Catalan budget one step away from approval as opposition's full amendments rejected

Socialists and En Comú Podem vote with ERC government

Catalan parliament votes against opposition's full amendments to 2023 budget
Catalan parliament votes against opposition's full amendments to 2023 budget / Natàlia Segura
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 14, 2023 06:44 PM

February 14, 2023 07:35 PM

The 2023 Catalan budget is just one step away from approval after full amendments from opposition parties were rejected on Tuesday.

Votes from MPs from governing party Esquerra Republicana (ERC), En Comú Podem (ECP) and the Socialists (PSC) were enough to defeat the motions to reject the spending plan, put forward by right-wing unionist parties, Ciudadanos, the People's Party and Vox, and opposition pro-independence parties, Junts and CUP.  

Kicking off a long day of debate in parliament, Natàlia Mas Guix, the Minister of Economy and Finance, invited those parties that submitted full amendments to the budget to "abandon maximalist positions of all or nothing, black or white." 

She urged them instead to allow parliamentary procedures to continue so that Catalonia's "most expansive budget in history" can come into force as soon as possible. 

In her opening speech, Mas Guix also specifically addressed the pro-independence parties that remain opposed to the budget: "The door is open and the hand is well extended, especially to those parties with whom we share the goal of achieving independence." 

"Having a budget that make it possible to strengthen health, educational and industrial capacities is better than not having one," the minister said, adding that "despite the differences" there were "many points of agreement on the project as we have noted during the weeks of negotiations." 

"To oppose the budget is to deny more than €350m to Barcelona, to give up €157m to the Girona region or €114m to Central Catalonia," Mas Guix said. 

Budget deals 

The 2023 budget is a record high spending plan of over €41bn, which, according to its backers, aims to modernize Barcelona Airport, increase health spending, and promote renewables. 

It is set to be passed by the Catalan parliament after governing party Esquerra Republicana (ERC) reached deals with the Socialists (PSC) and En Comú Podem (ECP).

Pro-independence Junts and CUP criticize ERC 

Junts, former members of the government before their members voted to leave the coalition in October, remained steadfast in their opposition to the budget. 

Referring to the pro-independence majority in parliament, Junts spokesperson Mònica Sales criticized their former partners ERC: "They have never prioritized the 52% over their party." 

Left-wing pro-independence group CUP accused ERC of tying its term in office and the future of Catalonia to the "most mediocre, right-wing and pro-Spain" Catalan Socialist Party in history. 

MP Eulàlia Reguant described the budgets as "chronicling poverty", and blamed the privatization of education on the underfunding of the public system. 

Right-wing unionist opposition 

Right-wing unionist parties also voiced their displeasure at the budget, the government and the other parties supporting the deal. 

Ciudadanos' parliamentary leader Carlos Carrizosa said the budget "is not good for Catalans or for coexistence," and describing it as "bread for today and hunger for tomorrow." 

Joan Garriga, of far-right Vox, accused the government of "robbing Catalans and wasting their money." 

The People's Party's, Alejandro Fernández, accused the government, PSC and ECP of agreeing on the 2023 budget for "pure survival." 

"We are not dealing with a political movement that will generate stability in Catalonia," he added.