The Catalan Executive states it will meet its financial obligations despite not attending the Autonomies’ meeting
The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Lluís Recoder, has emphasised that “not attending a meeting as a protest does not mean not honouring the agreements”. Recoder was answering the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, who emphasised that all the Autonomies are obliged to meet the deficit and debt targets. Recoder said that Montoro’s words were not appropriate and unfair, since Catalonia has been leading austerity reforms and budget cuts in Spain.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Lluís Recoder, has stated this Wednesday that Catalonia will honour all its financial obligations. Recoder emphasised that “not attending a meeting does not mean not honouring the agreements”. Yesterday the Catalan Government refused to attend the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council (CPFF) as a protest against the Spanish Government’s unilateral decision regarding the Autonomous Communities’ deficit targets. The Catalan Government was later joined by Andalusia, whose Finance Minister abandoned the meeting as decisions had been taken beforehand. At the end of yesterday’s CPFF, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, addressed the press and with a strict tone emphasised that all the Autonomies are obliged to meet the agreements, whether present at the meeting or not. Furthermore, he trivialised the Catalan Government’s attitude and protest by not attending the meeting. Recoder reminded Montoro that the Catalan Government is leading the implementation of austerity reforms and budget cuts in Spain, way ahead of those adopted by the Spanish Government itself. The Catalan Minister said: Montoro “cannot lecture the [Catalan] Government, since we are way ahead in the adoption of committed and brave decisions to balance the budget and keep the Welfare State services and ensure its future”. Recoder concluded by saying that the Spanish Government is adopting austerity measures “late and in the wrong way”.
The Catalan Executive had warned it would not attend the meeting on Tuesday since the Spanish Government is taking decisions beforehand and the CPFF meetings are no longer a forum for discussion. Instead, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, sent a letter to the Spanish Minister criticising the Spanish Government’s unilateral decision to make 2013 deficit targets for the Autonomies stricter, passing from 1.1% to 0.7% of their GDP. Mas-Colell was requesting to the Spanish Government to give the Autonomies the same flexibility the EU has given Spain, relaxing its deficit targets for 2013 taking into account the recession and the financial markets attitude. In addition, in Spain, the Autonomies are those managing and paying for all basic services such as education, healthcare and social policies, which represent the vast majority of the Autonomies’ budget (70% in case of Catalonia’s). However, instead of relaxing the deficit targets for 2013 the Spanish Government imposed stricter targets on the Autonomies, while it was relaxing its own deficit objectives and not sharing the flexibility given by the EU to Spanish public finances as a whole.