ERC announces preliminary agreement to back Spain's 2021 budget

Pro-independence party says aim is to secure "maximum number of tools" for Catalan government 

Gabriel Rufián of ERC in Congress on April 22
Gabriel Rufián of ERC in Congress on April 22 / ACN

ACN | Madrid

November 24, 2020 05:18 PM

The left-wing pro-independence party Esquerra (ERC) announced a preliminary agreement to back the Spanish government's 2021 budget, which was later ratified on Wednesday, all but ensuring that the financial deal will have the votes needed to be passed in the Spanish Congress.

The deal allocates 2.3 billion euros to Catalonia

ERC's spokesperson in congress Gabriel Rufián explained on Tuesday that the pre-agreement is based on four points.

The first is the extension of the moratorium on social security contributions for the self-employed until March 2021.

The second is the creation of a "bilateral" committee for "fair tax reform" with a specific working group for the reform of tax on large fortunes "to end tax dumping in Madrid."

The third is the settlement of the Spanish Education Department's debt to Catalonia over scholarships since 2005.

The final point, which Rufián says is the most important, is the lifting of Spain's financial control over the Catalan government, imposed in 2015 by a previous Spanish administration led by Mariano Rajoy.

According to Rufián, his party's aim has been to secure "the maximum number of tools for the Catalan government."

The ERC spokesman said that the preliminary agreement is still pending internal ratification by the party.

Spain's minority coalition government has to seek votes from opposition parties such as ERC in order to pass the budget in congress.

The Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) have announced that they will support the budget, while the leadership of EH Bildu have recommended that its members ratify their support. If those two Basque parties and ERC all vote with the government, the budget will have enough support for it to be passed.