Spanish government admits shortfall in infrastructure spending in Catalonia
Development minister pledges to remedy situation, while Catalan counterpart says he will be "demanding" in upcoming bilateral summit
In recent years there has been a shortfall in public spending on infrastructure in Catalonia. So says infrastructure minister, José Luis Ábalos, who told the Spanish Parliament that today's spending is "much less" than under the last Socialist government [2004-2011], and he pledged to rectify the situation.
"There is a lot to do but the most important thing is that we have opened up channels of communication," said Ábalos, in reference to the upcoming bilateral meeting between the Spanish and Catalan governments that is due to take place for the first time in years.
According to the minister, he hoped the summit, to be held on Monday October 15, would help establish "frank dialogue" between the governments, which will work towards new public spending on Catalonia's infrastructure.
According to Ábalos, after a fall in spending on infrastructure in 2017, this year's spending by his department has risen from 176 to 277 million euros. While the minister admitted that in 2016 and 2017 Catalonia experienced a "deceleration" in infrastructure spending, he also said it is the area in Spain that received the most funding between 1996 and 2016.
"First step towards resolving this situation"
The Catalan PDeCAT party welcomed the Spanish government's recognition of the shortfall in public spending on infrastructure in Catalonia. MP Ferran Bel called it "a first step towards resolving this situation," in reference to the ongoing political crisis between the Catalan and Spanish governments.
Meanwhile, the Catalan minister for territory and sustainability, Damià Calvet, insisted that he would be "demanding" in the upcoming infrastructure summit on Monday with the Spanish government, so that it complies with its spending pledges and ensures the completion of the projects that "are underway."