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Catalonia to appeal against 4 Spanish Government’s laws for being “a Constitutional reform in disguise”

The Catalan Government announced it will take to the Constitutional Court four bills drafted by the Spanish Executive because they neglect Catalonia’s self-government capacities and exclusive powers. The 4 affected bills are the Education Reform, the Market Unity Law, the Local Governments Law and the Environment Evaluation Law. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, said that those reforms go against the Constitution and aim to reform it “through the back door”. “It is a reform without the needed transparency, without holding an open debate”, he said. “They are stripping away our political capacity to decide”, Homs emphasised. The Spanish Government justified the recentralisation of powers as a way to improve efficiency in times of economic crisis and austerity. However, several experts have already warned that it is not proven that efficiency will improve if powers are centralised.

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05 March 2014 09:19 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government announced on Tuesday it will take four bills drafted by the Spanish Executive to the Constitutional Court because they neglect Catalonia’s self-government capacities and exclusive powers. The Catalan Government is complaining against a radical recentralisation of powers, which represent “a Constitutional reform in disguise” according to the Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs. The 4 affected bills are the Education Reform, the Market Unity Law, the Local Governments Law and the Environment Evaluation Law. The Catalan Government believes that the reforms are not in line with the Spanish Government’s Constitutional powers and go way beyond them, notably breaking the Constitutional pact from 1978 and the subsequent devolution of powers through a wide series of legislation – including 2 Statutes of Autonomy approved through binding referenda. However, the Spanish Government officially justifies them for efficiency reasons.


The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, said that those reforms go against the Constitution and aim to reform it “through the back door”. “It is a reform with the needed transparency, without holding an open debate”, he said. “They are stripping away our political capacity to decide”, Homs emphasised.

The Spanish Government justified the recentralisation of powers as a way to improve efficiency in times of economic crisis and austerity. However, several experts have already warned that it is not proven that efficiency will improve if powers are centralised.

The 4 bills taken to the Constitutional Court

The Education Reform is looking to impose Spanish as a teaching language, aiming to “Hispanicise Catalan pupils”, as the Spanish Education Minister publicly said a year ago. In addition it recentralises evaluation processes and school curricula, which are the Catalan Government’s exclusive powers. Therefore it would entirely change Catalonia’s own school model, in place for more than 30 years, which has been praised internationally for fostering true bilingualism, equal opportunities and social cohesion. Secondly, the Market Unity Law reduces the Catalan Government’s regulatory capacities, since authorisations issued by other Autonomous Communities on the basis of lower standards would be valid in Catalonia. The risks of regulatory dumping practices and further limitations of the Catalan Executive’s capacities to define its own fiscal, labour, industrial and environmental policies are major concerns. Furthermore, regulatory bodies have already been centralised.

Thirdly, the Local Governments Reform bypasses Catalonia’s exclusive powers to organise its own municipal and supra-municipal bodies. With this bill the Spanish Government imposes a series of criteria to significantly reorganise local governments by emptying town halls and recentralising powers back to the provincial councils, as it was done in Franco times and during the 19th century. Besides, the Catalan Government is already developing its own municipal efficiency bill.

Finally, the Environmental Evaluation Law, which is applicable to new programmes, constructions or industrial projects, limits the Catalan Government’s capacities in this area, seriously damaging its exclusive powers to protect the natural environment or water sources for instance.

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  • The Constitutional Court in Madrid (by ACN)

  • The Constitutional Court in Madrid (by ACN)