Catalan executive to appeal Spanish government’s control of accounts

Vice president says legal challenge is first step in bringing Spain’s threat of cutting funds to avoid October vote before international courts

At the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday (by ACN)
At the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 25, 2017 06:12 PM

Catalonia has reacted to the Spanish government’s announcement that it will monitor the accounts of the Catalan executive so that no public money is spent on organizing the referendum. On Friday, the Spanish government spokesman said that the Public Tax Office will begin checking what the Catalan government spends funds on, in order to ensure that "not a single euro" goes towards the organization of the October 1 vote.

The Catalan government responded by announcing it will present two legal appeals against the Spanish executive’s intentions to monitor its accounts, one to the Supreme Court and one to the Constitutional Court. The Spanish government has threatened to deny the Catalan authorities access to the FLA, the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities, if it is shown that public money has been spent on the vote.

First step in bringing Spain's threat before international courts

According to the Catalan Vice President and economy and treasury minister, Oriol Junqueras, going to court is just “the first step in bringing this matter before the international courts whenever necessary,” he told at a news conference after the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.

Moreover, Junqueras stressed that it will be the ministers and not the comptrollers at each department of the Catalan administration who will certify the expenses. The Spanish government had demanded that the weekly government expenses be certified by Spanish public servants, but the vice president made it clear that the Catalan government wants to “protect the public workers” by presenting the expenses themselves.

Furthermore, the vice president insisted that the Catalan government will not provide the list of public workers demanded by the Spanish executive in the 183 public bodies, including music schools for instance, which are also to have their accounts monitored. The vice president removed all responsibility from the shoulders of public servants, saying: “it will be the government members who will take responsibility for our decisions.”

“Cutting FLA has no effect on the referendum”

Yet, Junqueras dismissed the Spanish government’s threats, arguing that “if the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities is cut off, the citizens will vote anyway,” and he insisted that “interrupting the FLA would have no effect on the referendum.” The minister added that his government would not use these funds for a referendum, as the FLA is basically to pay suppliers and debt repayments. Cutting the FLA funds, argued Junqueras “threatens the weakest part of society,” as the funds are earmarked “principally for suppliers of social services” and the third sector bodies are “the last to get paid.”

In fact, the vice president accused the Spanish government of not trying to stop the referendum at all but “to paralyze the proper functioning of service suppliers, hospitals, and nursing homes.” The treasury head appealed to the Spanish government to act responsibly and not to put Catalonia’s social, health and education services at risk. Junqueras concluded by saying that July’s invoices have already been sent and that the accounts are public.