andreu mas-colell

The Catalan Finance Minister stated it is "impossible" to draft a budget with a deficit of 0.7%

March 11, 2013 11:11 PM | CNA

Andreu Mas-Colell, the Catalan Government’s Finance Minister, emphasised that a 0.7% deficit objective means implementing an additional budget adjustment of €4.4 billion. This amount represents around 15% of the Catalan Executive’s budget for last year, which had already been reduced over the previous two years. Furthermore, expected revenue will decrease by 1% despite increases in tax, debt interest will grow by €300 million and the amount of spread payments will also increase by €150 million. In such circumstances a €4.4 billion one-year adjustment would blow up public services in Catalonia. Therefore, Mas-Colell urged the Spanish Government to find an agreement, as otherwise no one wants PM Rajoy to act “as the viceroy of Catalonia”.

The Catalan Government posts a 2% deficit for 2012, correcting the previous preliminary figure

February 21, 2013 10:36 PM | CNA

A month ago, the Catalan Government issued a preliminary deficit figure for last year of 2.3%. Now, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, has corrected this and issued “a more precise figure, although not definitive yet”, which represents having undertaken an adjustment of €3.3 billion in a single year. The Catalan Government was supposed to meet a deficit target of 1.5% in 2012, a figure imposed by the Spanish Executive and considered too strict by Mas-Colell, since it is not proportional to the Catalan Executive’s share of public spending. For 2013, the Spanish Government is imposing an even stricter 0.7% deficit target. Mas-Colell has been repeating that it is “irrational” and needs to be changed.

The Catalan Government asks the European Commission to guarantee the “fairer” distribution of deficit targets within Spain

January 31, 2013 09:58 PM | CNA

Andreu Mas-Colell, the Catalan Finance Minister, has sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn, to denounce the fact that the Spanish Government is proportionally imposing much stricter deficit target on the Autonomous Communities than that of the Spanish Executive, obliging them to implement a much larger and faster adjustment. In 2013, the Spanish Government allowed itself a 3.8% deficit target and imposed an objective of 0.7% on the Autonomous Communities. In Spain regional governments manage 36% of the total public spending, including the main public services such as healthcare, education and social affairs. The Catalan Government manages an even larger share, as it has more devolved powers.

The Catalan Government would have had a deficit of 1.53% without the Spanish Government’s “disloyalty”

January 22, 2013 11:15 PM | CNA

If the Spanish Government had honoured its legal commitments and did not “centrifuge the deficit” towards the Autonomous Communities, the Catalan Government would have ended 2012 with a deficit of 1.53%, according to the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell. Instead, the Catalan Government had a deficit of 2.3%, 0.8 percentage points higher than the 1.5% deficit target. In any case, Catalonia’s deficit still decreased from 3.99% in 2011 to 2.3% last year, a reduction representing €3.48 billion, despite the recession, the consequent drop in tax collection and paying €1.72 billion in debt interest. In the last 2 years, the Catalan Government has reduced its expenditure by €4.2 billion, representing a daily reduction of €5.7 million.

The University of Barcelona and the Hospital Clínic unveil a new biomedicine centre with more than 200 researchers

January 11, 2013 12:08 AM | CNA / María Belmez / Elisenda Rosanas

The IDIBAPS has opened a new research centre of more than 5,000 m2, where more than 200 researchers split into 23 different research groups will be working. It will focus its work on oncology, neurosciences and cell therapies along with infectious, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases. The new centre has been possible thanks to a donation by the private foundation CELLEX, sponsored by Pere Mir. The new centre is located within the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Medicine, which is integrated into the prestigious Hospital Clínic. The centre consolidates Catalonia, and in particular Barcelona, as one of Europe’s main biomedical poles.

Rajoy accepts the Catalan President’s offer to talk but rejects any modification of the 0.7% deficit target for 2013

December 28, 2012 09:49 PM | CNA

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has accepted the offer sent by the new Catalan President to talk about Catalonia’s claims, while keeping them “always within the Constitution”. Furthermore, he has rejected the possibility of modifying the 0.7% deficit target imposed on the Autonomous Communities for 2013. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, explained that, if the payment of financial interest is excluded, meeting next year’s 0.7% deficit target represents a budget surplus, which “makes no sense from an economic point of view in a context of recession”. Mas-Colell proposed that the Autonomous Communities meet a 1.5% deficit target in 2013, as they represent more than a third of Spain’s total public expenditure and Spain has been authorised a total deficit target of 4.5%.

A more political Catalan Government takes office with half of the ministers to continue in the same position

December 27, 2012 11:04 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government has formed a new Cabinet with more political weight controlled by some of the people closest to him, such as Francesc Homs and Germà Gordó, who have been promoted. Half of the previous ministers will continue in the same position, such as the Vice-President Joana Ortega and the Finance Minister Andreu Mas-Colell. The new Executive combines a few Social-Democrat figures – as a gesture towards the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) – with members of the Christian-Democrat side of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), in order to respect the internal equilibrium. The new Government has the objectives of organising the self-determination vote, reducing the public deficit and reactivating the economy.

The Spanish Government to appeal to the Constitutional Court against Catalonia’s drug prescription fee

December 14, 2012 11:22 PM | CNA

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, sees the appeal as “a sabotage of Catalonia’s public finances” with the objective of making the deficit targets harder to reach and then greater control mechanisms can be enforced from Madrid. If the Constitutional Court accepts the Spanish Government’s appeal, the drug prescription and judicial fees approved by the Catalan Executive will be stopped. Mas-Colell explained that this would represent a loss of €140 million per year. The Spanish Executive justifies the appeal because Catalan citizens would have to pay more than those in other parts of Spain. For Mas-Colell, this justification is “sarcastic” and “populist” as it is decided by the same government that “has not increased pensions”.

The Catalan Government receives the €568 million from the FLA and authorises delayed payments

October 10, 2012 01:21 AM | CNA

The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, ruled out the Spanish Executive deciding to delay the payment as an answer to Catalonia’s self-determination process, as it would be “malfeasance”. However, he was angry about the €24 million fine the Spanish Government has issued against the Catalan Executive for delaying Social Security payments. Homs considered this delay to be a consequence of not receiving the €568 million on time and announced an appeal to the Constitutional Court. The Catalan Government had requested €568 million weeks ago from the Spanish Government’s Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities (FLA) to face some of September’s payments. However the amount did not arrive on time and payments to private healthcare, education and social centres receiving public funds were delayed.

The Catalan Government delays ordinary payments in September due to not receiving Spain’s €560 million on time

October 6, 2012 01:00 AM | CNA

The Spanish Government states that the money will “start to arrive” next Tuesday. Over the past few weeks, the Catalan Finance Minister has warned about the urgency of receiving the requested €560 million from the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities (FLA) in order to face all September’s payments. However, the Spanish Government has sent €400 million to pay debt maturities but has not sent the remaining €560 million to pay private health, education and social centres that receive regular funds from the Catalan Executive. All direct salaries have been paid, but not other payments. In August, the Catalan Government requested €5.02 billion from the FLA for the entire year 2012 in order to face debt maturities and ordinary payments, since access to international markets is closed to the Autonomous Communities.

$6 billion mega-resort theme park to be built in Catalonia instead of Sheldon Adelson’s Eurovegas

September 7, 2012 11:39 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

‘Barcelona World’, located next to Salou’s beaches and PortaAventura, will have 6 new theme parks, as well as 12,000 hotel rooms, casinos, convention centres, golf courses and other amusement facilities. 10 million people are expected to visit the mega-resort funded by Veremonte each year, which will create 40,000 jobs. ‘Barcelona World’, located next to Tarragona in the Costa Daurada, will be Europe’s largest amusement resort and among the world’s largest, targeting family and business tourism. Construction may be complete by late 2016. The project has been announced after the expiration of the offer made to Las Vegas Sands to build its casinos next to Barcelona. This American company has not announced if it will finally build ‘Eurovegas’ in Madrid yet, but the Barcelona option seems to be ruled out.

The Spanish Government will study Catalonia’s petition for a temporary loan if the Liquidity Fund is not in place yet

September 3, 2012 11:43 PM | CNA

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, asked the Spanish Government to set up a temporary short-term loan system if the announced Liquidity Fund for the Autonomies is not in place this September. The Catalan Government has been insisting on the urgent need to define and put into force this financial tool to provide the Autonomous Communities with liquidity now their access to international financial markets is impossible as they face unsustainable interest rates. In addition, Mas-Colell stated that it is very likely that more budget cuts will be needed in 2013 to meet the 0.7% deficit target. He also criticised the Spanish Government for imposing stricter deficit objectives for the Autonomies while Brussels gives Spain greater flexibility.

The Catalan Government cannot pay funds for health and social care organisations in time for August

August 1, 2012 10:44 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Catalonia’s Executive blames the Spanish Government for not having transferred all this month’s economic resources and creating serious financial problems for the Autonomies, compelled to pay other financial obligations first. Social care organisations state that the service is guaranteed but that some employees might not receive their salary in time. In addition, despite that they are looking for solutions with the Catalan Government, they criticise the bad planning and are having to look for last minute solutions. Catalonia’s opposition parties have forced the Catalan Finance and Social Affairs Ministers to explain the situation to the Catalan Parliament.

Catalonia refuses to attend the Autonomous Communities council in protest of decisions made beforehand

August 1, 2012 12:02 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Andalusia quits the meeting after one hour. For the first time in democracy, the Catalan Finance Minister did not attend the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council (CPFF), where the Autonomous Community governments and the Spanish Executive discuss the regions’ financial situation and funding. Catalonia refused to attend the CPFF as decisions were taken beforehand by the People’s Party, which runs the Spanish Government and most of the Autonomies for which CPFF decisions are binding. In addition, the Catalan Finance Minister refused to attend the meeting due to Spanish Government’s unilateral decision to oblige the Autonomies to meet a stricter deficit target in 2013, passing from the planned 1.1% to 0.7%. He sent a letter asking for the same flexibility the European Union is giving to Spain.

The Minister for the Economy admits Catalonia will use capital from the Regional Liquidity Fund

July 26, 2012 09:28 PM | CNA

The Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, warned the Spanish government that the Generalitat "will never accept political conditions" in exchange for capital from the Regional Liquidity Fund (FLA). He repeated the phrase three times after revealing that the Catalan government has accepted financing from the FLA and has so far employed “all available instruments of liquidity” but “only” those that are linked to exclusively economic conditions. The minister admitted that the Catalan government will welcome the FLA due to “the liquidity pressures” that the Generalitat is facing. The specific amount of funding has not been revealed but Mas-Colell assured that “it will be what is necessary.”