‘Ciutadans’ and PSC to delay budget amid controversy over referendum allocation

February 7, 2017 07:14 PM | ACN

Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) will take the budget bill for 2017, which was due to be put to vote this February, to the Council for Statutory Guarantees. The function of the body is to check whether the regulations of the Catalan Government comply with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. The spokesperson of ‘Ciutadans’ and PSC in the Parliament considers the items allocated for calling “a new 9-N” to be against both the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. Moreover, they noted that other budget lines are “unclear” and may be “hidden” in order to ultimately hold the referendum in September 2017, as the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has repeatedly announced. 


Budget for 2017 passes first hurdle but gets little support from CUP

December 20, 2016 06:49 PM | ACN

The support of 2 MPs from radical left pro-independence CUP, the main partner of governing cross party 'Junts Pel Sï', allowed the budget for 2017 to overcome the appeals presented by the oppoistion groups in the Parliament. Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, defended this Tuesday the budget for 2017. According to Junqueras, the draft especially focuses on “fiscal justice” and social expenditure, which he defined as fundamental pillars for economic growth. “We have many difficulties and many more are being put in our way, but it is clear that our economy and our society are capable of making it through”, he stated on the first day of the two-day session during which the Parliament will vote on the budget for 2017. This is the best budget possible”, he assured in November, right after presenting the bill to the Parliament’s Bureau and emphasised the social orientation of the draft budget. Indeed, more than 74% of the total bill for 2017 is allocated for social expenditure and €1.1 billion more has been allocated for this purpose in comparison to the budget for 2015, which had to be extended for 2016.

Prices in Catalonia rise by 1% and contribute to a 0.9% annual inflation rate in October

November 15, 2016 02:17 PM | ACN

Prices went up by 1% in October, in comparison to September, and left the annual inflation rate in Catalonia at 0.9%, according to the definitive data released on Tuesday by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE). The products that influenced the increase in prices most were the clothing and footwear sector, due to the start of the winter season, and the price of electricity and fuel – both rose in October this year, while they decreased in the same month of 2015. The inflation rate at the end of October is the highest registered since August 2013, when it reached 1.7%, and confirms an upward trend that has now lasted for three months. 

2017 budget to include allocation for pro-independence referendum

November 15, 2016 02:15 PM | ACN

There will be an allocation in the 2017 budget for the pro-independence referendum, which the Catalan Government will carry out “regardless of the situation”. Thus, the Secretary for Tax Office, Lluís Salvadó, responded to pro-independence CUP’s demands to call a referendum in 2017 even if the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) could ultimately appeal or suspend the bill. “The Catalan Government has a univocal commitment and the referendum will go ahead”, he stated this Tuesday in an interview with TV3. “We will do it in one context or another”, he added. The bill for 2017, which received CUP’s support last Saturday, also increases social expenditure by 989 MEUR in comparison to the amount allocated for this purpose in 2015. The Government is determined to approve the budget for 2017 and bring the bill before Parliament on the 29th of November.

Law on the Catalan Community Abroad begins its parliamentary process

November 10, 2016 06:41 PM | ACN

The Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, presented this Wednesday the draft of the Law on the Catalan Community Abroad, which is set to be passed in 2017. The Parliament rejected the two amendments of the whole bill submitted by Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ (C's) and the Catalan Conservative People’s Party (PPC) and therefore the law has now started its parliamentary process. The arrival of this bill in the Parliament is a step forward for the recognition of the Catalan community abroad, a historical demand. Romeva explained that its aim is “to recognise the Catalans abroad as subjects with rights and duties and addressees of the work of the Government”. One of the central aspects of the new law is the Register of Catalans living abroad, which Romeva described as “key”. “It should be the tool by which the Government can identify the citizens who live abroad”, he stressed. 

Government to increase social spending and introduce tax reforms to obtain CUP's support to the budget

November 10, 2016 06:32 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Catalan executive and radical left pro-independence CUP are negotiating the fiscal law, the so called Accompaniment Law, for the 2017 budget. The draft is set to include tax reforms as well as the introduction of new taxes especially oriented toward avoiding property speculation. One of the main hurdles has to do with the reform of income tax, which foresees the elimination of tax relief for property purchase for those who earn more than 30,000 euros per year. By applying this modification the Government could collect 11 MEUR in 2018, negotiators estimate. CUP also aimed to increase income tax for those who earn more than 60,000, but this proposal is not apparently on the table.

Catalan Government spokeswoman warns CUP: “Confidence is non-negotiable”

August 10, 2016 06:22 PM | ACN

The pressure radical left pro-independence CUP have put to meet with Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, in order to tackle the vote of confidence he will submit himself to on the 28th of September hasn’t been well-received by the Catalan Government’s spokeswoman. According to Neus Muntéit is “inappropriate for CUP to set the pace and conditions of the vote of confidence” since “confidence is non-negotiable”. Muntémade this statement this Wednesday in an interview with RAC1 radio in relation to CUP’s demands to agree with President Puigdemont the next steps in the pro-independence roadmap before the vote of confidence and also before negotiating the budget bill for 2017. In this vein, Muntéaccused CUP of being responsible for the present ‘stand-by’ situation that the Catalan Government finds itself in, since the radical lefties refuse to pass the bill for 2016.

CUP insist on the “need” to meet with Puigdemont before vote of confidence

August 9, 2016 03:14 PM | ACN

Radical left pro-independence CUP have insisted on the “need” to meet with Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, before he submits to a vote of confidence, on the 28th of September. The Government’s partners aim to discuss the pro-independence roadmap first, which was ratified two weeks ago by the Catalan Parliament and suspended a few days afterwards by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Regarding the debate on the budget for 2017, which became an essential point after CUP refused to pass the bill for 2016, the radical lefties insist that approval is not guaranteed and that the draft for 2017 will have to be designed according to the roadmap. “It would be nonsense if the bill for 2017 didn’t foresee an allocation for the unilateral referendum on independence”, CUP pointed out.

Disagreement amongst main pro-independence parties on what Puigdemont vote of confidence will imply

July 12, 2016 07:16 PM | ACN

The pro-independence parties in the Catalan Chamber, governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left CUP, have expressed their differences regarding the vote of confidence on Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, which will be held in September. While ‘Junts Pel Sí’ consider voting in favour of Puigdemont’s presidency to imply backing the budget for 2017, CUP see things differently and stated that renewing the confidence in Puigdemont is part of the agreed pro-independence roadmap but not necessarily linked to the bill. The Catalan Government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, considers the budget an “indispensable tool” for the pro-independence roadmap to move forward.

Junqueras “totally” rejects new elections in Catalonia if there is no agreement over the budget

June 6, 2016 02:24 PM | ACN

Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras “totally” rejected the idea that Catalonia will face new elections if pro-independence radical left CUP reject the draft budget for 2016 presented by the Government. In an interview with Catalunya Radio, he urged pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP to “make the most of the 72 seats majority in the Parliament” rather than thinking about potential new elections. Junqueras also refused to start negotiating with other groups in the Catalan Chamber if CUP keeps up their veto on the bill, as it would mean “renouncing the pro-independence roadmap”.

Negotiations over draft budget for 2016 still stuck

June 3, 2016 02:38 PM | ACN

The draft budget for 2016 presented by Catalan Vice President and Catalan Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, doesn’t have enough support to be passed by the Parliament. Although Junqueras described the budget as “realistic”and “socially committed”, pro-independence radical left CUP considered it insufficient and still too “autonomic”, and claimed that the draft didn’t “reflect the pro-independence declaration proposal”approved by the Catalan Chamber on the 9th of November. Thus, CUP presented their veto and urged the Catalan Government to present a new draft which would include the anti-capitalists’ proposals, such as disobeying the deficit target imposed by the Spanish executive and carrying out a deeper reform of the tax system. Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, warned that in order to “complete the task”and put Catalonia “at the gates of independence”the Parliament should at least be allowed to process the budget. This Friday, Puigdemont accused CUP of being “destroyers”if they continue to be carried along by “ideological prejudices”and maintain their veto on the bill.

10 international figures, including 2 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, support Catalonia's right to self-determination

November 3, 2014 07:50 PM | ACN

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Argentinian activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, both of whom were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as UK film-maker Ken Loach, Dutch sociologist Saskia Sassen, UK historian Paul Preston, American sociologist Richard Sennett, US writer Harold Bloom, Portuguese writer António Lobo Antunes, Irish activist Bill Shipsey and US former ambassador Ambler Moss have issued the 'Let Catalans Vote' manifesto. "A majority of Catalans have repeatedly expressed in different ways the wish to exercise their democratic right to vote on their political future" the document starts. Mentioning the positive examples of Quebec and Scotland, the signers stress that "to prevent the Catalans from voting seems to contradict the principles that inspire democratic societies". Finally, they urge the Spanish and Catalan governments to agree on a vote and "to negotiate in good faith based on the result".