CUP’s veto on budget will have “extremely severe consequences”
The stability of the parliamentary term in office and the relationship between the Catalan Government and the radical left-wing party CUP are at risk after the latter decided on Tuesday to maintain its total opposition to the 2016 draft budget bill. The Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, said that the decision will have “extremely severe consequences” and that “social services” will be particularly affected. The Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, warned that the stability of the current term was “hit” and regretted that CUP didn’t respect the agreement with the pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, the main party in the Parliament, through which they committed to “guarantee parliamentarian stability”. Munté also warned that CUP’s veto “will have consequences” but emphasised the government’s aim to “continue working to put Catalonia at the gates of independence”. CUP’s rejection of the bill, which they considered insufficient and still too “autonomic”, forces the Catalan Government to extend the 2015 budget.
Barcelona (CNA).- Radical left pro-independence CUP decided on Tuesday to maintain their veto on the draft budget for 2016, presented two weeks ago by Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras. Thus, the anti-capitalists have forced the Catalan Government to extend the 2015 budget. Junqueras warned that CUP’s veto will have “extremely severe consequences”, particularly on “social services”. Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, admitted that the parliamentary term is “hit” by the decision, which she also said “will have consequences”. Munté noted that the radical left-wingers haven’t respected the agreement with pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, the main party in Parliament, through which they committed to “guarantee the parliamentarian stability” and facilitate the Government’s task.
Munté accused CUP of breaking the pro-independence forces’ stability agreement reached in January of this year on several occasions and regretted that the anti-capitalists have repeatedly refused to “leave their comfort zone”. “This stability applied to processing the most important law, which is the budget”, she emphasised. The Catalan Government spokeswoman also said that the Catalan executive never asked CUP “to pass the bill with closed eyes” but to “allow the bill to be processed by Parliament” and make any eventual modifications after that.
Sources from the Catalan Government consider the agreement between pro-independence forces ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP to now be broken. However, Munté assured that the Catalan executive will continue to work in order to “put Catalonia at the gates of independence”.
Extending the 2015 budget will have “extremely severe consequences”
Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, warned on Wednesday that “extending the budget for 2015 will have extremely severe consequences” for Catalonia, especially regarding “the social services”. Junqueras denied that the bill for 2016 was similar to that for 2015. “This bill laid on the table 1.1 billion euros more than the previous one, 873 million of which was allocated to social services”, he stated.
CUP, divided over the veto
CUP’s Political Board and Parliamentary Action Group voted on Tuesday to maintain their veto on the draft budget for 2016. The decision was taken by a margin of only three votes and forces the Catalan Government to extend the budget for 2015 and start work for the 2017 bill. Although Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras assured that the draft budget was “realistic” and “socially committed”, pro-independence radical left CUP considered it insufficient and still too “autonomic”, and claimed that it didn’t “reflect the pro-independence declaration proposal” approved by the Catalan Chamber on the 9th of November.
In a press conference right after confirming their veto, CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant said that “rather than vetoing, CUP decided to continue working alongside the Catalan Government and ‘Junts Pel Sí’” and was open to negotiations for the 2017 bill “if necessary”. “We want to do it right and make clear that the amendment reflect our aim to work together”, she stated.
According to CUP MP Albert Botran “the draft should have been discussed and agreed between the pro-independence forces before putting it to vote”. He considered this procedure “a mistake which should not be repeated” and emphasised “the lack of seriousness regarding time management”. As opposed to Munté, this CUP MP considered “this disagreement” not to affect “the deep roots of the pro-independence process”. “The negotiations are still ongoing and this involves eventual disagreements”, he stated.
In a similar vein, Reguant insisted that the CUP “guarantees and will continue to guarantee stability regarding the pro-independence declaration approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November and its future deployment”.
A stability agreement in exchange for Mas’ resignation
On the 3rd of January 2016, CUP ultimately decided to reject former Catalan President Artur Mas’ candidature and insisted that they wouldn’t facilitate his investiture. In response, Mas accused the party of being “intransigent” and not having “a sense of state”.
A week later, pro-independence forces ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP, which together have a majority of 72 seats in the Catalan Chamber, reached an agreement to resolve the presidency of the new Catalan government and launch the independence roadmap. Mas decided to step aside and the president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and mayor of Girona, Carles Pugidemont, was appointed as a candidate of consensus. In exchange for this, some of CUP’s MPs resigned in order to guarantee the stability of the new government.
The agreement also established that two CUP MPs were to join ‘Junts Pel Sí’ parliamentary activity so that “the government’s proposals wouldn’t be rejected every now and then”, stated Mas back then. He was referring to possible future vetoes from CUP that, this week, have actually materialised.