Government “can’t continue” without passing the budget, Puigdemont warns
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, insisted this Thursday on the importance of passing the budget for 2017. If the bill, which will be put to vote in February, doesn’t receive the required support in the Catalan Chamber, “the Government can’t continue, for reasons of dignity and democratic coherence”, Puigdemont stated. Thus, he called for pro-independence radical left CUP, the main partner of cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ in the Government to have “courage” and allow the bill to be passed. CUP already vetoed the previous budget last summer, forcing the extension of the 2015 budget, after considering it “too autonomic” and not proper of a state which aims to be independent.
Barcelona (CNA).- Passing the budget for 2017 is crucial for the Government to move forward and for the referendum on independence to take place. These are two of the main ideas Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, wanted to emphasise this Thursday. If the bill, which will be put to vote in February, doesn’t receive the required support in the Catalan Chamber, “the Government can’t continue, for reasons of dignity and democratic coherence”, he stated. “Managing this responsibility has to be the guide for our behaviour”, said Puigdemont addressing pro-independence radical left CUP, the main partner of cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ in the Government. The Catalan President called them to have “courage” and allow the bill to be passed, although CUP doesn’t agree with all of its allocations. The draft budget for 2017 passed it first hurdle in November with few votes from CUP.
The vote on the budget for 2017 will be the Government’s next acid test. The bill, which allocates more than 74% of its total amount for social expenditure, has been described by Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, as “the best budget possible”. Indeed, €1.1 billion more has been allocated for this purpose in comparison to the budget for 2015, which had to be extended for 2016. According to Junqueras, the draft budget especially focuses on “fiscal justice”, which he described as a fundamental pillar of Catalonia’s economic growth.
Puigdemont warns that without passing the bill, the referendum won’t take place
The Government has to be “responsible” because it is not managing “a small ideological area”, said Puigdemont, indirectly referring to CUP.“Managing this responsibility has to be the guide for our behaviour” he stated and insisted on the need to pass the budget for 2017. Otherwise, the referendum on independence scheduled for September is unlikely to take place, he warned. He insisted that without passing the bill “the Government can’t continue, for reasons of dignity and democratic coherence”.
According to the Catalan President, if a Government can’t have the agreed and necessary parliamentarian stability “the basic elements which enable the term of office are broken”, although it could technically continue.
“I don’t see myself distorting the democratic mandate like this; it is not what we came for”, Puigdemont stated and urged his government partners to have “courage” in order to “transcend the frontiers of the political spaces”.
CUP gave few votes to the draft but did allow it to be put to vote
However,CUP, the main partner of governing party ‘Junts Pel Sí’, gave few votes to the draft. They allowed it to be put to vote in February with the support of only 2 of their 10 MPs and insisted that it didn’t mean backing the bill but rather allowing the debate. CUP MP, Eulàlia Reguant contradicted Junqueras and assured that this budget “is not the best possible”. “Despite the Spanish Government’s and the ‘Troika’s impositions, there is still much room to explore and yet this has not been done”, she lamented. “A budget which doesn’t explore all the possible room is not ours”, she stated.
The budget for 2017 was presented after CUP rejected the bill for 2016, last June. They considered the numbers presented then to be “too autonomic” rather than responding to the pro-independence aspirations of Catalonia. Thus, the budget for 2015 had to be extended.