NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?

Catalonia approves a tax on Internet providers and an external relations law

On Wednesday the Catalan Parliament passed two important bills. With 74% support, it has approved the Law of External Action and Relations with the EU. Only two parties voted against it, the Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and Ciutadans (C’s). A third party, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP, abstained because it considered that the law was not “ambitious enough”. All the rest supported the bill, which mainly puts in order the existing bodies and mechanisms, although it also creates some new ones, in line with the Catalan Government’s powers in this area, recognized by the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The other bill is the tax on Internet suppliers, which aims to fund the Catalan audiovisual sector, affected by Internet piracy. No party voted against it. The new tax aims to collect some €20.5 million per year and it is welcomed by the cinema industry, and rejected by the main Internet suppliers.

SHARE

26 November 2014 09:54 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday the Catalan Parliament passed two important bills. With 74% support, it approved the Law of External Action and Relation with the EU. Only two parties voted against it, the Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and Ciutadans (C’s). A third party, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP, abstained because it considered that the law was not “ambitious enough”. All the rest supported the bill, which mainly puts in order the existing bodies and mechanisms, although it also creates some new ones, in line with the Catalan Government’s powers in this area, recognized by the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The other bill is the tax on Internet suppliers, which aims to fund the Catalan audiovisual sector, affected by the Internet piracy. No party voted against it. The new tax aims to collect some €20.5 million per year and it is welcomed by the cinema industry, and rejected by the main Internet suppliers.


The Law of External Action and Relations with the EU has been approved by 100 MPs of the 135-seat Catalan Parliament, representing a 74% support. The parties in favour of the new bill were the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC – which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), and the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition (ICV-EUiA). The alternative left and radical independence party CUP did not vote for the new bill and preferred to abstain because it though the new law was “not ambitious enough”. The only negative votes came from the 2 Spanish nationalist parties: PP and C’s, who considered that the new bill was “consolidating pro-independence interests”. The Catalan Government filed the bill 11 months ago and parties had been debating and amending it during this time, before its definitive approval.

The law on external relations had already been provided for in the current legal framework

With the current legal framework, approved by the Spanish Parliament and validated by the Constitutional Courts, the Autonomous Communities can carry out their own external relations policy. In fact, all of them have offices in Brussels, in order to be directly represented before the European Union institutions. Catalonia is not an exception and, moreover, it is a front-runner in this area. The Catalan Statute of Autonomy approved in 2006 and trimmed by the Constitutional Court in 2010 – which is one of the main reasons for the current political conflict – recognizes such powers, which were to be developed through a specific law. This law has been approved today and it encompasses previous regulations and existing bodies and mechanisms, such as the aforementioned representation before the EU institutions. The Catalan Government has a small network of political delegations in a few strategic countries (such as France, the UK and Germany) as well as a network of cultural and business-promotion offices, in charge of helping Catalan companies reach new markets and attract foreign investment. It also recognizes the public diplomacy carried out by non-governmental institutions, such as chambers of commerce or universities, for instance. In fact, Catalonia already groups the so-called soft diplomacy activities in the Public Diplomacy Council (Diplocat).

According to the new law, the Catalan Government will be assigned to “direct, coordinate and orientate” the “promotion of the external projection of Catalonia and its interests” as well as “the country’s positioning abroad as an active international actor regarding issues of its own jurisdiction”. This also includes “Catalonia’s positioning before the European Union and participation in the European institutions according to the existing regulations”. Furthermore, the new law creates the Inter-Departmental Commission on External Action, grouping together the different Catalan Ministries, and the Catalan Council of External Action. Both bodies will work to improve coordination and promote participation of further actors in the design and implementation of the external relations policies. The bill defines guiding principles for Catalonia’s external action, such as respect for human rights, the promotion of peace and the social and ecological sustainability. However, the new law does not include sanctions. Besides, the new law also takes into account development cooperation tools and policies.

Internet providers to pay €0.25 per month for each client

Besides, the Catalan Parliament has approved the new tax on Internet suppliers to support the audiovisual industry, affected by online illegal downloading. Internet providers will have to pay €0.25 per month for each Internet supply client they have. The Catalan Government expects to collect a total of €20.5 million per year with this new tax. The Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell, stated that it is “the most important measure” to boost cultural industries “adopted in the last 25 years”, since “it triples” the funds available to help the audiovisual industry. No parties voted against the bill, although Spanish nationalist PP and C’s abstained, since they fear the tax will be paid by individual consumers in the end.

SHARE

  • The Catalan Parliament voting bills on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

  • The Catalan Parliament voting bills on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)