Barriers are lifted for an agreement with the People’s Party to approve the Catalan Government’s budget
The People’s Party (PP) has taken back its parliamentary motions against the Catalan Government’s Budget proposal. The Government is run by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU). The PP’s leader in Catalonia has warned CiU that “it does not represent a blank cheque” and that “sensible” negotiations need to take place in order for a final agreement to be reached. The PP has already backed the Catalan Government to approve its budget for 2011. The rest of the opposition parties regret that an agreement between CiU-PP has taken place.
Barcelona (ACN).- The People\u2019s Party (PP) has eliminated a big obstacle for the approval of the Catalan Government\u2019s budget proposal for 2012. The PP has cancelled the parliamentary motion against the fiscal law attached to the Government\u2019s budget proposal. The Catalan Government, which is run by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU), needs 6 votes in the Catalan Parliament to approve the budget, as CiU does not hold an absolute majority. In the last number of weeks, the Government has been in talks with the PP, as well as with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and, to a lesser extent, with the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is the main opposition party. With the PP\u2019s latest movements, made over the weekend and on Monday, it is more likely that the Catalan Government will have its budget for 2012 approved with the help of PP votes. However, the PP leader in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho warned CiU that taking back the motion \u201Cdoes not represent a blank cheque\u201D. Sánchez-Camacho asked CiU to act with the \u201Csame responsibility\u201D that the PP has shown. The rest of the opposition parties regret that an agreement between CiU-PP has taken place, although both parties insist the definitive agreement has not been reached yet.
The PP announced on Monday that it has taken back the motion it presented a few days ago against the fiscal law attached to the Catalan Government\u2019s budget proposal. The PP had been against the proposal because of two main measures: the tourist tax and the drug prescription fee. However, in the last number of days, the Catalan Government has stated that it is open to negotiations and flexibility in both measures: allowing those with smaller incomes not to pay for the drug prescription fee and considering clients of camp sites and holiday cottages to be exempt from paying the tourist tax, among other possibilities. Nothing has been decided yet, and negotiations are ongoing, but the PP has considered this compromise to be enough to take the motion to the entire budget project back. However, Sánchez-Camacho stressed that there is still \u201Ca lot to talk about, to modify and negotiate\u201D. \u201CThe budget has to be a tool for economic recovery\u201D, she stated. Sánchez-Camacho said that it is a \u201Ccrucial time\u201D for Catalonia and asked CiU if they are \u201Cready to negotiate intensely\u201D they should come to a definitive agreement.
CiU had given its support to the PP a few days before
At the end of last week, CiU gave its explicit support to the fiscal measures proposed by the new Spanish Government, run by the PP leader Mariano Rajoy, increasing taxes and cutting spending aimed at reducing Spain\u2019s public deficit. CiU voted for these measures in the Spanish Parliament together with the PP, which has an absolute majority and mathematically does not need other party votes. However, CiU wanted to demonstrate its will to increase cooperation with both parties and governments, while supporting the message of a deficit reduction. In parallel, CiU has negotiated with the PP, ERC, and to a much lesser degree with the PSC to approve the Catalan budget. Without being able to pass a budget for 2012, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, has stated he would call for elections, hoping to get wider support in the Catalan Parliament. However, in the light of the last events, this outcome seems unlikely, as the budget will probably be approved with an agreement between CiU and the PP.
The Left-Wing parties present their motion
Contrary to the People\u2019s Party, on Sunday and Monday the PSC and ERC have respectively presented a parliamentary motion to the entire Catalan Government\u2019s budget proposal for the year. ERC waited until a few minutes before the deadline, looking for a last-minute agreement with CiU. The PSC, which is the main opposition party and has been in less intense negotiations, already gave up on Sunday. Both ERC and the PSC have regretted CiU\u2019s agreement with the PP, which they judge to be in a very advanced state. CiU and the PP deny the agreement has been made at all, and insist they still have to go through a long and intense negotiation process in the coming days.