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Mas promises a “business friendly” Government, “open to dialog, transparent and with cohesion”

Mas affirmed the beginning of a “national transition” towards the right of Catalans to decide on their own future. A new economic agreement with Spain is a priority in this direction. In addition, the new Catalan President will implement an economic reactivation plan, agreed together with the Parliament and the social agents. The new government will also have 2 expert advisory councils on Economics and Health, organised free of cost by professional associations. Mas also promised that, once the budget improves after the crisis, social policies will represent 55% of the public expenditure.

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20 December 2010 09:53 PM

by

ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).-  Today the investiture debate begun.  The leader of the largest group within the newly-elected Catalan Parliament, Artur Mas, the President of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU), delivered his investiture speech. Everything indicates he will become the 129th President of the Catalan Government. Mas discussed his Government\u2019s priorities. The first is the new economic agreement between Catalonia and Spain, the \u201Cfirst step\u201D in Catalonia\u2019s \u201Cnational transition\u201D towards obtaining its own right to decide on its future. Mas pictured a Government that is \u201Copen to dialog, transparent\u201D and connected with civil society and entrepreneurs; \u201Cbusiness friendly\u201D, he stated in English.


The investiture debate will last 2 days and tomorrow afternoon the first voting will take place. It is likely that Mas will not be able to be elected in this first voting. On Thursday 23rd of December, the second voting will be held and a simple majority will be then required. This day, Artur Mas will very likely be elected the next Catalan President and will be invested to form the new Catalan Government. The question now is which party or parties will vote for him or will abstain to facilitate his investiture, and which will clearly oppose. The sense of this voting may give some indications of future agreements and collaborations among parties. Mas will need punctual support as he lacks 6 MPs to rule with absolute majority. The investiture debate may give some hints on the project and vision coincidences, and will set the priorities and the broad road map of the next years.

Mas delivered this morning his investiture speech before the new Catalan Parliament. In the afternoon, the rest of the groups were answering, as well as tomorrow. Mas called for an \u201Copen to dialog, transparent\u201D and \u201Cbusiness friendly\u201D Government. His first priority is \u201Cto lift the country up\u201D, economically and politically speaking.

On the political framework field, he stated he will push for a new economic agreement between Catalonia and Spain regarding fiscal redistribution, similar to what the Basque Country and Navarra have. Mas\u2019 objective is that Catalonia gives less money to the rest of Spain and thus it counts with larger economic resources. This new agreement would be the first step of Mas mid-term project. In his investiture speech, Mas declared the start of a \u201Cnational transition\u201D in Catalonia towards Catalans\u2019 right to decide on their own future. In the horizon: getting the self-determination right for Catalonia, which could later be used or not. Mas also declared his will to approve the first Catalan electoral system law, which was never agreed in the last 30 years.

On purely economics, Mas will also implement an economic reactivation plan to fight against unemployment and to help businesses, focusing on innovation and infrastructures, as well as on productive sectors. He also affirmed his will to fight against the public deficit and reduce public expenditure by reducing Government departments and political positions. He will also reduce the number of reports, the amount spent in advertising and the protocol expenditure. In addition, he announced the creation of two advisory councils on Economics and Health. They would be created by the Cercle d\u2019Economia, a business and academic association on economics, without extra costs as members would not be paid. The similar model would work for the Health advisory council created by the Doctors\u2019 Professional Association.

Mas also stated that once the public budget is in better shape after the crisis, social policy would represent 55% of the expenditure. The very likely new Catalan President also talked about social policy and cohesion. The first tool for social cohesion and equal opportunities is to guarantee that all Catalans understand Catalan and Spanish. Mas thus defended the Catalan language immersion model in public schools.

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  • Artur Mas during his investiture speech before the Catalan Parliament (by O. Campuzano)

  • Artur Mas during his investiture speech before the Catalan Parliament (by O. Campuzano)