Spanish budget proposal is “disappointing”, says Catalan Government
The proportion of investment earmarked for Catalonia in next year’s Spanish budget will be 10.7% of the total, a figure that the Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, considers totally insufficient. “It is far from the 19.8% Catalan contribution to the Spanish GDP or from the 16% that citizens living in Catalonia represent”, she said on Tuesday after the Spanish government defended the figures in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid. Munté regretted that cultural investment in Catalonia will plummet: the Spanish government will spend three times more money on three museums in Madrid than on all the museums of Catalonia. According to the Spanish Minister of the Treasury, Cristóbal Montoro, the budget is “what Spain, its economy and its citizens need”.
Barcelona (CNA).- The 2016 Spanish Budget proposal is “disappointing”, according to the Catalan government spokeswoman Neus Munté. In a press conference in Barcelona after the first meeting of the Catalan government since the summer holidays, Munté said that the figure of 10.7% of investment for Catalonia is totally insufficient. “It is far from the 19.8% Catalan contribution to the Spanish GDP or from the 16% that citizens living in Catalonia represent”, she pointed out.
According to the Catalan government, the proposed budget has “significant gaps” and fuels “centralising and antisocial” policies. Neus Munté regretted that investment in Catalonia will be 160 euros per inhabitant, “significantly below the Spanish average of 238 euros”. She especially criticised the level of investment in culture, saying that three museums in Madrid will get three times as much money as all the museums in Catalonia, which has an important cultural and artistic heritage.
But the Spanish Minister of the Treasury, Cristóbal Montoro, defended his numbers, saying that the proposed 2016 budget is “what Spain, its economy and its citizens need”. “The government cannot deceive Spanish society, and that’s what would happen if we abandon our current path”, he said during a debate in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid. According to him, the budget guarantees “economic stability, seriousness in the management of public resources, the fight against imbalances, and social protection”.
Catalan government spokeswoman Neus Munté, however, said that Montoro is actually “deceiving Catalan society”, which will have to cope with 65% less money in programmes directed toward educative services, employment policies and social affairs, amongst others. Munté also regretted that the Spanish government imposes an “impossible to achieve” deficit target while stopping most initiatives of the Catalan government to collect more money.
However, the 2016 budget actually includes better figures for Catalonia than the budget for the present year, by the end of which only 9.5% of investment is expected to be spent in this Autonomous Community, the lowest level since 1999. Indeed, even that figure is optimistic: the Spanish Government usually executes in Catalonia a much lower amount than it initially sets out in the budget.
The Catalan and Spanish government have a long history of disputes over financial issues. Several studies, including one carried out by the Spanish government in 2008, have shown that Catalonia has registered a fiscal deficit every year since at least 1986. In other words, around 8% of the Catalan GDP, or €16bn, is transferred annually to Madrid and never reinvested in Catalonia.