Green light for Catalonia’s stability plan until 2014 with the condition of evaluating the drug prescription fee
The ruling Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU) and the People’s Party (PP) have agreed to evaluate the drug prescription fee in 2013. The implementation in 2013 of the 1 euro fee will be on the condition of meeting the deficit targets and the effects of other financial measures regarding medicines. The PP has abstained in the Catalan Parliament’s vote and the plan finally has the green light to be implemented.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Parliament has the decree allowing the increase of the Catalan Government\u2019s debt in order to implement its economic and financial plan for 2012-2014 with the votes from the ruling Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU), and the abstention of the People\u2019s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government. One independent MP supported the decree as well. The rest of the opposition voted against, as they consider the plan to jeopardise social cohesion in Catalonia. On Thursday morning, the CiU and the PP agreed to start an analysis process to assess the effects of the one-euro drug prescription fee and the Spanish Government\u2019s measures combined. Depending on the light shed by the analysis and how the Catalan Government meets its deficit targets, both parties will \u201Cevaluate the continuity\u201D of the drug prescription fee in 2013. With this commitment, the PP agreed to abstain and allow the decree to be approved. This decree is needed for the sale of the public companies Aigües Ter-Llobregat, Tabasa and Túnel del Cadí, a measure included in the financial plan. This plan is needed to reduce spending and increase revenue in order to meet this year\u2019s deficit targets.
After days of discussion, this morning the CiU and PP have reached an agreement to have the decree approved, therefore enabling the budget stability plan\u2019s implementation. It is not the first budget agreement between both parties this term, as the CiU and PP have previously agreed to approve the Catalan Government\u2019s budget for 2011 and 2012. In fact, the PP had already agreed on the details of the one-euro drug prescription fee three months ago, but the Spanish Government decided later to implement its own measures increasing the price citizens have to pay for their drugs bought at the chemists. Now the PP wants the Catalan measure to the reconsidered, as it makes Catalan citizens pay for the Spanish Government\u2019s measures and the drug-prescription fee approved by the Catalan Government.
In fact, on Wednesday, the PP\u2019s leader in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho said before the Catalan Parliament that the drug prescription fee should be cancelled. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, answered Sánchez-Camacho that doing so would be \u201Cthe greatest irresponsibility of the Catalan parliamentary history\u201D, as the Catalan Government would thus have serious difficulties meeting its deficit targets. Mas also stated that despite the deficit targets being too strict and the EU and the Spanish Government imposing meeting them too quickly, the Catalan Government is obliged to meet them, like it or not.