budget reduction

Violent protests in downtown Barcelona during Catalonia’s university strike against budget cuts

February 29, 2012 10:53 PM | CNA / María Belmez / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Catalan university staff and students protested against the budget cuts, temporary worker lay offs and an increase in university fees. Peaceful demonstrations with thousands of participants were organised in Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona, and Lleida. However, the Barcelona demonstration did not stick to the schedule and split into different protests. A group of students became violent and broke the glass at a bank branch, threw eggs at the stock exchange, burned three containers and one vehicle, and occupied the rectorate at Barcelona University. 500 students concentrated in front of the Mobile World Congress, which is taking place in Barcelona, and police prevented them from breaking in.

The Catalan Government reduces public sector salaries by 3% to meet deficit objectives

February 17, 2012 10:06 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The salary drop is to be added to the 5% cutback in 2010 and the 2011 salary freeze despite the increase in inflation. Trade unions denounced that since May 2010, Catalan public employees have lost 20% of their purchasing power. In addition, trade unions have abandoned negotiations as they say the Catalan Government is imposing the measures. The Vice President, Joana Ortega, stressed that the measure is “temporary”, in principle only for 2012; however she did not discard the idea of repeating it in 2013 if the economic situation requires so. The measure will save €180 million this year, which is part of the €625 million package to be saved that affects public employee labour conditions.

CiU and the PP reach a final agreement to approve the Catalan Budget

February 14, 2012 11:49 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which controls the Catalan Government, and the People’s Party (PP), the third political party in Catalonia’s Parliament, have agreed to reduce some of the fees from the original proposal, reduce the number of public companies, build new schools and community health centres, and allocate more money to municipalities and victims of terrorism. Furthermore, the agreement goes beyond the budget and foresees the development of laws and plans to foster employment, entrepreneurship and a spending limitation. CiU has denied that it has a “stable agreement” with the PP for the entire term. The PP has demonstrated its new central role in Catalan politics. Every opposition party has criticised the agreement.

CiU and PP agree on postponing the tourist tax and limiting the drug prescription fee

February 8, 2012 03:22 PM | Rafa Garrido / Patricia Mateos / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘CiU’, which runs the Catalan Government, is close to reaching an agreement with the Conservative People’s Party (PP) on this year’s budget. They have been negotiating over the past number of weeks, but the PP has insisted on modifying two of CiU’s new measures: the tourist tax and the drug prescription fee. They have subsequently agreed to postpone the tourist tax until November 2012 and Barcelona will have a different fee. In addition, they have decided to exclude people with low incomes from paying the drug prescription fee.

“Treating the Autonomies like children or bad students is silly and unfair”, warns the Catalan President

January 3, 2012 11:15 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government, has reflected on his first year in office. Mas justified the budget cuts his government has made in order to avoid “a collapse” in public services. He also criticised the recent trend of patronising the Autonomous Communities and claiming that they are responsible for Spain’s financial problems. That, he believes, has made them scapegoats. “The Autonomies are a very important part of the State”, “they provide almost all public services to citizens”, he stressed. In addition, Mas insisted that Spain’s debt and deficit is mainly due to the Spanish Government’s overspending over many years and not the fault of the Autonomies or the municipalities.

Spain’s new Minister for the Economy “feels sympathetic” for the Catalan Government’s “austerity efforts”

January 2, 2012 10:29 PM | CNA

In a radio interview, Luis de Guindos, said he is supportive of the budget austerity measures put in place by the Catalan Government over the last 12 months. In addition, the new Spanish Minister for the Economy stated that the drug prescription fee proposed by the Catalan Government is Catalonia’s responsibility, contrary to that said by the previous Spanish Government. In addition, the Catalan Health Minister explained that the drug prescription fee would include exceptions “basically” based on personal “economic reasons”.

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.

MEPs from Catalonia request the European Commission to supervise the Catalan Government’s budget to stress transparency

December 20, 2011 07:43 PM | CNA

In order to foster transparency, almost all the Catalan Members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to supervise the Catalan Government's budget, and other “regions of systemic importance”. Catalonia’s GDP is as big as that of Finland and Portugal. MEPs from CiU, ERC, ICV, and the PP believe that this procedure will prove Catalonia’s reliability and rigour, and will subsequently have a positive effect on the international financial markets. The PSC is looking at possibly joining the initiative.

Public employees and the Catalan Government clear on their aims for next year’s salaries and staff numbers

December 14, 2011 10:44 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Public employees have taken to the streets to put pressure on the Catalan Government during the negotiation of next year’s budget. The Government proposed 19 measures affecting public employees and aimed at saving €625 million in 2012. They include salary reductions, modifications in working conditions and review “of temporary staff”. Negotiations began on November 30th and, despite some temporary suspensions, they are on-going. The Catalan Government wants to close a deal as soon as possible, and unions want to keep negotiating until next year’s budget approval.

The Catalan Government decides to take the Spanish Executive to court for not paying €759 million

December 14, 2011 11:54 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The outgoing Spanish Government has refused to pay Catalonia €759 million this year despite being legally obliged to do so and having stated publicly on several occasions it would pay the money. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government announced Catalonia is risking to miss the deficit objective for 2011 without the funds. Facing this situation and the damage caused by it, the Catalan Government has decided to take the Spanish State to court and explain the issue to European institutions. Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s future Prime Minister, has said that he is not aware of the issue.

Josep Borrell asks the European Central Bank and Member State governments “to do the opposite to what they are doing” to save the euro

November 30, 2011 07:10 PM | CNA

The former President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, believes that the European Central Bank must buy sovereign debt and that governments need to implement budget cuts at a slower rate in order to avoid a drop in economic growth. Borrell also stressed that “the worst is possible”, and that they must act quickly. However, he added that “the euro will not disappear” but if some countries were left out, “it would be a problem for everybody” as “it would cause a big mess”.

The Catalan public television and radio broadcaster will have its budget drastically cut

November 25, 2011 09:30 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In a meeting at the Parliament of Catalonia, the Catalan Government has announced that it will reduce its budget contribution to the Catalan public television and radio broadcaster (CCRTV) by 13.3%. As a consequence, the entire CCRTV budget will drop and two of the six digital TV channels will be closed. However, the Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, in charge of public media, said no staff would be laid off.

The Catalan Government details the austerity measures for 2012 while Madrid questions the pharmaceutical fee

November 24, 2011 10:58 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

On Tuesday, the Catalan President announced a series of measures that will be included in the 2012 budget in order to meet the 1.3% deficit objective. The Catalan Finance Minister said that the fall in public spending will be smaller than that of this year. Ministers from the Catalan Government have been providing more details about the measures. The so-called “moderating ticket” to reduce the Catalan public healthcare system’s pharmaceutical bill has been questioned by the Spanish Government, as Barcelona “does not have the powers to do so”, despite managing the public healthcare system in Catalonia.

Members of the Catalan Government and higher-ranked staff will not receive the Christmas bonus

October 5, 2011 11:19 PM | CNA / Patricia Mateos

The Catalan President, Artur Mas, announced that he along with ministers, deputy ministers, and directors-general would not receive the Christmas bonus this year. The measure affects all the Catalan Government’s higher-ranked staff and is meant to send a message of austerity. 350 people will see their salary reduced, saving 1.8 million euros of public money. It is an answer to doctor and nursing unions, who had asked politicians to reduce their salaries. Last year, higher-ranked officials experienced a 15% salary cut.