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Spain’s next Minister of Public Works should be Catalan, says Chamber of Commerce

President of organization says Catalonia did not receive full proposed budget in 2017

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01 June 2018 05:19 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The president of the Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona, Miquel Valls, has called on the new president of Spain to appoint a Catalan as Minister of Public Works for the Spanish government.

“It would be a very well-seen decision in the Catalan world of business,” Valls stated on Friday. He insisted that it is necessary for the model of investment for infrastructure be put in motion, taking into account criteria such as sustainability, efficiency, and social profitability. These should be put before “other types of criteria such as those that have dominated the territorial balance until now.”

The level of budget destined for Catalonia in 2017 improved, standing above the Spanish average. Despite this, Valls highlighted that 4.1 billion euros of investments announced by outgoing Spanish president Mariano Rajoy in March last year “is yet to arrive.” The money was to be invested in Catalonia from 2017 until 2020. Much of it was to be spent on railway line works in Catalonia.

Valls explained that in 2017, Catalonia was set to receive one billion euros from Spain’s Ministry of Public Works in a plan announced last year. However, it only received 77% of the budget; around 790 million euros. This was higher than the rest of Spain as a whole, in which 73.1% of the budget was executed.

Guaranteeing the completion of Catalan investment plans

A Catalan minister of public works in the Spanish government would guarantee the completion of investment plans in Catalonia, Valls said in words directed at Sánchez, who is taking Rajoy’s place after a vote of no confidence against him.

Infrastructure investment

Valls made these statements at a press conference in which the last 30 years of investment in Catalan infrastructures was presented. Another key point at the presentation held by the Chamber of Commerce, was the evaluation of the investment model in the context of looking to the future.

According to the president of the chamber, the future will never be as it was before the economic crisis, when public works investments were flourishing. Valls said that he will never see the same level of investment as was seen ten years ago.

No free motorways

Also at the presentation, Valls stated that the idea of free motorways  is not compatible with the current budget reality.

He highlighted that infrastructure policy needs to be based in a model of collaboration between the public and private sectors.

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  • President of the Chamber of Commerce (right) Miquel Valls, alongside chamber's director of infrastructure studies Cristian Bardají on Friday (by ACN) f

  • President of the Chamber of Commerce (right) Miquel Valls, alongside chamber's director of infrastructure studies Cristian Bardají on Friday (by ACN) f