Widespread criticism of Catalan government 2024 budget proposal

Economy minister calls for ‘responsibility’ to approve plan

Budget meeting in the Catalan Parliament
Budget meeting in the Catalan Parliament / Mariona Puig

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

February 28, 2024 04:45 PM

February 28, 2024 07:36 PM

On Wednesday, the Catalan government, led by the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), presented its proposal for the Catalan budget for 2024.  

The budget agreement, which Catalan President Pere Aragonès called “better” than the 2022 and 2023 budgets, will see an increase in spending by €2.4 billion, 6.3% more than previous budgets. 

Still, the deal needs the support or abstention of a third group to be approved. 

During Wednesday’s presentation, Catalan Economy Minister Natàlia Mas Guix called for “responsibility” from the other parties, echoing Aragonès who said earlier on Wednesday that “no one really interested in moving forward” would oppose the approval.  

Speaking to Catalan television, the spokeswoman for the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, Mònica Sales, expressed her dissatisfaction with the budget, saying that it “blurs the territorial balance” by not giving enough importance to the small towns of Catalonia. 

Sales added, that she hoped the government would consider the budget plan proposed by Junts in order to find common ground.

Anna Erra, the speaker of parliament, said that political parties now have the "responsibility to work on and discuss the budget bill from their points of view so that it can be acceptable to a majority in the chamber.


Criticism from the left

The left-wing Catalunya en Comú, also criticized the budget, calling it “totally insufficient” and insisting that it was “essential” that the Hard Rock project be abandoned, to which Aragonès replied, that “not a single euro” would go to it. 

Similarly, the anti-capitalist formation CUP, said on Wednesday to Spanish TV, that the agreement would be “practically impossible” to support, citing a lack of solutions to people’s needs. 

“No housing, health nor education,” said spokesperson Xavier Pellicer. “These are band-aid solutions in the form of millions that don’t improve people’s lives”. 

Criticism of the PSC

Criticism has not only been directed at the budget agreement as a whole but also at the PSC as a backing party. 

Mònica Salès called the PSC “a necessary accomplice that allows the government to continue with its despondency, bad management, and erratic course.” 

As for the president of the conservative Catalan People’s Party, Alejandro Fernández wrote on social media X, “I guess that [PSC president] Salvador Illa will dissolve his “alternative government” to become the official crutch of the ERC”. 

Similarly, Ignacio Garriga of the far-right VOX wrote on X that Salvador Illa is the “crutch of the weakest and most useless government in history” adding that “there is no one better than the Socialist Party to support the process of destroying Catalonia.”      

The budget agreement is expected to be debated in the Catalan parliament in mid-March