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Draft budget for 2016 projects €23.7 billion in total expenditure, 1.5% higher than last year

The Catalan Government’s total projected spending for 2016 amounts to €23.7 billion, 1.5% higher than last year’s bill and sets a deficit equivalent to 0.7% of Catalonia’s GDP, the same as that for 2015. Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy Oriol Junqueras handed the proposal this Tuesday to the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell.According to Junqueras, the 2016 budget is “the most realistic and social-oriented budget ever”. After presenting the draft, Junqueras met with representatives of all the groups in the Parliament except for pro-independence radical left CUP. The anti-capitalist group, who have a ‘stability agreement’ with the governing party, declined the invitation in protest against the police baton charge that occurred this past Monday in Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood after the eviction of a social centre.

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24 May 2016 06:55 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan Government presented this Tuesday its budget proposal for 2016, which will be put to vote amongst the parliamentary groups in the Catalan chamber in the coming weeks. According to Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy Oriol Junqueras the 2016 budget is “the most realistic and social-oriented budget ever”. The proposal projects €23.7 billion in total expenditure, 1.5% higher than last year’s budget, and 73.6% of this will be allocated to social spending.The draft foresees €21.7 billion in revenue, 3.4% higher than last year’s bill, which is especially due to the money which the Spanish State has paid in advance, and sets a deficit equivalent to 0.7% of Catalonia’s GDP, the same as that for 2015. After presenting the draft, Junqueras met with representatives of all the groups in the Parliament except for pro-independence radical left CUP. The anti-capitalist group, who have a ‘stability agreement’ with the governing party, pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, refused to meet with Junqueras as a symbol of protest against the police baton charge that occurred this Monday in Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood after the eviction of a social centre. 


The Catalan Government’s total projected spending for 2016 amounts to 23.7 billion, 1.5% higher than last year’s bill. It sets a 0.7% deficit, the same as that for 2015, which is equal to €1.4 billion, and meets the target unilaterally imposed by the Spanish Government.

73.6% of the Catalan Government’s total projected spending for 2016 will be allocated to social spending, which represents €700 million more than in the budget of 2015. The departments’ spending has grown by 5.3%, especially the Health department. This sector will see an increase of €317 million, while the Education budget will increase by €211 million and that of Social Services will grow by €173 million.

The proposal also allocates €48.5 million to Catalonia’s Tax Agency, 35% more than in 2015, and €34.1 million to foreign action, 57.8% more than in last year’s bill.

Regarding projected revenue, the 2016 budget proposal foresees a take of €21.7 billion, 3.4% higher than last year’s bill, which is especially due to the money which the Spanish State has paid in advance. Indeed, €17.2 billion comes from Spain’s transfers, 13% more than in last year’s bill. However, the income from the Catalan Government is expected to be substantially reduced, due to the elimination of the bank deposit tax, amongst other measures.

CUP refuse to meet Junqueras

For the bill to be passed, two votes from pro-independence radical CUP are needed. However, the anti-capitalist group refused to make any comment on the draft presented this Tuesday by Junqueras. Indeed, CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant accepted the USB with the budget draft but the anti-capitalists refused to meet with Junqueras afterwards. They did so as a symbol of protest against the police baton charge that occurred this Monday night in Barcelona’s Gracia neighbourhood after the eviction of a social centre. According to CUP, Catalan police were responsible for the “brutal aggression” against several protesters after triggering violent riots in this area of the Catalan capital. CUP called for the dissolution of the riot police of the ‘Mossos d’Esquadra’, the Catalan police, and the resignation of its head, Albert Batlle.

PPC, PSC and CSQP to veto the bill

The Catalan People’s Party (PPC), the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and alternative left alliance ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ have already expressed their disconformity with the budget proposal. PPC MP Enric Millo accused the Catalan Government of “increasing the expense” by investing in “the separatist process from Spain”. Millo also warned that the PPC “will analyse the bill calmly” to study whether there could be “unconstitutional purposes” behind it.

Both PSC and ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ disagreed with what Junqueras called a ‘social budget’ and called for greater spending on health and education. “This budget is scantily social”, stated ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ MP, Joan Coscubiela. “It is like Mas’ budget but without Mas”, he concluded, referring to the budget approved during former Catalan President Artur Mas’s legislature.

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  • Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy, Oriol Junqueras presented the draft budget for 2016 on a memory stick (by ACN)

  • Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy, Oriol Junqueras presented the draft budget for 2016 on a memory stick (by ACN)