Leadership is an essential feature of all government and governance. It is necessary to have a strong leader if the government aims to succeed; it gives security and confidence to citizens, which leads to prosperity.
The dictionary defines a leader as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country”. His or her role is to identify the desired objectives to accomplish and create a well-structured agenda that will allow their achievement. Strong motivation is key to ensure the nation, is working collaboratively towards the achievement of those.
Nowadays, public leaders need to respond to traditional governance issues; corruption, unemployment, taxes… nevertheless, they also have to be prepared to tackle “global village” issues, those like conflict, economic decisions… Effective political leaders need to understand that the power is no longer unidirectional, it is shared by different stakeholders; citizens, enterprises, international organizations, NGOs, trade unions, lobbies and parties of the opposition. Is the actual prime minister of Spain a leader? Is Mariano Rajoy doing what he promised in his electoral campaign?
Honesty… what does it mean?: The actual government does not understand the importance of being honest to its citizens. Honesty develops credibility and trust, which are fundamental in a crisis context. If the government wants to establish good relations with the different stakeholders, they have to speak clearly and truthfully with each other. It is also primordial that the state acknowledges the opinions held by the different agents in this country. For instance, the government does not listen to the opposition, lacking to understand that democracy is based on the dialogue between different parties to reach consensus.
Moreover, the government is untruthful. M.Rajoy declared in his electoral campaign a series of objectives (decrease taxation, rise pensions, Spain’s unification, change in justice…) but he is doing just the opposite.
He is focusing on solving the economic problems by adopting an opposite strategy to that one proposed. Furthermore, he is not taking into account other State issues.
Mr Mariano Rajoy should realize that Spaniards voted him because they wanted a change, but he is not being a good leader or taking “true actions”.
Hiding from citizens is not the solution, Mr Mariano: Knowing how to communicate is a requirement for leaders. In this digital world it is impossible to hide information from people and is better to say the truth at the appropriate time, rather than letting someone else spread the news changing the actual issue.
However, the Spanish government is not following this approach, preferring not to communicate and hiding the truth.
This is clearly illustrated in the issue of Catalonia. The international media started to believe that Catalonia should be independent, as the leaders of CIU party, especially Andreu Mas-Colell, travelled worldwide giving interviews to convince other nations that Catalonia needs independence from the rest of Spain.
On the contrary, the Spanish government believes that it should not give explanation on this topic. This lack of commutation is weakening the credibility of Spain in the international opinion. Therefore, it is crucial that politicians adapt their communication strategies to the new media, since by not doing so they are losing power and credibility.
A leader, an example of a good citizen?: We conceive a leader as a virtuous person who fights for human dignity, a person of principles to whom society trusts. Politicians have an enormous responsibility and they should act having in mind society’s wellbeing.
However, Spanish politicians from the PP party in Spain are politicians because they are interested in earning money, not in helping the society. Corruption is the best word to describe current governance; “El Caso Barcenas” outlines this thesis.
Furthermore, as explained before, the strategy adopted by the party was to remind silence, and when the news exploited the public opinion turned against the government. It would have been much more sensible to be transparent and truthful, admitting mistakes, just like the current party of the opposition has done in the past.
Enthusiasm is key:A leader needs to be charismatic and able to have a personal approach with people, as Mr Obama. Leaders need to believe that there it is possible to build a better nation.
During the cold war, Kennedy knew how to make the people fight for their nation, to achieve the liberty. In his speech “we choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy but because it is hard”, he inspired all America, creating a patriotic feeling within all communities in America.
The Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should transmit hope to the population, building up patriotism. However, he is achieving to create a broken nation.
Overall, politicians should never lie. They know how to apologize and they recognize their own mistakes, which increases society’s trust for them. Honesty, compassion and integrity are some of the necessary values in political leadership. Moreover, good communication is key to unify citizens and the government. Our Prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, needs to urgently change his approach towards citizens. He must understand that everything is not economics, that society is also concerned about other social problems, and their welfare is more important that anything else. Society has the feeling that the actual government is letting them down. Since we are in a democracy, the government should listen to the party of the opposition, he should listen to the entire nation. If they do not change it may be to late, society may have lost their welfare… It may be that we need a new leader, a change in government.
(Role of the opposition)
Energy is essential in our daily lives; it helps us to produce food, to transport people and goods, to be interconnected thanks to the power of communication all over the world… Over the future decades more people will have access to energy and will enjoy better living conditions. Nevertheless, we cannot forget the pressure put on our world’s resources such as energy, fresh water and food. Therefore companies need to reduce their energy consumption and increase their energy efficiency. It means using less energy to provide the same service, so as to be sustainable in the long run and decrease the greenhouse effect.
Save energy, save money: At the enterprise level, techniques for improving energy efficiency are constantly
developing. Little changes can reduce significantly the consumption of energy. For example energy-saving lighting replacement, installing a programmable thermostat (which
saves around 10% per year on heating and cooling costs) or using sunlight, choosing windows treatment allows companies to use natural light while reducing heat loss. The benefits exceed the costs, therefore companies should not worry about the impact that investing on new energy efficiency products and infrastructures will have on their accounts, as the investment will be repaid and create profits. Furthermore, companies such as Ameresco’s, are willing to objectively develop the best energy management project for each customer in order to guarantee successful investments. The Spanish government, through new decrees such as the obligation to have energy efficiency certificates for buildings, is pushing companies to adopt more efficient technologies and processes.
Renewable vs traditional: Spain is a leader in sustainable energy; renewable energy contributes more than half of Spain’s electricity mix. Hydropower and wind are the most important sources, while photovoltaic and solar thermal are being developed. The AEE (Asociación Empresarial Eólica) calculated that 160 MW of wind energy produced in Canarias reduced 36 million euros the tariff deficit of 2012.It is clear that renewable energy is a sustainable solution, nevertheless in the short run it is really expensive, the actual energy deficit is 28000 million euros, and less efficient than traditional sources of electricity such as nuclear energy. We do not have to forget that Spain depends on international markets as it cannot self-produce all the energy demanded. This is the principal reason for the Spanish energy deficit, and the government does not have solutions to solve the problem rather than increasing the price of it. The Energy commission’s president of the CEOE, Antononio Garamendi, announced that the electrical system in Spain is too expensive. President of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, approved and declared that if Spain stopped producing solar energy the electricity bill would drop by 10%. Do we have the money to continue spending on developing renewable energy sources?
No to the energy reform: The energy reform carried out last September is based on more taxes to reduce the tariff deficit. This is not the solution to reach a sustainable energy industry and the competitiveness of companies will decline, since extra taxes have been placed in nuclear and hydraulics. Moreover, a tax called “centimo verde” or green penny has been introduced to power plants that use gas, coal and fuel oil. Furthermore, subsidies have been decreasing since the 2008 crisis and companies have to face much more costs than before. The energy reform should be more structured and focus on the long term. Therefore, it is crucial to implement changes that incentive companies to reduce their energy inefficiencies, making competitiveness the highlight of the solution.
Better buildings: Instead of raising taxes or trying to invent a fashionable name for the new tax, the government should implement programs as the USA does. Since 2011 “Better Buildings Challenge” has been in place in order to save energy consumption on construction by reducing the energy intensity. Over the first year, they have saved up to 2.5%, if the trend continues the objective of reducing 20% of their actual expenditure would be achieved in 2020. However, the objective as a company is not just based on reducing energy and saving money, it is also to show leadership by sharing your knowledge and transmit your strategies. As a result companies’ successful approaches are being used in stores, libraries, hotels and all kind of buildings across the USA. This program should be placed in Spain, as it is an incentive for companies to reduce the energy consumption intensity, making companies more efficient.
Conclusion: Overall, it is clear that renewable energy is a sustainable solution in the long term. However the Spanish energy system is not efficient, governments from the past have over-spend by investing in renewable energies, running deficits, accumulating debt. The current government to solve this problem is applying more taxes on energy producers and decreased subsidies. Hence companies do not have enough money to invest in innovation or implement new technologies. Therefore, the government should implement programs that promote leadership, efficiency and competitiveness following those from the United States. Spanish companies need to enter international markets, and the increased taxation is preventing them from doing so.
Artículo: “Competitividad, energía y cambio climático”, CEOE