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The Catalan Finance Ministry has been restructured in order to develop Catalonia’s own treasury

The Catalan Government has created a Treasury Secretariat within its Finance Ministry, which will be in charge of managing revenue, with the objective of developing Catalonia’s own tax office. The creation of a treasury of its own would allow the Catalan Executive to collect all the taxes generated in Catalonia, as Navarra and the Basque Country have been doing for decades. It is one of the electoral promises of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and is also part of the parliamentary stability agreement reached with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). A Catalan tax office collecting all the taxes is an historical claim of a large part of the Catalan society. However the Secretariat created is in line with the CiU’s strategy of creating state structures and it has been criticised by the pro-Spanish unity parties.

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08 January 2013 11:54 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government has created a Treasury Secretariat within its Finance Ministry, which will be in charge of managing revenue, with the objective of \u201Cdeveloping\u201D Catalonia\u2019s own tax office, as the Executive\u2019s Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, told the press after the weekly cabinet meeting. The creation of a treasury of its own would allow the Catalan Government to collect all the taxes generated in Catalonia, as Navarra and the Basque Country have been doing for decades. In fact, this is a long-term desire of a large part of the Catalan society and it was one of the pillars of the specific fiscal agreement proposed by Catalonia to find a better fitting within Spain. It is also one of the electoral promises of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which has been the force behind this idea for the last years. Furthermore, it is in line with the strategy of creating state structures and it has been included in the parliamentary stability agreement reached with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). For this reason, the creation of such a Secretariat within the Catalan Finance Ministry has been criticised by the pro-Spanish unity parties. At this stage, the decision does not involve increasing costs or hiring more staff, emphasised Homs, as the new division groups existing services. In fact, the Catalan ministries are internally divided within a few Secretariats. The Catalan Finance Ministry will be now divided into four main areas, one of them being the Treasury Secretariat.


On Tuesday, the Catalan Government approved the decree by which its Finance Ministry is restructured. At this time, after the new Cabinet took office two weeks ago, the Government is appointing the main positions and fine-tuning its internal structures. The Ministries of the Catalan Government are internally divided within a few Secretariats for the largest ones. However, the creation of a Treasury Secretariat with the Catalan Finance Ministry \u201Cis not only a change of title\u201D, as Francesc Homs, the Government\u2019s Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, told the press. The Ministry\u2019s restructuring aims \u201Cto strengthen the Catalan Government\u2019s treasury structures and to develop Catalonia\u2019s tax office\u201D. In this way, the Ministry run by Andreu Mas-Colell, which is officially called Ministry for the Economy and Knowledge, will be now divided into four different areas: the Secretariat General for the Economy \u2013 the main area of the Ministry, controlling the rest, run by a sort of Deputy Minister and in charge of the Catalan budget \u2013, the Treasury Secretariat, the Catalan Government\u2019s General Intervention and the Universities Secretariat \u2013 in charge of managing Catalonia\u2019s universities, since the ministry is in charge of economic, fiscal and research policies.

Grouping existing structures as a first step

Homs explained that \u201Cthe first step consists of creating this Secretariat\u201D in order to group \u201Cexisting structures\u201D in order \u201Cto prepare\u201D for the creation of a taxation office. Without fixing a specific date, Homs stated that their aim is \u201Cto have everything ready\u201D to create Catalonia\u2019s own tax office with an operational capacity by mid-2014. With Tuesday\u2019s decision, the Catalan Government \u201Cwants to send a clear message\u201D to explain that \u201Cit assumes that Catalonia\u2019s Tax Agency is the body in charge of managing, settling, inspecting and collecting the Catalan Government\u2019s own taxes and the State taxes that have been transferred\u201D. It is also a first step towards having a complete Catalan Treasury in charge of managing the Catalan Government\u2019s revenue policy. At this stage, the decision does not involve increasing costs or hiring more staff, emphasised Homs, as it groups existing structures within the ministry.

Pro-Spanish unity parties criticise the decision

The opposition parties that defend the unity of Spain have criticised the creation of a Treasury Secretariat as they are against the creation of state structures. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) accused the Catalan Government of \u201Ca lack of rigour\u201D. The PSC believes that it is not coherent to ask for a self-determination referendum and, \u201Cbefore the result, already start the building of state structures\u201D. The People\u2019s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, said that the announcement \u201Cshows that the Catalan Government wants to create more state structures and increase public spending, instead of implementing austerity measures and reducing administrative structures\u201D. The anti-Catalan nationalism and Spanish nationalist party Ciutadans (C\u2019s) stated that Catalonia\u2019s tax office has already existed since 2007 and he said that creating a Treasury Secretariat will be \u201Ca problem\u201D if later the Catalan Executive has to \u201Cnegotiate with the Spanish Government\u201D.

The opposition parties supporting Catalonia\u2019s self-determination process have not criticised the creation of such a Secretariat but they have focused their criticism on related aspects. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) stated that it is the Catalan Government\u2019s right to restructure its own departments as it considers best. However, ICV-EUiA wishes that the change \u201Cwould not only refer to the name\u201D but also to the \u201Cway of proceeding\u201D, as they would like a greater effort to be made against fiscal fraud. Finally, the radical left-wing and independence party CUP lamented not having been previously informed of this decision. In fact, the CUP asked the CiU and the ERC to share their parliamentary stability agreement with other groups in the aspects related to Catalonia\u2019s self-determination process.

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  • The Catalan Government's Spokesperson and Ministry for the Presidency, Francesc Homs (by O. Campuzano)

  • The Catalan Government's Spokesperson and Ministry for the Presidency, Francesc Homs (by O. Campuzano)

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