Spanish government to head management of EU recovery fund with regional 'multi-level cooperation'
Torra sits out regional presidents' conference: "My duty is not to just go get my photo taken"
At Friday's regional presidents' meeting in La Rioja, which Catalan leader Quim Torra decided against attending, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez announced that his government will be heading the management of the European Union Covid-19 recovery fund in Spain although there will be "multi-level cooperation" with sub-state authorities.
As for the form this cooperation will take, Spanish government sources explained that there will be sectoral meetings, headed by Spain's finance minister, with regional authorities and it will also be touched upon in future regional presidents' conferences.
Aside from this, an inter-ministerial committee presided by the Spanish president will be created along with a fund monitoring unit as well as a "public-private partnership."
Local-level authorities are also set to play a yet to be specified role.
Catalan president does not attend meeting
On Thursday Quim Torra had already made clear he would not be traveling to La Rioja having tried to participate via videoconference, which Sánchez did not allow, and then deciding against going altogether due to the health situation in Catalonia as well as because of Spain's King Felipe VI presence.
Torra defended his position once again on Friday – "My duty as president is not to just go get my photo taken, but to defend the interests of Catalans" – before explaining that he would be meeting with primary health care provider representatives and county hospital managers throughout the day.
The President's decision, however, was criticized by members of the opposition including Miquel Iceta of the Catalan Socialists: "Today Catalans will see how all other Spaniards try to work together to tackle the pandemic and make the best use of EU recovery funds but Catalonia, on the other hand, will not be a part of that discussion."