andreu mas-colell

Catalonia considering financing from the regional liquidity fund, but rejects claims it is seeking a rescue

July 24, 2012 06:58 PM | CNA

Catalonia has not asked for a rescue from Spain, said the spokesman of the Catalan government, Francesc Homs. At a press conference, Homs denied reports that Catalonia is seeking a full bail-out, but admitted the government is considering participating in the Regional Liquidity Fund. “This is a treasury mechanism”, said Homs, who added that by using the fund Catalonia would not have to meet “any new set of conditions”. When presenting the €18bn fund last week, the Spanish government said the aid will be only offered under “strict conditionality”.

Outrage in Catalonia after Spain cuts regional deficit targets and denies compensation for VAT rise

July 13, 2012 04:08 PM | CNA

The Catalan minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, said in an interview that he will ask to speak directly to Brussels if Madrid decides to intervene in Catalonia’s finances. The minister is very disappointed with the results of a meeting between the 17 autonomous communities and the Spanish Minister Cristóbal Montoro. At the summit, Montoro announced a new cut in the regional deficit targets, from 1,1% to 0,5% for 2013 and from 1% to only 0,1% the year after. This could imply a new adjustment of about €650 million on top of the 1,500 million already announced by Catalan President Artur Mas only two months ago. The Catalan government spokesman, Francesc Homs, did not deny the possibility of new cuts in Catalonia in the near future. If they are confirmed, those would be the fourth round of spending cuts implemented in the country since Mas entered office in November 2010. Meanwhile, other autonomous communities still have to start to reduce spending.

The Catalan Government had a €42 billion debt at the end of March but its increase significantly slows down

June 16, 2012 01:01 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government’s debt represents 21% of Catalonia’s GDP, and it is in charge of almost half of public spending and manages healthcare, education and other basic services. Catalonia’s debt continues to increase because of the public deficit, but slows down its growth significantly. Over the first quarter of 2012, the Catalan Government’s debt increased by €222 million, while it had grown by €2.34 billion over the same period in 2011. With this last increase, the Catalan Government’s debt reached €42 billion at the end of March 2012.

Green light for the Catalan Government’s plan of adjusting €4.3 billion to meet this year’s deficit target

May 18, 2012 12:55 AM | CNA

The Catalan Government will adjust its budget by €4.295 billion in 2012, through spend cuts of €2.680 billion and increasing revenue by €1.615 billion. With this plan, the Catalan Government will meet the 1.5% deficit target. The Council of Fiscal and Financial Policy (CPFF), which brings together the Spanish Government and the 17 Autonomies, has approved Catalonia’s budget adjustment plan for 2012-2014. The Spanish Government would pay part of the money owed, but not all of it. The Catalan Government has included a plan B in case the Spanish Government does not honour its fiscal obligations towards Catalonia.

The Catalan Government presents its third austerity plan based on further budget cuts “obliged” by Madrid and Brussels

May 16, 2012 12:59 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The third plan represents an additional budget cut of €1.5 billion, in order to meet the 1.5% deficit target for this year. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said that the plan “guarantees essential services”. He also stated that if the Spanish Government had paid what it owed last year, the current reduction would be halved. The plan decreases budget allocations for public companies, reduces public employee salaries once again, decreases the amount allocated for subsidies, delays investments, privatises some public companies, sells public buildings, and implements the measures decided by the Spanish Government regarding health and education. The opposition criticised the plan for not being concrete and effective enough.

The Catalan President threatens early elections if the Spanish Government intervened in Catalonia

April 24, 2012 01:08 AM | CNA

In an interview with the Catalan Public Television Broadcaster, the Catalan President and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) recognised that the Spanish Government could intervene the Catalan Government. “It could happen, I won't deny it”, he said. Furthermore, he warned that “the mistrust level will be very high” if the Spanish Government does not pay the money it owes the Catalan Executive. Mas said that “if Madrid wants to intervene Catalonia’s self-government”, he would call early elections. In addition, he said that further budget cuts will be needed.

The Catalan Government supports creating ‘hispanobonds’, Autonomy bonds with a Spanish Government guarantee

March 28, 2012 01:36 AM | CNA

The Spanish Minister for the Economy, Luís de Guindos, announced in Barcelona the future creation of the so-called ‘hispanobonds’, common bonds issued by the Autonomous Communities and backed by the Spanish Treasury. The objective is to reduce high interests rates, and thus the financial costs that the Autonomous Communities have to pay when they turn towards financial markets to get liquidity. The Catalan Finance Minister proposed the original idea several few weeks ago.

Catalonia has transferred 8% of its GDP every year since 1986 for services and investments in the rest of Spain

March 13, 2012 09:57 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In 2009, Catalonia financed € 16.41 billion of services and investments in the rest of Spain, which represents 8.4% of Catalonia’s GDP. According to the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, out of every euro paid by Catalan citizens with their taxes, 43 cent is invested outside of Catalonia. The Catalan Government released the latest data regarding the fiscal relationship between Catalonia and Spain, corresponding to the 2006-2009 period, known as “the fiscal balances”. Mas-Colell underlined the “fiscal deficit” Catalonia suffers from, which is “unsustainable” and harms Catalan citizens and the country’s economy.

Every party in Catalonia, including the PP, asks for more proportional deficit targets in 2012

March 5, 2012 11:31 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

There has been a unanimous call in Catalonia for greater flexibility of the deficit objectives applied to the Autonomous Communities for the current year. Every political party in Catalonia, including the People’s Party (PP), has asked the Spanish Government to provide more flexibility to the Autonomies, which manage 40% of Spain’s public spending and run basic Welfare State services. The Spanish Government has set a new deficit target of 5.8% of Spain’s GDP for 2012; internally, the Central Government allowed itself a deficit of 4% and ordered the Autonomies to commit to a deficit of 1.5%. Some Catalan parties have said that the Spanish Government has double standards.

The Catalan economy grew by 0.7% in 2011 but contracted by 0.4% in the last quarter

February 16, 2012 10:53 PM | CNA

The Spanish Economy grew by 0.7% last year, however decreased by 0.3% in the last quarter, because of the “contraction in domestic demand”. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, said he would review the 0.8% growth prediction for 2012, since the latest data points to an economic slowdown. Besides, the Spanish Deputy Minister for the Economy, Fernando Jiménez Latorre, stated that data for the first term of 2012 “will be similar” to that of the last quarter of 2011 “or a bit worse”; if confirmed, it would mean a recession.

The Autonomies and the Spanish Government agree on a set of measures to guarantee the deficit commitment and liquidity

January 17, 2012 11:48 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Spanish Government stressed that no Autonomous Government will be left disappointed if they have a “responsible” attitude and have an austerity plan in place. However, those failing these measures could be intervened the same way “the European Union” has done with countries such as Greece and Ireland, but without “having their powers taken away”, clarified the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro. The Autonomous Community governments have renewed their 1.3% deficit objective for 2012 and the Spanish Government has offered additional tools to raise funds and solve liquidity issues. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, has met bilaterally with Montoro to foster cooperation and discuss the Catalan Government’s claims about the €2.2 billion the Spanish Government owes Catalonia.

Regional governments are responsible for less than 20% of Spain’s debt and for 33% of its 2011 deficit

January 12, 2012 11:11 PM | CNA

In the last number of weeks, regional governments in Spain have been taking the blame for the deficit, and in the past week have done so at an international level. However, Spain’s Central Government is responsible for 63% of the country’s deficit and 75% of public debt, despite controlling less than half of public expenditure and having far greater control over revenue. Regional governments have produced less than 20% of Spain’s public debt and in 2011 were responsible for 33% of the country’s deficit, despite representing around 40% of the public expenditure total and managing the most expensive and socially-rooted policies (healthcare, education, social grants, public transportation, etc.).

The Catalan Government budget for 2012 fulfils the 1.3% deficit objective by increasing taxes, selling assets and reducing public sector salaries

December 20, 2011 10:54 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government will reduce department expenditure by 3.8%, public sector prices will increase and real estate assets will be sold. In addition, a symbolic tourist tax and a universal fee for each drug prescription will be introduced. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, insisted that next year’s budget continues with the two-year adjustment plan, which has been designed to reach a 1.3% deficit objective in 2012. Basic welfare services and security and judicial policies are the areas least affected by the reductions. In the next few weeks, parliamentary negotiations will take place to approve the final budget.

Public employee unions protest at not being informed by the Catalan Government about delays in the extra salary payment

December 15, 2011 10:27 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Minister for Finance, Andreu Mas-Colell stated in a press conference that because of the Spanish Government’s refusal to pay them the promised €759 million, the Catalan Government will be short of cash for the remainder of the year. Mas-Colell explained that Catalan public employees would receive most of their Christmas bonus with a one week delay. In addition, service providers will also be paid later. Visibly angry and arguing that they had not been previously informed about the measures, union representatives decided to leave the negotiation table with the Catalan Government where talks had been taking place about next year’s salaries, working conditions and staff numbers.