saiz Delgado (Pamplona, 1975), a PSN politician. Saiz is a fiscal and tax expert who has made a career in the last decades in the Foral Community but has an unknown profile at the national level and within the pension sector. “This is the first time I heard his name,” said the historic members of the Pact of Toledo. It faces at least two major challenges as a legacy of the legislature of José Luis Escrivá: the review of the pension reform for a year and a half under the magnifying glass of the European Commission, and the Basque challenge to transfer the economic management of Social Security to the Basque Country.
Saiz, divorced with two children, will move his life to Madrid to lead a portfolio with heavy political and economic weight. He has a degree in law and a Master’s Degree in Tax Consulting from the University of Navarra, and he also teaches a master’s degree in tax, labor, and accounting consulting at the Public University of Navarra. Before entering politics, he was the managing partner of IMEL, a company specializing in tax consulting and legal advice to companies and individuals.
His comparison with Escrivá could not be clearer: the man from Albacete arrived in 2020 with a commendable career and a proven technical profile after experiences at the Bank of Spain, the European Central Bank, BBVA, and the founding presidency of AIReF. He is the minister chosen for the biggest portfolio reform process in a decade and for the need to reach an agreement with the European Commission.
It remains to be seen if Escrivá will be the visible face of the economy, which is also part of Europe, when Nadia Calviño finds out if she is in charge of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Thus, Escrivá will continue to set guidelines from a strong and relevant position in the government.
At least since 2003, he has been involved in the Socialist Party of Navarra, where he began his career as a parliamentarian. Afterwards, he became a delegate of the Government of Navarrese (2008–2012), Minister of Economy and Finance appointed by María Chivite in the last legislature, and candidate for mayor of Pamplona this summer. He was protected by the president of the Foral Community of Navarra, Chivite, and by the number three of the PSOE, Santos Cerdán.
Navarrese assumes a portfolio of great importance with many challenges and plans to continue the roadmap set by Escrivá. Although it will not be a legislature with major reforms planned after the recent one directed by the outgoing Minister Escrivá (Digital Transformation, previously dependent on Calviño in the Economy), it does not look like a legislature without work . Two major points are expected in the coming years.
The pension reform includes a clause in which the evolution of pension spending will be reviewed every three years – the first, in 2025 – extracting the new income generated by the measures, in such a way that if the disbursement exceeds 13.3% of GDP, Changes must be made through new income, spending cuts or a combination of both in agreement with social agents and the Toledo Pact. Finally, Brussels will impose a new increase in contributions that will put unions in the spotlight and heat up employers. Institutions such as the Bank of Spain or the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF) are already developing new changes in 2025.
Another big challenge is the delicate political negotiations with the PNV and the social agents for the transfer of the economic management of Social Security to the Basque Country, a historical need of the region included in the Statute of Guernica. However, it is a complex decision to make and one that contradicts the principle of solidarity and the ‘one fund’ of Social Security: the cost of pensions, their debt and deficiency are distributed between the richest and the poorest poor regions. Although the Minister of Finance and Public Affairs, María Jesús Montero, said that it will be “difficult” to implement the transfer, it remains to be seen how far the Basque groups will tighten the rope.
The new person in charge of the Social Security portfolio has duties inherited from the previous legislature left pending due to the narrow margin of the calendar and the complexity of the negotiations for most of the two blocs.
Partial retirement will be one of the open fronts and will mean changes in the relief contract to expand its use beyond the industrial sector and encourage a gradual exit from the labor market and better exploit the senior workforce. This is one of the maxims: bring the real retirement age closer to the legal age, penalize early retirement and reward late retirement on a voluntary basis. High contribution careers may also be affected by new regulatory changes that will benefit their social protection.
We are not only talking about public pensions, but also about the remaining pillars to increase Social Security payments. The Government expects to develop a public pension fund that will be managed by five private companies. The start of saving this macro fund will depend on the development of the information platform. For their part, the managers do not expect to sell the savings vehicles until the beginning of 2024.
Likewise, the Ministry’s plans include the revival of pension plan savings at work in the General State Administration (AGE) during the next legislature, as this medium exclusively revealed. In particular, the plans managed by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration include the “reactivation of contributions to public employee plans and generalization of plans between local and regional entities. ” This complementary savings vehicle to the public pension does not include new contributions from Public Entities for the benefit of Administration workers since 2011, when they were suspended more than a decade ago.
In addition, in keeping with the goal of filling public pensions, Social Security should continue to support sectors such as Construction that develop an employment pension plan at the sector level. Other interested sectors, such as the hospitality industry, the chemical industry or department stores will follow the example of the pioneering construction plan.
Finally, the so-called pension piggy bank – the Reserve Fund – has started receiving funds for the first time in more than a decade. One role of the Secretary of State for Pensions, Saiz’s number two, is to monitor the amount of assets in the pension fund and negotiate possible changes in governance and investment policy for a fund that plans to accumulate up to 130,000 million .