budget reduction

Catalan Government approves decree to reinstate public employees’ full salary

December 30, 2014 10:33 PM | ACN

Public employees of the Catalan Executive will receive their full salary in 2015. For the last 3 years, they have earned some 7% less in order to meet the strict deficit targets unilaterally imposed by the Spanish Government. The Catalan Government has approved a decree on Tuesday setting the full salary’s restitution, but the measure will not be “100% guaranteed until the new budget for 2015 is approved”, stated the Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the opposition left-wing independence party ERC are currently negotiating this new budget, although the ERC has thus far been reluctant to support it. The CiU and the ERC have been negotiating for the last few weeks over whether to call early elections in order to transform them into a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence, and whether they should run together or not. The 2015 budget is also part of this debate.

Catalan Government presents its 2015 budget bill without a guaranteed parliamentary support

December 2, 2014 10:20 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government presented on Tuesday its budget proposal for 2015, which has a €22.48 billion spending but only a €19.98 billion revenue. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, insisted that spending cannot be further reduced since no further budget cuts can be implemented without seriously damaging public services. In fact, the current budget keeps social spending levels of 2014, which represent 71.2% of the new budget. In addition, public employees' full salary will be restored, after it had been lowered for the last 3 years. The 2015 budget posts a 0.7% deficit (€1.44 billion). However, there is a €2.5 billion difference between spending and revenue that should mostly be covered with €2.19 billion from Spanish Government's pending debts. However, Mas-Colell does not rule out being granted a higher deficit target, since the current one is "unfair" and is not in line with the Catalan Government's austerity measures already adopted. Furthermore, the Spanish Government has reduced funds from the regular funding scheme by 10.7% between 2013 and 2015, a €2 billion reduction, despite the economy is recovering. 

Catalonia's main employers' associations criticise the Spanish Government's 2015 budget: the lowest in 17 years

October 7, 2014 11:17 PM | ACN

Pimec and Foment, Catalonia’s largest employers’ associations, have expressed outrage at the Spanish Government’s budget proposal for 2015 and its planned investment in Catalonia. Both Foment, which groups the largest employers, and Pimec, who represents small and medium-sized enterprises, have criticised that the Spanish Government has allocated to Catalonia only 9.5% of Spain’s total investment, despite it contributing 19% of the country's GDP and having 16% of its population. Spokespersons for both organisations have said the shockingly low budget is at odds with Catalonia’s high productivity and represents "a missed opportunity", both for economic growth and political dialogue, considering the independence debate. According to Ramon Adell, from Foment, Catalonia "as the engine of recovery, deserves a greater investment in infrastructure."

The Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 is finally approved

January 22, 2014 09:36 PM | ACN

All the opposition parties except the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), which shares a parliamentary stability agreement with the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), have criticised the Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 – which amounts to €29.31 billion – for being “anti-social”. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s) and the radical left-wing and independence party CUP all opposed the budget proposal. The CiU and ERC defended the bill and have accused the other parties of “not presenting real alternatives”. The budget’s approval was delayed by a month after the PP appealed against the bill because it includes €5 million for a consultation vote.

Demonstration in Barcelona against austerity and “antisocial” policies

November 25, 2013 05:37 PM | ACN

Thousands of people – 12,000 according to Barcelona’s local police and 200,000 according to the organisers – demonstrated on Sunday in the streets of Barcelona to protest against the Spanish and Catalan Governments’ austerity measures and “antisocial” budgets. Led by the platform ‘Prou Retallades’ (“Stop Budget Cuts”) , the UGT and CCOO trade-unions, as well as political parties and associations, citizens voiced their disapproval of the new pension reform, working fragility and the latest austerity measures. They also specifically protested against the Catalan and Spanish Governments’ budgets for 2014, which they consider “antisocial”. The demonstration organisers criticised the “blind obedience” of the Catalan and Spanish Executives to the European Commission and the Troika.

Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 to have a 1% deficit, more social spending and further privatisations

November 5, 2013 11:40 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government has presented its budget proposal for 2014, which posts a 1% deficit, representing a 35.5% annual reduction and amounting to €1.98 billion, in line with the 2014 deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government. The budget prioritises healthcare, education and social policies, which represent 71% of the total non-financial spending. Non-financial spending grows by 0.2% and reaches €20.30 billion, while the total spending amounts to €29.31 billion. The Catalan Finance Minister stressed that spending had not been reduced this year since in the last 3 years it had already dropped by 22%. Budget cuts “have reached their limit”, as otherwise “social cohesion” and “the Welfare State” would “be at risk” he said. In 2014 the Catalan Executive will spend the same per inhabitant as it was doing in 2004 taking into account inflation (€1,901).The adjustment for 2014 focuses on increasing revenue by €3.2 billion, mostly through new taxes (€910 million) and the sales of assets and privatisations (€2.32 billion). On top of this, the Catalan Government forecasts a 0.9% economic growth for 2014, leaving behind the recession of 2012 (-1.2%) and 2013 (-1.1%).

The Catalan Public TV & Radio Broadcaster’s budget drops from €348 million to €296 million - 17% less

March 20, 2013 09:46 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government’s grant will be reduced by 14% and revenue from advertising is expected to decrease by 10%. The budget reduction has been approved with loud protests from the workers, since it will mostly affect labour costs, which may plummet by 18%. Since 2010, the production and investment budget has dropped by 50%. The Catalan Public Television Broadcaster’s main station, TV3, has been clearly leading audience rankings in Catalonia for most of the years since its creation in 1983. The majority of the political parties and citizens in Catalonia support strong public television and radio stations. The idea of reducing the TV3 budget has been constantly presented by Spanish nationalists as the way to reduce Catalonia’s public deficit despite the €225 million public grant only representing 5% of the total budget adjustment to be accomplished in 2013.

Merkel praises “the close cooperation” between the Spanish Government and the Autonomous Communities

September 7, 2012 12:08 AM | CNA

The German Chancellor is “impressed” with Spain’s reforms. According to Angela Merkel, the reforms are headed “in the right direction”, they need to be pursued “at all government levels” and they will need “time to show their results”, “as it happened in Germany ten years ago” with their structural reforms. Angela Merkel met with the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid, the day the European Central Bank announced it was buying sovereign bonds. Merkel stated that reforms have to continue “at all government levels”. The Chancellor also defended the European Union as a project guaranteeing peace and prosperity, and the Euro as “our common currency”.

The Catalan President asks citizens for “explicit statements” supporting a new fiscal agreement with Spain

August 9, 2012 11:28 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, also talked about the delays of August payments to social care organisations, and he “hoped to be in a better situation” next month. However Mas could not give “a total guarantee” as it depends on whether the Spanish Government activates the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomies. In fact, Mas urged the Spanish Government to do so at the end of this month and said it is “illogical” to make a grand announcement about the measure and then not implement it.

The Spanish Government will cut an additional €19 billion from the Autonomies’ budget within the next two years

August 4, 2012 12:21 AM | CNA

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has announced further budget cuts for 2013 and 2014, totalling an additional €89.1 billion. These budget cuts are to be added to those implemented between 2010 and 2012. Autonomous Communities will have to cut their budget by an additional €19 billion in 2013 and 2014, which is added to the €15 billion already announced in Spring affecting education and healthcare. However, no details of the €19 billion plan were provided. Rajoy stated that in 2014 the Spanish economy will grow by 1.2%, leaving the recession behind. With this plan, Spain’s public deficit for 2013 will be set at 4.5% and at 2.8% for 2014.

The Catalan Executive states it will meet its financial obligations despite not attending the Autonomies’ meeting

August 1, 2012 11:00 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Lluís Recoder, has emphasised that “not attending a meeting as a protest does not mean not honouring the agreements”. Recoder was answering the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, who emphasised that all the Autonomies are obliged to meet the deficit and debt targets. Recoder said that Montoro’s words were not appropriate and unfair, since Catalonia has been leading austerity reforms and budget cuts in Spain.

Catalonia against the Spanish Government’s unilateral decision to increase highway toll prices by 7.5%

July 30, 2012 10:35 PM | CNA

Catalan political parties, business associations, and many citizens are outraged by the decision to increase toll prices in Catalonia, while in the rest of Spain there are many toll-free highways. The Catalan Transport Minister asked the Spanish Government to implement a “soft toll” throughout Spain, instead of increasing toll prices in Catalonia. He reminded that for some journeys within Catalonia, there are no free of charge alternatives to the tolled highways. Catalan nationalists see this measure as a new proof of Catalonia’s high fiscal deficit, paying much more to the rest of Spain than what it gets in return. The People’s Party (PP), running the Spanish Executive, asked the Catalan Government to reduce the price of its tolls.

The Catalan Government will wait until dialogue expires before bringing Rajoy’s education decree to the Constitutional Court

June 14, 2012 01:20 AM | CNA

On Tuesday the Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE) declared that the Spanish Government decree cutting €3 billion in education does not respect 2 Constitution articles and 5 other articles from Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, being thus unconstitutional and going beyond Madrid’s jurisdiction. The Catalan Government following the CGE’s unconstitutionality assessment decided to bring the education decree to the Constitutional Court(TC), as it did last week with Rajoy’s health decree. However, after the Spanish Government threatened to bring approved initiatives from the Catalan Executive to the TC, the Catalan Government decided to modify the decrees through dialogue and bring the decrees to the TC as a last option.