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Torra hails Germany’s decentralized model in dealing with Covid-19 as opposed to Spain

Catalan president highlights the central European country’s low death rate in a briefing with international press

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16 April 2020 02:29 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Quim Torra has lamented that with the state of alarm being declared on March 14 in Spain, Catalonia "lost its autonomy in health care in these most delicate times."

In a press conference with international media on Thursday, the Catalan president contrasted the handling of the pandemic by the Spanish government with Germany, who have not centralized the health services. 

"Can you imagine Germany suspended the authority of the länder [federated states] in matters of health in the middle of the coronavirus crisis?", he asked.

"Germany has the lowest death ratio among the largest European states, he added. "Such a measure of centralizing rocks the constitution."

According to him, large states who have not centralized services and small states such as the Czech Republic, Denmark and Austria are coping “better” with the crisis.

European solidarity

The president also referred to the role Europe should play in the aftermath of the current crisis. In his words, countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, such as Spain and Italy, need solidarity from the European Union. “We share currency and values,” he said, adding: “We should therefore share the financial efforts against the pandemic.” 

  • "Can you imagine Germany suspended the authority of the länder [federated states] in matters of health in the middle of the coronavirus crisis?"

    Quim Torra · Catalan president

Torra backed the concept of a minimum basic income, calling for an "injection of cash directly into the pockets of all citizens."

Yet, he implicitly criticized the comments on the matter by Spain’s former economy minister and current vice president of the European Central Bank, Luis de Guindos, who said that such income should be an “emergency and clearly temporary” measure.

Catalan elections

In January, before the outbreak of the pandemic, Torra announced that he would call for early Catalan elections, once the budget for 2020 is passed. It now appears that the budget will be voted on and is expected to pass on April 24. 

Yet, talking to international press on Thursday, the Catalan leader strongly affirmed that his focus is solely on the management of the public health crisis, and not the inevitable election that does not yet have a date. 

The head of government insisted that "the only priority" is the coronavirus right now. "It's not a topic I was even asked about," said Torra about the election, who also confirmed that the announcement for a voting date would not come as expected.

 

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  • President Quim Torra on a video conference call, April 2, 2020 (photo courtesy of Catalan governement)

  • President Quim Torra on a video conference call, April 2, 2020 (photo courtesy of Catalan governement)

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