President Torra won’t support state of alarm extension until Spain returns 'all powers'

Head of Catalan government calls for €4bn to tackle crisis and rules out calling elections for now

Catalan president Quim Torra during conference call with Spanish president and regional heads, May 10, 2020 (by Rubén Moreno)
Catalan president Quim Torra during conference call with Spanish president and regional heads, May 10, 2020 (by Rubén Moreno) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 17, 2020 03:39 PM

Catalan president Quim Torra has told the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez that he will oppose the extension of the state of alarm until Catalonia regains "all powers." 

Torra outlined his position during the meeting between the head of the Spanish executive and the regional presidents this Sunday.

"Catalonia has been managing its health service for 37 years. We know perfectly well how we want to manage these powers and we believe that the authority in control of them has to be us," he said.

Torra also called again for the wearing of face masks when in public to be made compulsory.

On economic matters, he stressed that the goal must be to save as many jobs as possible, adding that he would be filing an official complaint over the delays to benefits for those who are temporarily unemployed.

The president also asked for all necessary resources to tackle the crisis, including the 4 billion euros that his government estimates Covid-19 has cost Catalonia.

Torra also said Catalonia should be allowed to increase its own deficit. "It can’t be the case that the Spanish state runs a very high percentage of deficit while we are running out of resources to look after our citizens."

Elections on ice

Earlier in the day, in an opinion piece marking two years since he became Catalan president, Torra ruled out calling elections in the near future. 

"If we did not call an election to be able to approve a budget, we will not do so now in the midst of the biggest health, economic and social emergency in recent times," he wrote in an article published in La Vanguardia.

"Now is not the time to plunge the country, the institutions and the parties into an electoral process that would dissolve parliament and its legislative capacity and turn what should be a time for cooperation into a fierce competition between parties."

The president described the need to rebuild in the wake of the pandemic and called for independence for Catalonia.

"We need all the talent, we need all the effort, but we also need all the tools to be able to continue moving forward as a society against all odds. In short, we are talking about resources and sovereignty. And my proposal cannot be anything other than all resources and all sovereignty: independence."