Catalan citizens need to “come together” to face the new round of Spanish austerity measures
President Artur Mas says Catalonia needs to come out of the crisis stronger and citizens should “come together” in the wake of new austerity measures announced this Wednesday by Spanish president Mariano Rajoy. The Catalan government spokesman, Francesc Homs, celebrated Rajoy’s decision to cut Spanish public workers salaries, several months after the same decision was implemented in Catalonia. However, he criticised the VAT rise. The Catalan minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, said Madrid’s plan is “in line” with EU instructions but urged Rajoy to offer “some kind of compensation” to the autonomous communities because their expenditure won’t benefit from the VAT rise.
Barcelona (ACN).-Catalonia needs to \u201Ccome together\u201D in the wake of the new austerity measures announced this Wednesday by Spanish president Mariano Rajoy. Catalan President Artur Mas urged all Catalans to be strong after Madrid introduced a 3% VAT rise, a 50% cut on unemployment benefits from the sixth month out of work, a suspension on Christmas pay, 30% cuts in some local authorities and 20% cuts to subsidies for political parties and unions, amongst other measures. In total, Rajoy is aiming to save 65bn euros in two years in exchange for the euro zone of Spain\u2019s bank and the change to its deficit targets.
Mas said the new measures announced by Rajoy show his improvisation in the management of the crisis. The Catalan President said \u201Cit is to be seen\u201D how the cuts and reforms affect the economical situation in Spain and whether or not they improve confidence in the markets. However, he was confident Catalonia will come out of the crisis. He said it is \u201C in everyone\u2019s interest\u201D to work together to fight for Catalan claims such as a new fiscal pact in order \u201Cto get out of this complicated situation\u201D. \u201CI know it is possible\u201D, he added.
The \u2018Brussels\u2019 path
The Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, said the new austerity measures announced by Spain follow \u201Cthe path\u201D marked by Brussels to \u201Cconsolidate the euro\u201D. Therefore, he admitted feeling \u201Csympathetic\u201D to the line of work announced by Rajoy although he did not like all of it.
What the Catalan government will not support in any case, said Mas-Colell, is a new attempt to recentralise powers to Madrid. The Catalan minister argued that recentralisation is not a solution to the crisis but rather a political policy. Mas-Colell also urged Rajoy to \u201Ccompensate\u201D in some way the autonomous communities for the VAT rise. He said that would be fair because regions won\u2019t benefit from the rise in their budgets despite having to pay more for services and goods.
In statements to the press, the spokesman of the Catalan government, Francesc Homs, said the new Rajoy plan shows that \u201Cis Brussels that dictates what to do\u201D. Homs criticised the VAT rise and questioned whether the cuts in local councillors would be effective. In that sense, he praised the work of the many mayors and councillors that do their job properly and challenged the attitude of some members of the People\u2019s Party of Rajoy that have been involved in corruption cases at a local and regional level. Homs praised the decision to cut Spanish public workers\u2019 salaries, an initiative that is already in place in Catalonia.