All set for Catalan parliament to approve €40bn 2023 spending plan
Minority government's budget to move forward after securing support of Socialists and Comuns
The Catalan parliament is poised to approve the 2023 budget bill in a vote that is scheduled to take place shortly before 2 pm on Friday.
The €40bn spending plan will move forward after the minority Esquerra government was able to secure the support of Socialist and anti-austerity En Comú Podem MPs, who voted against full amendments a month ago.
Having failed to strike a deal with fellow pro-independence Junts and CUP, Esquerra was forced to seek the backing of other opposition parties: the Socialists, with just as many MPs in the 135-person chamber, 33, and the Comuns, with 8.
"The agreement has the signature of the Catalan president and the head of the opposition on it," Socialist MP Alícia Romero reminded Esquerra during the debate prior to the vote.
"We will make sure it is complied with entirely, from A to Z, from the first to the last point," she added.
En Comú Podem, on the other hand, was direct about their disapproval of certain parts of the bill despite making clear that they would vote in favor of it.
"This isn't our budget. It's possible to say it's not the best budget. But it's possibly the best budget possible," the party's Joan Carles Gallego said, describing it as necessary in order to contend with "the right and those who remain immobile."
Pro-independence opposition blasts Esquerra
Junts, the former junior government partner that left the cabinet last October after disagreements with Esquerra over how to achieve independence came to the fore, was clear about their reasons for voting against the budget bill.
"There is no strategic coordination within the independence movement, nor is there strategic unity in Madrid or Europe or an amnesty and self-determination," Jordi Munell of the more hard-line pro-independence party said. "All we've seen is [Esquerra] facilitate the Spanish government's term in office, its stability, and its budget."
Far-left pro-independence CUP also told Mr. Aragonès they did would not back his budget. "People don't like and we don't like your government, your policies, or the ways you move forward with them," MP Eulàlia Reguant said.
Unionist right criticizes budget
Far-right Vox, the conservative People's Party, and liberal Ciudadanos vociferously opposed the Esquerra-Socialist-Comuns budget agreement.
Joan Garriga of the far-right party, for one, accused the budget bill agreements between the pro-independence left, unionist left, and non-aligned left of fostering "separatism and anti-Spain sentiment."
Garriga also accused the Catalan government of having a "foreign ministry that does not have the authority to do what it does and that is not loyal to the Spanish government."
The liberal party Ciudadanos' Nacho Martín Blanco, meanwhile, charged that the spending plan was "not the one Catalonia needs."
Instead, he argued, it was the one "Mr. Aragonès needs to stay in power," highlighting Esquerra's challenges governing in minority.
When it was conservative party MP Alejandro Fernández's turn to take the stand, he lambasted the Catalan government for their stated desire for dialogue as a way of addressing the independence conflict while rejecting all of his party's proposed amendments to the bill.
"Here everyone talks about their desire for dialogue and whatnot but it turns out a cordon sanitaire has been placed around us," he said.