The Catalan and Spanish Governments confirm that no specific deficit target has been agreed on yet
During the weekend, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, stated that the Catalan Government’s deficit for 2013 will not be above 2%. The Catalan Government has been asking for a 2.1% deficit target, corresponding to a third of the 6.3% that was announced by the Spanish Government as the figure allowed for Spain’s entire public sector. On Friday, several high-level meetings to discuss the issue were held in Barcelona between members of both executives. On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that in his meeting with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, they did not discuss specific figures. He also stated that no figure will be decided on until the European Union officially confirms Spain’s 6.3% total deficit target.
Madrid (ACN).- On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that in his meeting last Friday with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, they did not discuss specific deficit target figures for Catalonia. On that day several high-level meetings to discuss the issue were held in Barcelona between members of both executives. On Saturday, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, stated that the Catalan Government\u2019s deficit for 2013 will not be above 2% despite the requests from Barcelona. The Catalan Government has been asking for a 2.1% deficit target, corresponding to a third of the 6.3% that was announced by the Spanish Government as the figure expected for Spain\u2019s entire public sector instead of the 4.5% previously authorised by the European Union. On Monday, Rajoy also stated that no specific deficit target will be decided for the Catalan Government and the rest of the Autonomous Communities before the EU officially confirms Spain\u2019s total deficit objective. In addition he asked everybody, including some of the People\u2019s Party\u2019s leaders and presidents of Autonomous Communities, to act in a \u201Csensible\u201D way as well as having \u201Ccommon sense, generosity and high-mindedness\u201D, since this is \u201Can issue concerning all of us\u201D, he stressed. In the last few weeks some People\u2019s Party leaders protested about the Catalan Government\u2019s request for a 2.1% deficit and the negotiations with the Spanish Executive.
The Catalan Government is asking for a third of this amount since the Autonomous Communities are managing 36% of Spain\u2019s total public spending and exclusively run basic services such as healthcare and education. The 6.3% deficit target has not been officially authorised by Brussels yet but everybody expects it will be since the European Commission has already said they consider it to be a realistic target and there are some international forecasts even posting a 7% deficit for Spain in 2013.
The Catalan Finance Minister confirmed that no specific deficit targets have been set yet
In addition, on Monday, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, recognised that no specific deficit target has been set yet for Catalonia. Mas-Colell said that he has already given all his arguments and now he is waiting for the Spanish Finance Ministry\u2019s answer. However, he added that the exact figure will not be known until at least June. Mas-Colell hoped to have the figure as soon as possible in order to close the drafting process of the Catalan Government\u2019s budget for 2013 and present it to the Catalan Parliament for approval. In addition, the Catalan Finance Minister added that the conversations with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) \u2013 which signed a parliamentary stability agreement with the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) \u2013 are ongoing in order to get their support to approve the budget.
The 2013 Catalan budget has been delayed because elections were held in November and it was the new Cabinet that was in charge of drafting a new budget. Until this happens, the Catalan Government is operating by extending the 2012 budget under certain guidelines.
Reviewing the budget-extension guidelines and raising the deficit target to 1.2%
In fact, Mas-Colell also added that the department he chairs will adapt the guidelines for extending the 2012 budget to a 1.2% deficit, since the previous ones were set for a 0.7% deficit target. Last year, the Spanish Government set a 0.7% deficit target for the Autonomous Communities, despite loud protests from Catalonia. About a month ago, considering the poor economic results, the Spanish Government was obliged to review this and has already raised the target to 1.2%. However, it is not the definitive deficit target for the Autonomous Communities since negotiations have taken place during the last few weeks and Catalonia has been asking for a target of 2.1%. While, the Catalan Government is waiting for the final figure to be set by Madrid, Mas-Colell will adapt the budget-extension guidelines to a 1.2% deficit since the definitive target \u201Cwill not be lower in any case\u201D, added the Catalan Finance Minister.