Socialists warn Catalan 2024 budget deal in January is 'impossible'

PSC spokesperson says they will not negotiate 'until 2023 agreements are largely fulfilled'

Leader of Catalan Socialists (PSC) Salvador Illa
Leader of Catalan Socialists (PSC) Salvador Illa / Francesc Voltas
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 2, 2024 03:07 PM

January 3, 2024 12:37 PM

The Catalan Socialists (PSC) have warned that they consider it "impossible" for the Catalan budget for 2024 to come into force before the end of January. 

This was claimed by the Socialist spokesperson in Parliament, Alícia Romero, on Wednesday, after Catalan president Pere Aragonès urged other parliamentary parties to reach an agreement to approve the budget by the end of January or early February at the latest. 

In an interview with SER Catalonia radio, Romero has pointed out that the parliamentary processing time of a bill is "at least" between 6 and 7 weeks. 

She also told Aragonès that her group will not negotiate the 2024 budget "until we have confirmation that the agreements of 2023 are largely fulfilled".

'Red lines could derail agreement'

On Tuesday, in an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Catalan president Pere Aragonès assured that his executive has already "finished its work" and that if it were up to him, the budget could be approved "today".

Aragonès warned the Catalan Socialists, the pro-independence Junts, the left-wing Comuns and the far-left CUP, the parties with which he is expected to strike a deal, that "setting too many red lines could make it impossible to reach an agreement."

The Catalan president said he wants to reach a broad agreement "as soon as possible" and confirmed the government's "full willingness" to provide the parliamentary groups with all the information they need on projects and content.

Last year, the Catalan government's budget was approved in March after an agreement between Esquerra, the left-wing Comuns and the Catalan Socialists.

6% increase in spending

Catalan finance minister Natàlia Mas announced last month that the 2024 budget will see a 6% increase in spending, describing it as "more expansive" than historical averages but not exceeding 2023 levels. 

Mas said that the technical work is "done" and the discussions with the social and economic actors are "advanced", while she expressed the hope that the talks with the political parties will progress "as quickly as possible".