MP in Congress Meritxell Batet, new Spanish minister of public administrations
She will be in charge of regional affairs amid the ongoing Catalan push for independence
The Catalan Socialist MP in the Spanish Congress Meritxell Batet will be the new Spanish minister of public administration. She will be the person in charge of dealing with the regional policy, amid the crisis and the ongoing push for independence in Catalonia. In the past few years, Batet has been one of the closest allies of the new Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, and has spent 14 years as MP in the Spanish lower chamber. Batet, member of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) is the second confirmed Spanish minister coming from Catalonia, after Josep Borrell, who will lead the foreign affairs department.
Batet was the number 1 in the Barcelona constituency for the Socialists in the last 2016 Spanish snap election. She was also number 2 in Madrid, only behind Pedro Sánchez, in the 2015 vote. She worked as secretary of Studies and Programs in the Spanish Socialist Party for two years (2014-2016.) Then, she was in charge of encouraging the federal project for Spain that the Catalan Socialists have been defending in the past few years.
"We should work on what we should have done many years ago: finding a political way out to the big political problem that exists between Spain and Catalonia"
Meritxell Batet · future Spanish public administrations minister
One of her most relevant challenges ahead will be dealing with the Catalan independence bid. Dialogue and de-escalation of the conflict are expected to be among her goals. In the run-up to Pedro Sánchez’s election as Spanish president after a vote of no-confidence, Batet said that Rajoy’s successor would offer “honest dialogue.” “We should work on what we should have done many years ago: finding a political way out to the big political problem that exists between Spain and Catalonia,” she said
Two months ago, Batet complained about the lack of investment in Catalonia by the then Spanish government led by Mariano Rajoy. “Every year there is less investment in Catalonia,” she claimed. Talking to the press in April, she complained that the money going to Catalonia was “well below” matching the country’s contribution to Spanish GDP.