Opposition questions government’s priorities
Parties critical of executive and put focus on social policies ahead of 2020 budget talks
Opposition parties blasted the government over its priorities during the key annual general policies debate that took place in parliament on Wednesday.
After president Quim Torra’s opening speech, in which he demanded an agreed and binding referendum from Madrid, and flatly rejected any links between the independence movement and terrorism, some parliamentary groups based their speeches on criticizing the cabinet’s agenda.
Talking to Catalan News outside the chamber, MP for the unionist People's Party, Esperanza García, said: “Only one law was passed last year, so the problems of the Catalan people – health care, security, for example in Barcelona we have lots of problems with this issue – have not been solved.”
“We need to look ahead”
Meanwhile, the head of the Catalan Socialists, Miquel Iceta, criticized the government for its "disorientation," but said his party is open to talks if it chooses to govern "for all Catalans and not just those who think in a certain way," referring to voters who support independence.
In the same vein, MP for the Socialists, Esther Niubó, told Catalan News that the government needs other priorities. “We need to make progress and look ahead, not to look into the past, but to the future, and to say that Catalonia deserves investment in social areas, [such as] in education and health.”
“[We have to make] important efforts in these areas and we are wasting time with other things that are not useful for all Catalans,” she added.
Talking “as if economic crisis was over”
As for leftwing Catalunya En Comú Podem, spokeswoman, Jéssica Albiach, she called Torra's speech "disappointing" and accused the president of talking "as if the economic crisis was over when there are millions of people who have not recovered."
A similar message was delivered by Catalunya En Comú Podem MP, Marta Ribas, when asked by Catalan News. “[Torra] has shown macro-economic numbers and figures that make you think we have overcome the crisis, and that’s not real,” she said.
President calls for budget support
During his speech, Torra welcomed a 2% growth of the economy, and said a similar rate of progress is expected for 2020.
Yet, he called on the opposition to back the budget for next year, in order to consolidate the growth – Catalonia’s governments have failed to pass a spending plan since 2017, and the 2020 proposal needs the support of at least one opposition party.