MEPs from Catalonia request the European Commission to supervise the Catalan Government’s budget to stress transparency

In order to foster transparency, almost all the Catalan Members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to supervise the Catalan Government's budget, and other “regions of systemic importance”. Catalonia’s GDP is as big as that of Finland and Portugal. MEPs from CiU, ERC, ICV, and the PP believe that this procedure will prove Catalonia’s reliability and rigour, and will subsequently have a positive effect on the international financial markets. The PSC is looking at possibly joining the initiative.


December 20, 2011 07:43 PM

Brussels (ACN).-  Almost every Catalan Member of the European Parliament requested on Tuesday morning that the European Commission supervise the Catalan Government’s budget with the aim of increasing transparency and demonstrating Catalonia’s reliability. The request foresees the supervision of the budget in “the regions of systemic importance” in the European Union. The joint initiative has majority support among the Catalan MEPs, with five of the seven representatives from Catalonia in favour of it. The formal request came from the five MEPs from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) –which runs the Catalan Government–, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Catalan Green Socialist Party (ICV) and the People’s Party (PP). They said that "it would be a practical and transparent way to verify if Catalonia honours its budget commitments”. The main objective is to show the European Commission and the international financial markets that Catalonia is economically reliable and rigourous. In addition, the five MEPs linked the parliamentary question to the payment of €759 million the Spanish Government said it will not transfer to Catalonia this year, despite being legally obliged to do so. This is believed to be the reason why the two MEPs from the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) have not joined the initiative yet, since they have up until now been loyal to the former Spanish government of leader José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero. However, the PSC MEPs have said that they are still studying the initiative and are likely to give their support. The Catalan Government fully supports the initiative.

“The regions with fiscal and legislative powers, such as Catalonia, have a great relevance if a true economic coordination at European level is to be achieved”, the five MEPs argued in the parliamentary request. The European Commission has six weeks to give its answer.

Out of the seven Catalan MEPs, five have asked the European Commission to supervise the Government of Catalonia’s budget in order to prove its reliability and rigour, through strengthening transparency. The five MEPs involved are the Liberal Ramon Tremosa (belonging to the ALDE parliamentary group), the Christian-Democrat Salvador Sedó (member of the EPP group), the Conservative Santiago Fisas (also from the EPP), the Green Socialist Raül Romeva (from the Greens/European Free Alliance), and the Catalan Independence supporter Oriol Junqueras (also from the Greens/European Free Alliance). Tremosa and Sedó have both been elected to represent the Catalan Nationaist Coalition ‘CiU’; Fisas represents the PP; Romeva, ICV; and Junqueras, ERC.

Catalonia’s economy is as big that of Finland or Portugal

Tremosa, Sedó, Junqueras, Romeva and Fisas asked the European Commission if it “believes the regions of systemic importance (for its exporting power, a GDP volume equivalent to that of some Member States, fiscal and legislative capacity, etc.), such as Catalonia, could participate in the budget supervision process of the European Union”? In fact, according to the latest EU agreements, the European Commission will analyse the budgets of Member States before being approved to make sure they fulfill austerity and stability criteria. “Despite Catalonia only being recognised as an Autonomous Community, its economy is approximately as big as Finland’s or Portugal’s, and it is larger than that of several Member States”, the five MEPs stressed in the parliamentary request. Therefore, they argue that if “Catalonia has a systemic importance in a European context, its budget should also be analysed” by the European Commission. In addition, “this would offer an overall picture of the total revenue and spending of the Spanish State. In addition, the consequences of EU economic policies on Catalonia-managed public services would be analysed”, they explained.

The initiative has been led by CiU MEP Ramon Tremosa, from the Liberal Group. Tremosa ensured that it counts with “the support of the Catalan Government”, which is run by CiU.

The Spanish Government criticised for not honouring its budget commitments with Catalonia

Last week, in another parliamentary question, the four MEPs from CiU, ERC and ICV demanded that the Spanish Government pay the  €759 million that it legally owes Catalonia. They accused the Spanish Government of “cleaning its accounts” by transferring its public deficit to Catalonia. They asked the European Commission and the European Council whether they believe “this is the way to recover the trust of investors”.