Spain's 2022 budget approved after deal protecting minority languages

Spending plan, agreed with pro-independence ERC, greenlighted after partial amendment in senate

Spain's PM Pedro Sánchez during a speech in Congress on December 22, 2021 (by Spain's Congress)
Spain's PM Pedro Sánchez during a speech in Congress on December 22, 2021 (by Spain's Congress) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

December 28, 2021 02:28 PM

Spain’s 2022 budget has been greenlighted on Tuesday after a vote in Congress that approved a partial amendment that came from the Senate. With this vote, the spending plan is finally approved and will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

The budget had to go through a second vote in the lower house as there was a modification during the Senate approval process.

Compromís, a Valencian political party, introduced a change proposing to invest €1.6m to the "promotion and distribution of languages protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages at Spain’s regions of Catalonia, Galicia, Asturias, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands," the partial amendment reads.

On November 25, Congress had already approved the first version of the spending plan with 188 votes, including those from the government coalition partners the Socialists and Unidas Podemos, as well as pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, after they reached a deal with Spain’s executive.

ERC and Spanish government deal

One of the largest hurdles the Spanish government had to overcome to see their planned disbursement approved was the agreement with the largest Catalan pro-independence party in the chamber, Esquerra Republicana.

On November 23, the two sides formalised a deal that will see a 6% quota for Catalan, Basque and Galician language programming on streaming platforms such as Netflix.

In addition, there will be an extra €10.5 million designated to promote the creation of audiovisual content in minority languages spoken in Spain: Catalan, Basque and Galician.

Specifically, the audiovisual law will force companies such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime to offer European productions in 30% of their content. Out of these, half of it has to be in languages spoken in Spain – this is 15% of the total, of which 40% has to be in Catalan, Basque or Galician. That is 6% of all films and series and 20% of the European content.

Spanish 2022 budget

The budget will see 17.2% of funds allocated to Catalonia, below its GDP share (19%). 

The Socialist-led cabinet wants to give €2.23 bn to Catalonia, more than last year, €1.99 bn, 16.5% of the total. 

Yet, the long-standing fiscal deficit complaint of pro-independence parties is set to continue, despite the fact that more money will be granted to Catalonia than in 2021.

17.7% of the budget will go to Andalusia, a populous region in the south, followed by Catalonia, the second-most populous, with 17.2%. 9.3% will go to the Valencia region while 8.9% to Madrid, less than in 2021. 

In early October, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez announced the budget would include a 400 voucher for people turning 18 to spend in the culture industry, such as on books or tickets to concerts or the theatre. 

Also included in the spending plan is a monthly housing grant of €250 per month for young people aged between 18 and 35 years with an annual income of less than €23,725. Those up to the age of 35 will be able to access this aid for the next two years.