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People’s Party rejects the Socialists’ territorial reform to better fit Catalonia

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Parliament and Senate, closed the door on launching a broad debate on Spain’s territorial organisation and on reforming the Constitution accordingly. The objective of this reform would be to keep Catalonia within Spain by answering some of the Catalan claims and working towards an improved relationship. “We are not willing to open debates that divide the Spaniards”, stated Alfonso Alonso, the PP Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament. The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, had sent a letter to the President of the Spanish Parliament, asking him to create “a body” to debate on a broad territorial reform.

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14 January 2014 08:38 PM

by

ACN

Madrid (ACN).- The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Parliament and Senate, closed the door on launching a broad debate on Spain’s territorial organisation and on reforming the Constitution accordingly. The objective of this reform would be to keep Catalonia within Spain by answering some of the Catalan claims and working towards an improved relationship. “We are not willing to open debates that divide the Spaniards”, stated on Tuesday Alfonso Alonso, the PP Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament. Alonso argued that such a debate “does not make any sense” now, since “the priority is the economic recovery”. Furthermore, according to him, “the majority” of the Spanish people “feel comfortable with the current model”. The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, had sent a letter to the President of the Spanish Parliament, Jesús Posada, asking him to create “a parliamentary body” to debate on a broad territorial reform. The final objective of the initiative is to create a true federal Spain and better fit Catalonia, providing an alternative from the current status quo or independence. However, the PP Spokesperson stated that Rubalcaba had made such a proposal for “an internal problem”, indirectly referring to the PSOE’s relationship with its branch in Catalonia, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC).


In the last months, the PSOE and the PSC have shown different approaches to Catalonia’s self-determination claims; the PSOE is absolutely against them while the PSC defended Catalonia’s right to self-determination as one of its main campaign promises in the last elections. However, after serious threats of splitting up, the PSC’s leadership is abandoning the self-determination claims while the PSOE is proposing a broad Constitutional reform to build a federal Spain.

Last week in Barcelona, the PSOE and the PSC’s leadership met and they agreed on proposing the creation of such a parliamentary body, in order to start working on this territorial re-organisation. In this vein, Rubalcaba urged the President of the Spanish Parliament to officially launch this debate “following the agreement between the parliamentary groups”, since the Lower Chamber “is the ideal place to promote a great consensus that would update what was achieved 35 years ago” through the Constitution of 1978. The news was announced by the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia on Monday morning. The very next day, the PP closed the door on even launching a debate on such a territorial reform.

The initiative to reform Spain’s Constitution is due to the PSOE’s “internal problems”

“We have always considered that the PSOE’s initiative [to reform the Spanish Constitution] is the answer to an internal problem more than to the Spanish society’s dissatisfaction regarding the Autonomous Community State”, stated Alonso before the press. According to him, the proposal only answers “the PSOE’s needs” to solve “their own division”, but such a division “does not exist within the Spanish society”. The will of the PP and the Spanish Government is “not to open debates that divide and distract” Spaniards from the main priority, which is the economic recovery, he underlined. Alonso rejected creating a sub-committee within the Spanish Parliament to discuss this issue since, among other reasons, it “would lessen even more the Senate’s powers”. The PP Spokesperson said they will study” the PSOE’s proposal and “talk” to them, but their “stance [on this issue] is clear”.

Furthermore, Alonso used this opportunity to highlight that the Spanish Government has “allocated” more than €100 billion to the Autonomous Communities in terms of “financial assistance”. However, as the PP and the Spanish Government tend to do, he pictured this assistance almost looked as a donation. For the last two years the Autonomous Communities are not allowed by Madrid to turn to the international markets and thus they receive all their loans from the Spanish Government, which is also legally obliged to fund them since it collects all the taxes in Spain. This limits their fiscal autonomy and fosters recentralisation of powers in the Spanish Executive’s hands.

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