Spain carried out 35% of public investment pledged for Catalonia in 2021 budget

Catalan government outraged, as Madrid region received 184% of amount foreseen in spending plan

A commuter train in Montcada i Reixac, on February 11, 2022 (by Albert Segura)
A commuter train in Montcada i Reixac, on February 11, 2022 (by Albert Segura) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 31, 2022 10:30 AM

Spain only carried out last year public investment worth 35.8% of the amounts pledged for Catalonia in the 2021 budget. That is, €739.9 million, meaning that two thirds of the projects planned were never executed. 

These figures were published by Spain's finance ministry on Monday, along with the investment in other territories such as the Madrid region, which was allocated 184% of the amount foreseen in the spending plan (€2.08 billion).

Only 27.3% of the amount promised for Spanish public companies in Catalonia was distributed, and this includes the railway infrastructure manager, Adif, and the company that operates passenger trains, Renfe, as well as Puertos del Estado, the company managing the country's main ports.

The commuter service by Renfe has been regarded by many travelers as poor and plagued with daily delays for decades, with the lack of investment traditionally regarded as the main reason. 

Indeed, the Catalan government has estimated that 86% of the total "breach" belongs to Adif and Renfe

President Pere Aragonès said the figures are "unacceptable," and has urged Spain's transport minister, Catalan Socialists' Raquel Sánchez, for an "immediate" explanation. 

In the same vein, for the Catalan finance minister, Jaume Giró, the news is "truly surprising, sad and disappointing."

According to him, only 9% of the total investment in 2021 was allocated to Catalonia, taking into account that the territory accounts for 16% of Spain's population and 19% of its GDP

"Today there are many reasons to wish for Catalonia to be a state," he told the press on Monday evening. "The economic and fiscal reason is one of the most powerful ones, since this permanent disdain from Spain is humiliating."

The fact that Madrid has received almost double the amount committed while Catalonia only received a third has also sparked outcry. 

"Some still wonder why Madrid is going that well," Giró expressed. 

Spain reacts: Catalonia topping investment for period 2018 to 2021

Some hours after the Spanish finance figures were published, sources of the Spanish government said that since 2018, when the Socialists came to power, Catalonia "is the region that has received more public investment," with €3.67 billion, a figure much higher than the €2.39 billion allocated in the preceding four years. 

Also, the same sources say that in the first term of 2022, budget allocation for Catalonia is 60% higher than in the same period of 2021 – "three times higher than the average growth for all territories."