The Spanish Government doesn’t transfer the money, but transfers the blame

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, blamed the Autonomies and town halls for Spain’s public deficit. Montoro stated that the Spanish Government is meeting the deficit objective for 2012 with the results from the first quarter. However, Catalan MPs reminded Montoro that he is refusing to pay the money it owes Catalan institutions and that with this strategy he transfers the blame for the deficit by not transferring the funds. The Catalan Government directly accused the Spanish Executive for their “massive lie”. According to internal studies from the Catalan Government, the Spanish Executive made incorrect calculations by saying the Autonomies could save €10 billion in healthcare and education with last week’s measures.


April 25, 2012 12:36 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Government has once again used the Autonomous Communities and town halls as a scapegoat in case Spain’s deficit objective for 2012 was not met. The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, said before the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday that the Autonomies and town halls are those generating “doubts” about Spain’s financial viability. Catalan MPs from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), and the Catalan Green Socialists (ICV), reminded Montoro about the Spanish Government’s budget proposal, debated in the Parliament on Tuesday, was missing investment commitments with Catalonia, not transferring money it legally owes the Catalan Government, and not focusing on measures to leave the crisis behind. In other words, they criticised the Spanish Government for focusing too much on the austerity measures and for transferring to the Autonomies, and to Catalonia in particular, its deficit by not paying the money it owes them. They reminded the Spanish Government’s budget proposal does not foresee paying the funds owed to Catalonia, neither to meet the investment objective set in the current legislation. However, the Spanish Finance Minister announced the Spanish Government had a 0.83% deficit in 2012’s first quarter, which is in line with its 3.5% deficit objective for the entire year. Besides, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, accused the Spanish Government “to be building a massive lie”, in order to later blame the Autonomous Communities for Spain’s financial problems. Homs accused the Spanish Government of lying with the amount the measures to reduce healthcare and education spending would save the autonomies. According to Catalan Government studies, the measures approved last week would only “save 10% of what was announced” in Catalonia. According to the law, if an Autonomous Community does not meet the deficit objective, the Spanish Government can take its powers back, in a recentralisation movement.

The Spanish Government is preparing “a massive lie”

The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government explained that the Catalan Government has carried out several studies to determine how the Spanish Government’s measures announced last week, which were supposed to save €10 billion to the Autonomies in healthcare and education, would affect Catalonia. Homs said that, according to the Spanish Government’s calculations, the Catalan Government would save €1.5 billion; however, the Catalan Government’s studies indicate that Catalonia would only save €150 million, 10% of the predicted amount. The Catalan Government already said last week that the measures announced were insufficient. Therefore, if at the end of the year, the Spanish Government asks the Catalan Government why €1.5 billion was not additionally saved in healthcare and education, Homs said that Catalonia “will not take the blame”. The Spanish Government presents itself as “the great budget-cutter” but calculations prove its measures are not enough. For instance, in heatlhcare, the Spanish Government announced that with the measures it was approving, the Autonomies –those directly managing healthcare in Spain– would in total save €7 billion. According to Catalonia’s economic weight, it means that the Catalan should have saved €1.19 billion thanks to those measures. However, a detailed study made by the Catalan Health Ministry show that Catalonia would only save €118 million, 10% less than the announced amount. “We will not take the blame” he said.

The Spanish Government met the deficit objective in the first quarter of 2012

In parallel, in the Spanish Parliament, Catalan MPs were discussing with the Spanish Finance Minister the Spanish Government’s budget for 2012 and the lack of money for Catalonia. They criticised Montoro for the Spanish Government not paying the money it owes Catalonia, and later blaming the Autonomies for not meeting its deficit objectives. Nonetheless, the Spanish Finance Minister announced the Spanish Government had a 0.83% deficit in 2012’s first quarter, which is line with its 3.5% deficit objective for the entire year. And once again put the blame on the Autonomies and town halls, stating they are those generating the “doubts”.

“Catalans are becoming more and more tired” of “paying and taking the blame”

CiU’s spokesperson, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida stated that “Catalan citizens are becoming more and more tired that, despite suffering from an unbearable fiscal deficit, each euro cent is being bargained, when the Catalan Government is the only government in Spain that is undertaking budget cuts that have a popular-support cost”. Catalans are “tired” and many people in Catalonia, not only Catalan independence supporters, said “it is unfair to be paying and taking the blame” for the lack of money and Spain’s public deficit. “Do not say there is no money, just say your priority is not Catalonia”, Duran stated. “It is false” Spain does not have money to meet its commitments, because “there is money to satisfy the demands of others”, the Catalan MP said, such as High-Speed Trains to Galicia. And he added:  “however, you do not want to solve our demands and this is taking us to a dead-end”.

The Spokesperson of ERC, Alfred Bosch, accused the Spanish Government’s budget proposal to “deepen and expand” the “fiscal plundering” Catalonia is suffering from. He lamented that “there is not a small bit of hope” to “fulfil” the Catalan institutions’ “needs and to leave the crisis behind”.