Sánchez calls for ‘fiscal co-responsibility’ for coronavirus relief funds

Spanish president announces there will be an official day of mourning during Phase 1 of lockdown de-escalation process

Pedro Sánchez speaks in the Spanish congress in front of speaker Meritxell Batet (image courtesy of Spanish congress)
Pedro Sánchez speaks in the Spanish congress in front of speaker Meritxell Batet (image courtesy of Spanish congress) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 6, 2020 12:57 PM

Pedro Sánchez has called for “fiscal co-responsibility” from the regional governments and insists that not passing the fourth state of alarm extension would be an “absolute mistake” for health, economic, and social reasons.

The Spanish president spoke in a congress session on Wednesday morning when lawmakers will debate and vote on the fourth extension of the state of alarm, expected to pass with the backing of Ciudadanos and Basque National Party EAJ-PNV.

Sánchez also announced that there will be an official period of mourning for victims of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Spain once the country reaches Phase 1 of the lockdown de-escalation process. Phase 1 is currently scheduled to begin on May 11. 

“Co-responsibility” of relief funds

The Socialist figurehead asked "some" regions to act with “fiscal co-responsibility” once Spain transfers the coronavirus relief funds to the regional governments. He argued that in the current context, public resources are needed and should not be seen as "gifts to those who have more."

It was announced last week that the central government is to create a relief fund of a total of €16 billion to help cover healthcare costs and boost regional economies across all of Spain.

However, Catalonia believes this quantity to be insufficient. Just days prior to the Spanish government announcing the new funds, Catalan vice president and economy minister Pere Aragonès called for the creation of such a fund and said Catalonia would need €4 billion.

Catalonia's executive has launched a new committee, made up of the president and various relevant ministers, to reactivate the economy and oversee social protection in the transition out of lockdown. 

The Spanish president said that he believes his administration should bear the costs of the efforts to fight the pandemic, saying it would be “irresponsible” to charge the regional governments such “extraordinary” amounts.

Official day of mourning

By the time most of Spain has reached Phase 1 of the lockdown de-escalation plan, an official period of mourning will be decreed by the government. 

Spain is scheduled to enter Phase 1 next Monday, after spending a week in the preparatory Phase 0.

Sánchez also said that when the de-escalation is over and we are in the "new normal," a public tribute to the victims of the pandemic will be done, and that this is something the government has been working on for weeks.