NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?


Government reaches deal with left-wing party for approval of budget

Anti-austerity En Comú Podem will allow spending plan to move forward despite discrepancies within cabinet

SHARE

22 November 2021 01:01 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan government has reached a deal with left-wing En Comú Podem regarding the 2022 budget bill.

The agreement, in which only one of the two coalition government partners took part, will focus on social transformation for Catalonia’s future, especially the next 10 to 20 years, as President Pere Aragonès announced on Monday in a statement.

En Comú Podem (ECP) will withdraw its complete amendment to the bill, enabling the spending plan to move forward with its parliamentary procedures – yet, the anti-austerity political force has made clear that this move does not guarantee their support in the final vote on the budget, which will be held on December 23.

Thus, the cabinet's hopes to pass the bill are still alive, but talks with En Comú Podem will have to continue.

Meanwhile, far-left pro-independence CUP will file a complete amendment to the bill in the parliamentary debate on Monday, despite having opened the door over the past few days to continue negotiating in order to support the budget on December 23.

Although none of the opposition parties have guaranteed they will back the budget – and the abstention of at least one is essential –, Aragonès affirmed that "Catalonia will have a new budget by January 1" for the first time in 11 years. 

"We need tools to fight Covid," he added, saying that passing the budget is important "for the lives of residents."

Yet, Aragonès said he regretted that CUP had not yet joined the bloc supporting the spending plan and said that the deal with the far-left party in spring with which a new cabinet was formed will have to be reviewed.

Public transport, reindustrialization: content of agreement

En Comú Podem's MP Jéssica Albiach confirmed the deal on Monday, saying that it includes a mobility plan to boost the use of trains and trams, an increase for housing policies up to €1 bn – something the cabinet had already offered to far-left CUP, but no overall agreement was reached –, an office to help local councils manage water services and an increase in funds for an industrial reactivation. The launch of a public energy company is also confirmed to have been discussed.

"The budget is not about independence or no independence," Albiach told the press. "This is about making life a bit easier for Catalans."

Junior partner rejects talks with ECP but accepts deal

Senior officials of Esquerra, Aragonès' party, the one leading the Catalan executive, met with En Comú Podem's leadership on Sunday evening, and both sides confirmed a deal on Monday. Yet, the junior coalition partner, Junts per Catalunya, is far more skeptical about engaging in talks with parties that are not explicitly in favor of Catalan independence – En Comú Podem is the only party not strictly aligned on the independence issue, favoring a referendum but not necessarily a split with Spain. 

As such, JxCat rejected participating in the talks with ECP, despite the fact that they are in charge of the economy ministry, a department headed by Jaume Giró. 

On Monday afternoon, shortly after the deal was announced, party spokesperson Elsa Artadi expressed disappointment over the agreement. 

Esquerra, in a gesture towards ECP, will allow Barcelona's budget to pass, as the city hall is led by a coalition government between En Comú Podem and the Catalan Socialist party, PSC. Artadi, however, said that this proves that the deal is "partisan."

According to the JxCat politician, "the pact with ECP alters the pro-independence majority that made the government possible and this must come at a price." Artadi requested an "urgent" meeting with Esquerrra's leadership. 

"ECP is a party that aims to break the pro-independence majority and has been hostile to the independence campaign," she added. 

Yet, former president Carles Puigdemont's party will not oppose the deal, because "it does not alter the content of the budget."

SHARE

  • Catalan President, Pere Aragonès, at the cabinet meeting (by Catalan Government)

  • Catalan President, Pere Aragonès, at the cabinet meeting (by Catalan Government)

RELATED