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PP is considering blocking Catalan Government’s budget for 2014

The People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – has announced it is looking at the possibility of freezing the approval of the Catalan Executive’s own budget. They are considering blocking the €29.31 billion budget because it will allocate €5 million (0.017% of the total spending) to a “citizen consultation”. The approval of such a budget is essential to meet the 1% deficit target for 2014. However, the PP fears this money could be used to organise the self-determination vote in 2014. The PP’s leader in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, has announced she was talking with the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, on blocking the budget’s approval. The CiU, running the Catalan Government, has stated it is “a mistake”.

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16 December 2013 08:09 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – has announced it was looking at the possibility of freezing the approval of the Catalan Executive’s own budget. They are considering blocking the €29.31 billion budget because it will allocate €5 million (0.017% of the total spending) to a “citizen consultation”. The approval of such a budget is essential to meet the 1% deficit target for 2014 and meet the budget stability guidelines. However, the PP fears this €5 million could be used to organise the self-determination vote in 2014. The PP’s leader in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, has announced she was talking with the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, on blocking the budget’s approval. The Catalan Government has the power to organise citizen consultations and the new law defining such powers should be approved in the coming months by the Catalan Parliament. In fact, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, announced weeks ago that in the budget was foreseen an item for the possible organisation of a consultation vote. Since €5 million would not be enough to organise a proper referendum, Mas-Colell also added that sum of money allocated could be increased if needed. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – running the Catalan Executive – answered Sánchez-Camacho that blocking the budget would be “a mistake” and “contradictory” with the PP’s speech stressing the importance to have an approved budget before starting the year. The PP holds 19 seats in the 135-seat Catalan Parliament, representing 14.1% of the total, their highest representation ever in this chamber. The budget is likely to be approved with the ‘yes’ votes of the CiU and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), representing 52.6% of the Parliament’s seats.


Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, which leads the PP in Catalonia, did not want to reveal whether her party will take the Catalan Government’s budget to the Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE) – the Catalan body interpreting matters. If the PP eventually did so, the budget’s approval and therefore its implementation would be frozen for a few weeks or even months, until the CGE reached a decision on the issue. Sánchez-Camacho explained that the PP is still discussing it and that they will take the definitive decision on Tuesday.

Furthermore, she announced that the opinion of the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, would be particularly relevant. Montoro should say whether freezing the approval of the €29.31 billion Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 is convenient in regard to obligations to meet the “deficit targets” for next year. If the Catalan Executive failed to meet them, it would cause a problem to Spain’s public finances, which are being scrutinised y the European Union.

However, Sánchez-Camacho insisted that the budget cannot include the €5 million item to fund a citizen consultation and elections in Catalonia. “In the most anti-social budget ever, an item to fund an illegal consultation cannot be included”, she said. “We do not want Catalans’ taxes to be used for illegal issues”, she emphasised. In addition, if finally they do not freeze the budget’s approval, they “will take further actions” to stop this money from being used in a hypothetical self-determination vote in Catalonia.

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  • Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, the PP's leader in Catalonia, announcing they might frozen the Catalan Government's budget (by R. Garrido)

  • Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, the PP's leader in Catalonia, announcing they might frozen the Catalan Government's budget (by R. Garrido)