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Spanish Socialist Party will not support specific fiscal agreement for Catalonia

The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) closed the door Monday on supporting a hypothetical specific economic agreement between Catalonia and Spain, similar to the specific fiscal pact already in existence for the Basque Country, which would recognise Catalonia’s “specificities”, strengthen its self-rule and better fund its institutions, public services and infrastructure. However, the PSOE did urge the Spanish Government “to update” the current inter-territorial fiscal scheme in order to improve the funding of Autonomous Communities such as Catalonia, calling for “a fairer and more equitable model”. A majority of Catalan society has been asking for such a fiscal agreement for many years, which would help reduce the chronic fiscal deficit while keeping solidarity with poorer regions.

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10 August 2015 10:57 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) closed the door Monday on supporting a hypothetical specific economic agreement between Catalonia and Spain, similar to the specific fiscal pact already in existence for the Basque Country, which would recognise Catalonia’s “specificities”, strengthen its self-rule and better fund its institutions, public services and infrastructure. The PSOE’s Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament, Antonio Hernando, emphasised that the Socialists do not envisage any “bilateral” relationship between Catalonia and the Spanish authorities in fiscal issues, such as the Basque Country and Navarra have. However, the PSOE did urge the Spanish Government “to update” the current inter-territorial fiscal scheme in order to improve the funding of Autonomous Communities such as Catalonia, and calling for “a fairer and more equitable model”. Hernando also stressed that the revision of the fiscal scheme is already “two years late”, as the current model expired on the 1st of January 2014, with discussion over a new model having not even started yet as the Spanish Government and the governing People’s Party (PP) are blocking any talks on the issue.


A majority of Catalan society has been asking for such a fiscal agreement for many years, and an even wider share of Catalans have been demanding more funds for Catalonia’s public services and infrastructure, and a reduction in the chronic fiscal deficit while keeping solidarity with poorer Autonomous Communities. Such a perpetuate underfinancing of the Catalan public sector and the lack of interest shown by the Spanish establishment in solving this issue is one of the reasons behind the mass support for independence from Spain. The Catalan Government has been complaining about its lack of funds and the need to at least set up a new fiscal scheme that replaces the expired one, but its claims have simply been ignored by the Spanish Executive led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

A few days ago, the PSOE’s Organisation Secretary, César Luena, insinuated that the party had been analysing the possibility of supporting the setting up of a specific fiscal pact for Catalonia in order to give Catalan institutions greater control over their own resources and improve the relationship with Spain. Hernando’s statements from this Monday contradict Luena’s and indicate that the Socialists do not support such a fiscal agreement or that there are significant differences about this issue within the party.

Taking into account the PSOE’s trajectory over the past few years and other statements made by other leaders, including Catalan ones, the first option seems the more likely: the Socialists do not support a specific agreement for Catalonia. Thus, combined with their lack of support for Catalonia’s right to self-determination (despite the PSOE supporting it in the late 1970s, when the Spanish Constitution was drafted and approved) and their lack of support for full recognition of Catalonia’s nationhood status within a broader Spanish nation (defining Spain as a nation of nations), it does not seem likely that the constitutional reform they have been proposing for the last two years, without yet detailing it, will be a ground-breaking contribution to significantly reducing support for independence.

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  • The Spanish Parliament, a few months ago (by ACN)

  • The Spanish Parliament, a few months ago (by ACN)