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The Spanish Government will set a spending limit and sanctions for Autonomies that do not meet the deficit objectives

Catalonia already approved its own spending limit through a law of its own last September. The Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, explained that the new Budget Stability and Sustainability Law will introduce “mechanism corrections” and “almost automatic” sanctions for public administrations that do not meet the deficit objectives. In addition, before approving their budget, the Autonomies and large city town councils will have to commit to a spending limit and present detailed reports on several aspects of the budget. However, she stressed that each autonomous government will have the freedom to allocate resources.

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13 January 2012 11:26 PM

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ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Madrid (ACN).- The Vice President of the Spanish Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, explained on Friday after the weekly Cabinet meeting some aspects of the new Budget Stability and Sustainability Law. The main changes to public administrations (Central Government, regional government and local councils and municipalities) are that failure to meet the deficit objectives will receive \u201Calmost automatic\u201D sanctions. Furthermore, \u201Cmechanism corrections\u201D will be in place to address the situation and meet the deficit objective, as it is \u201Cthe responsibility of everybody\u201D and \u201Ca commitment of all in front of the European Union\u201D. Particular attention will be paid to the \u201Cseriousness and recidivism\u201D of the failure. Besides, as discussed in the past few days, the Spanish Government will oblige the Autonomous Community governments and large city town councils to present reports on several budget aspects and set a spending limit before approving their own budget. However, the Vice President stressed that the Spanish Government will not go into spending priorities and resource allocation, as was feared in Catalonia and several voices had warned over the past few days. Each autonomous government will have the freedom to allocate their resources whatever way it considers correct, following the autonomy principle recognised in the Spanish Constitution, affirmed Sáenz de Santamaría. The Spanish Government \u201Cwill not say how to spend the money, but set a spending limit\u201D, she explained. In fact, the respect paid to the autonomy principle is an obligation recognised in the Spanish Constitution. Nonetheless, the Catalan Government already approved its own Budget Stability Law at the end of September, which fixes a gradual reduction of the public deficit in the coming years in order to reach a self-imposed maximum of 0.14% deficit in 2018. Catalonia has thus been a pioneer in this matter and the rest of the Autonomies do not have their own law yet.


Spain\u2019s Budget Stability will have to ensure budget austerity in Spain and throughout all public administrations and at all government levels. The new law will be based on the principles of \u201Cequality, responsibility and loyalty\u201D among the different government levels, said Sáenz de Santamaría. The legal text will develop Spain\u2019s Constitutional amendment approved last September that introduced a public deficit limit. The law would foresee that by 2020, the Autonomous Community governments cannot have a deficit higher than 0.14%. In this sense, Catalonia\u2019s law obliges the Catalan Government not to have a deficit higher than 0.14% in 2018. The Spanish Government would be allowed to reach a 0.4% deficit in the same year.

The Catalan Government already approved a deficit limit of 0.14% by 2018

Following the decision to introduce an amendment to the Spanish Constitution, the Catalan Government approved its own law limiting its deficit. At the end of September, just days after the Constitutional amendment had been approved, the Catalan Government decided that by 2018, its deficit will be limited to .014% of Catalonia\u2019s GDP. With this law, the Catalan Government will be obliged to respect a deficit ceiling each year, which will be gradually reduced year on year. In 2012, the deficit ceiling will represent 1.3%; in 2013, 1.1%; and in 2014, 1%. From this year forward, the Government will have four more years to reach the 0.14% limit in 2018, explained the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, in September.

A law to be discussed with all the Autonomous Communities

Sáenz de Santamaría explained that Cristóbal Montoro, Minister for Finance and Public Administration, presented in Friday\u2019s Cabinet meeting a report to draft Spain\u2019s Budget Stability and Sustainability Law. The Spanish Government\u2019s proposal will be discussed in next week\u2019s meeting between the Spanish Government and all the Autonomous Communities with the exception of the Basque Country and Navarra, which have their own fiscal model and raise their own taxes. It is expected the Autonomies run by the People\u2019s Party, which also runs the Spanish Government, will take a common approach, and might impose their views on the rest of the regions, including Catalonia. However, the Spanish Vice President said, \u201CWe need to work together to solve these liquidity problems\u201D. She said that the Spanish Government aims \u201Cto reach an agreement\u201D and \u201Cto listen to the Autonomies\u2019 needs\u201D, in particular related to \u201Cthe expiration calendar of their loans\u201D.

The Spanish Government will pay \u201Cparticular attention\u201D to the Catalan Government\u2019s claims

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría stated that the Spanish Government will pay \u201Cparticular attention\u201D to the Catalan Government\u2019s claims, and those of the party running Catalonia, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU), \u201Cbecause Catalonia is a very important community in terms of GDP, population and wealth\u201D. Two days ago, CiU voted with the People\u2019s Party in favour of the Spanish Government\u2019s decree cutting public spending and increasing taxes. The Spanish Vice President wished that CiU\u2019s \u201Cyes\u201D marks the beginning of \u201Ca wanted institutional cooperation\u201D. \u201C We want to have flowing dialogue with other parties, including CiU\u201D, she stated. Since \u201Cimportant reforms are to be discussed\u201D in the coming weeks and months, which \u201Chave an effect on everybody\u201D, Sáenz de Santamaría said she will listen to the views of the Catalan Government\u2019s and CiU.

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  • The Spanish Vice President and Government's Spokesperson Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

  • The Spanish Vice President and Government's Spokesperson Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)