The update of all the MPs’ mobile devices has even caused a controversy among the spokesmen of the Parliament itself. After it became known that the Congress intends to allocate a budget of more than one million euros for the purchase of the latest phones and tablets to replace those that were delivered in 2018, several political formations openly opposed them. spending.
The most critical were the speakers of Podemos and Ciudadanos. “We have analyzed the issue and we think that there is still a possibility that such an expensive expenditure will not be incurred and we intend to avoid it.” Should MPs have a modern and secure terminal? Yes, but it doesn’t have to be a very expensive cell phone,” said Pablo Echenik of United We Can. Even more difficult, Edmundo Ball, from Ciudadanos, cited a cost clause he described as “shameful and embarrassing”. Ball also described it as an “insult” to citizens who are suffering the effects of inflation. “The price is really crazy,” he said.
The point was unanimously approved by all members of the Congress Bureau at the meeting held last June. PSOE, PP, VOX and United We Can parliamentary groups are represented in this body. The spokesperson of the Purples assured at a press conference on Thursday that “when we saw the news in the press, we started an investigation” because, in his version, “we did not have to confirm this decision”, that his three companions also confirmed the rows at the table. “We found out we were snubbed at one of the last meetings before the summer,” Echenik said.
United We Can parliamentary sources recall that in recent months there have been several cases of MPs reporting problems with the use of their phones or tablets and that they were offered a specific arrangement or replacement of terminals rather than a comprehensive upgrade. But they deny they knowingly supported the game, which they say was not clearly spelled out on the agenda of the council meeting that gave it the go-ahead. However, they admit that there were those at the meeting who openly offered to replace their devices, and that someone even commented on the possibility of a “little wait” for the latest iPhone model to come to market.
Finally, the proposal of the chamber’s technical groups was not the latest model, but the immediate previous model, with all the recommended safety features, but at a slightly lower price, between 900 and 1250 euros per terminal. Sources of the presidency of the Congress emphasize that this proposal of the technicians was discussed “several times” in the contracting council, which is represented by four vice-presidents of the chamber, including United We Can, Gloria Elizo. The same sources claim that this is a completely justified expense, because it is a necessary working tool for deputies and house staff, and the last repair of which dates back to 2018 (for example, in the Senate, they are usually changed every two years). And they remember that, in any case, it is material that belongs to Congress, not to the deputies, who must return it when they cease to exercise their functions.
Citizens refuse to use their phones
Although the Chamber’s services do not believe it is possible to change the process that has already been tendered and published in the BOE, this Thursday Ciudadanos registered a petition to suspend the Bureau. “Request the table to cancel the award offer for the provision of mobile terminals, device management system and related services (…) before the deadline for submission of applications,” the letter said. The representatives of Inés Arrimadas also state that in the absence of a withdrawal, “all member MPs will refuse to supply the terminals and will continue to work on the model they have already used until now”.
There is a general feeling among the rest of the parliamentary groups that this is an unfounded controversy. “It seems to us an artificial confrontation,” they say from PNV. “If the table or contracting council decided to upgrade the phones, it would do so after analyzing the need to upgrade them.” It’s clear that mobile is an essential work tool, and so it’s not exactly an example of unnecessary spending. Things seem much more controversial in recent years,” Basque nationalists note.
PP spokesperson Kuka Gamara expressed himself in similar words. “Mobile phones belong to the chamber. The government of the chamber is tasked with making appropriate decisions regarding the instrument and working instrument for the deputies,” he then limited himself to the answer. “I consider them to be quite demagogic debates, because they are working tools of the deputies,” explained the press secretary of the Socialists, Patxi Lopez. Más País MP Inigo Errejón was more skeptical: “Personally, I don’t need a new generation terminal or more functions, because with what we have, we can do our job perfectly.”
The Official State Gazette (BOE) published a tender worth 1,018,789 euros on Wednesday, September 7, with the concept of “supply of mobile terminals, device management system and related services” for the complete replacement of all old devices with some of the latest ones. generation. Since 2018, MPs have iPhone 8, which will now be replaced by the high-end terminal iPhone 13. BOE defines the purchase of more than 800 terminals with two types of profiles, depending on the mobile, which can be iPhone or Samsung. Specifically, the purchase of 550 iPhones is indicated, which must be carrier-free, have iOS 15 or higher operating system, 6.06-inch OLED screen, 512 GB capacity, facial recognition and geolocation.
Source: El Diario