cristóbal montoro

Spanish budget proposal is “disappointing”, says Catalan Government

August 25, 2015 06:45 PM | ACN

The proportion of investment earmarked for Catalonia in next year’s Spanish budget will be 10.7% of the total, a figure that the Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, considers totally insufficient. “It is far from the 19.8% Catalan contribution to the Spanish GDP or from the 16% that citizens living in Catalonia represent”, she said on Tuesday after the Spanish government defended the figures in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid. Munté regretted that cultural investment in Catalonia will plummet: the Spanish government will spend three times more money on three museums in Madrid than on all the museums of Catalonia. According to the Spanish Minister of the Treasury, Cristóbal Montoro, the budget is “what Spain, its economy and its citizens need”.

Rajoy to once again invest disproportionately low amount in Catalonia in 2016 budget

August 4, 2015 10:41 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government has presented its budget for 2016 and once again its investment in Catalonia is very far from being in line with the Autonomous Community’s GDP or population share within Spain. According to the planned budget for next year presented this Tuesday (many months in advance for electoral reasons), the Spanish Government plans to allocate only 10.7% of its territorial investment to Catalonia, even though the Catalan economy represents 19% of Spain’s overall GDP and Catalans make up 16% of Spain’s population. The amount planned for 2016 is however a bit higher than that allocated for 2015, which was only 9.5% of Spain’s total, the lowest in many years and widely interpreted to have been in retaliation for independence claims. The amount for 2015 was €1,072.3 million and that for 2016 is €1,179.5 million, which means a 10% increase (+€107 million) but is still one of the lowest investments in decades, both in percentage and absolute terms. Nevertheless, the Madrid-based media has focused on this increase, presenting Catalonia as a clear winner and forgetting about the extremely low investment levels from 2015 and 2016.

Spanish Government rejects reviewing strict 2016 deficit targets for Autonomous Communities

July 30, 2015 09:44 AM | ACN

Despite the fact that all the Autonomous Community governments that are not run by the People's Party (PP) requested the Spanish Executive  – run by the PP – to allow them a greater deficit in 2016 and that Spain's independent fiscal authority Airef also recommended granting regional governments greater deficit targets for next year, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, has rejected doing so. In 2016, the Autonomous Communities will have to close their budgets with less than a 0.3% deficit, "an absurd" and "unrealistic" figure according to the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, who was recently awarded an honorary PhD in Economics by the University of Chicago. The Catalan Government asked for a 0.88% deficit target for 2016. Besides this, next year the Catalan Executive will receive €1.2 billion that should have already been transferred by the Spanish Executive but was not, due to Montoro's tax revenue miscalculations. In addition to this, since economic activity is growing, the Spanish Government will increase the Catalan Executive's funds by €700 million each year from 2016 onwards.

Catalonia had a 2.58% deficit in 2014, more than the 1% deficit target imposed by Madrid

March 27, 2015 09:55 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government registered a 2.58% deficit in 2014, according to the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, already unveiled this figure a few days ago, but explained that it was including the public bailout of a highway charged on 31 December 2014, as otherwise the figure would be 2.13%. In any case, Catalonia's deficit is higher than the 1% target unilaterally imposed by the Spanish Government on the Autonomous Communities. The Catalan Government protested months ago, saying that it was not a realistic target, that it was unfair since it was not in line with spending responsibilities in the management of basic public services, and that it was went against the Budget Stability Law. The Catalan Government took it to the Constitutional Court but the verdict has not been issued yet.

Catalonia requests €9.46 billion in loans from Spanish Government’s Liquidity Fund for 2015

January 20, 2015 11:53 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has formally requested €9.46 billion in loans from the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities (FLA), run by the Spanish Finance Ministry, to face debt payments and other obligations during 2015. This is the only way that the Spanish Government authorises the Catalan Executive to request liquidity as it has banned Catalonia’s access to financial markets to obtain additional funds, as many governments do when they issue bonds or ask for loans. Therefore, the FLA has become the Catalan Executive’s only bank and a source of funds that must be returned. However, for the first time this year, the Spanish Government will not make money on the FLA and has set a 0% interest rate, which will have a €300 million positive impact on the Catalan Executive’s budget.

Catalonia will not have to pay interest on Spanish Government loans from 2012 to 2015

December 24, 2014 01:21 PM | ACN

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, has confirmed a new fiscal measure to increase the Autonomous Communities’ revenue, benefiting the Catalan Government as well. After the Council on Fiscal and Financial Policies (CPFF) held on Tuesday evening, Montoro confirmed that interest rates will be set at 0% for the loans given to the regional governments since 2012 through the Liquidity Fund (FLA). The measure will also be in place for 2015. However, the Autonomous Communities that have already met the deficit targets will also be granted a 0% rate for 2016 and 2017. The Catalan Government welcomes the measure but is sceptical about its details. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, demanded an entirely new funding scheme, since the current one expired a year ago. Montoro is not renewing the inter-territorial funding scheme and instead is using this loan system, which obliges regional governments to return the transferred funds.

Spanish Government may eliminate interest rates on loans funding Autonomous Communities

December 17, 2014 08:57 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, has announced new measures “to reduce the interest rates” paid by the Autonomous Community governments, including that of Catalonia. A few hours early, Spanish Finance Ministry sources told the CNA that the interest rates of the loans given to the regional governments through the Liquidity Fund (FLA) and the fund to pay providers would soon be lowered to 0%. Instead of modifying the pre-crisis-designed inter-territorial funding scheme, which legally expired a year ago, or authorising the Autonomous Communities to address the financial markets, the Spanish Government has been issuing loans with high interest rates to fund the regional executives. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, was sceptical about the announcement and urged the Spanish Government to approve a new inter-territorial funding scheme.

Spanish Government rules out a new inter-territorial fiscal scheme, despite the current one having legally expired

November 19, 2014 10:45 PM | ACN

On Wednesday, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cirstobal Montoro, refused to start negotiating and launching a new funding scheme for the Autonomous Communities before 2016, even though the current model had to be reviewed before January 2014. The Catalan Government has been insisting on its review since 2012, since the system does not properly fund basic public services such as healthcare and education in times of economic crisis, areas which are entirely managed by the Autonomous Communities. In addition, Catalonia suffers a permanently high fiscal deficit: each year Catalan taxpayers have to give away some 8.5% of Catalonia’s annual GDP to fund services and infrastructure in poorer regions in Spain. The problem is that after such transfers, public services in the poorer parts of Spain have more money per inhabitant than the Catalan ones and basic infrastructure in Catalonia is not built. The Spanish Government has been postponing the new model, despite the territorial tensions and the self-determination demands.

The People's Party offer to form a grand coalition against Catalonia's independence is only accepted by UPyD

September 5, 2014 10:08 PM | ACN

On Friday, in Badalona (Greater Barcelona), the Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, launched the idea to form a wide-spectrum coalition against secession in the next Catalan elections, which should unite all of the parties opposing independence from Spain. However, it has been rejected by the main parties which were targeted, and only the Spanish nationalist UPyD, which gets marginal results in Catalonia, has welcomed the initiative. According to Cospedal, this united list should bring together the PP (running the Spanish Government), UPyD, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist C's, and the Christian-Democrat UDC, which is part of the two-party centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. The PSC and UDC – which recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination - have totally rejected the idea. Even so, the PP's leader stated that "in Catalonia there is an undercover dictatorship", pushing for "a single way of thinking".

Spanish Government links Pujol's fraud with support for Catalan independence

September 2, 2014 08:17 PM | ACN

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, did not hesitate to link the fiscal fraud confessed by the former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol, to the rest of the politicians supporting Catalonia's independence. In a public hearing before the Spanish Parliament, as the manager of the country's Tax Agency, Montoro said that "those who radicalise their political speeches, pretending to challenge the State, are at the same time making money out of it and earning personal benefits", putting Jordi Pujol together with all those supporting independence. In addition, Montoro stated that the Spanish Tax Agency will act against Pujol and launch "administrative and judicial" processes. The Catalan Government accused Montoro of using the State's structures to back "partisan interests" instead of merely "fighting fraud". Furthermore, the CiU criticised Montoro for linking Pujol's case to the Catalan self-determination process.

Catalan Government will not meet 1% deficit target for 2014, imposed by Spanish Executive

July 31, 2014 09:36 PM | ACN

On Thursday, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, admitted that Catalonia will not be able to meet the strict 1% deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government for 2014. In fact, the Catalan Executive had previously warned on several occasions that this deficit target was not realistic, despite the great austerity efforts undertaken over the past four years. In addition, despite Spain's economic recovery of 2014 – which is led by Catalonia – and therefore the increase of taxable activity, the Spanish Government will reduce the Catalan executive's funds by €500 million this year while the deficit target becomes stricter. On Wednesday, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, already stated that, considering the austerity measures adopted since 2011, further budget cuts cannot be undertaken in 2014 without dramatically damaging basic public services such as healthcare and education. Instead of relaxing the deficit target or transferring pending funds and debts to the Catalan Government, the Spanish Finance Ministry will reduce the interest rate that the Autonomous Communities have to pay back to 1% for the loans of the Liquifidity Fund (FLA).

The Spanish Government downplays Catalonia's fiscal deficit and rejects reviewing its funding

July 23, 2014 09:34 PM | ACN

On Tuesday, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, rejected to review the funding scheme of the Autonomous Communities to grant them more resources, despite the fact that the Catalan Government is under-budgeted. On Wednesday, the Spanish Finance Ministry downplayed Catalonia's fiscal deficit by issuing the so-called fiscal balances, which calculate the inter-territorial fiscal transfers, posting a significantly low Catalan contribution. According to the Spanish Government's new calculations, Catalonia gave away €8.46 billion in 2011, representing 4.35% of its GDP. The figure is significantly lower than the Catalan Government's calculations: €15.01 billion and €11.09 billion, using two complementary methodologies used by the Spanish Executive in 2008 and agreed among independent university experts.

Rajoy considers self-determination vote "absurd" and rejects discussing it with the Catalan President

July 17, 2014 05:41 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated on Wednesday that he "will not join absurd debates" and will not "participate in the game" to negotiate Catalonia's self-determination vote since "the referendum is illegal and will not take place". Ironically, Rajoy accepted the request of the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to meet, but he has specifically rejected to talk about the purpose of the interview: the self-determination vote. In addition, the Spanish PM has downplayed the agreement backed by a two-third majority of the Catalan Parliament, which was answering a mandate resulting from the 2012 Catalan elections. On the same day the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, rejected "reinventing Spain" to better fit Catalans and therefore ruled out a deep Constitutional Reform. In addition, he also rejected setting up a new fiscal scheme for Catalonia, similar to the one that the Basque Country already has.

Catalans vote in the European elections with self-determination and budget cuts in their minds

May 23, 2014 11:15 PM | ACN

The 2014 European parliamentary elections are likely to become a milestone for Catalan people for three main reasons, which taken together send a strong message to the international community, the EU institutions and Member State governments, including that of Spain. Firstly, political parties and civil society organisations supporting self-determination have called citizens to vote in these elections as a way to push for a referendum on independence to take place on the 9th of November of this year. This may significantly increase turnout from the low 36.94% registered in 2009. Secondly, the two main self-determination parties are likely to be the most voted parties in Catalonia. In addition, the Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) may go from 4th place in the 2009 poll to 1st place this time around. Thirdly, support for the two main parties behind the EU austerity measures that turned into drastic budget cuts in southern Europe – the People’s Party and the Socialist Party – is likely to plummet in Catalonia.

Spanish Government delays once again the publication of territorial fiscal transfers

March 21, 2014 09:36 PM | ACN

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, announced on Friday that the publication of the so-called fiscal balances will be delayed until June, after he had promised to issue them by last December and by the current month of March. Montoro changed the calculation method in January, as the figures were used to support Catalonia's independence from Spain. Now, the new delay is "to improve" the report. This document shows how much money Catalan citizens and companies pay to the public authorities and how much returns to them through services, infrastructure and funds. A wide majority of the Catalan society has been complaining for decades that their contribution to finance services, infrastructure and funds in other parts of Spain is too excessive and they have asked for reducing such inter-territorial money transfers. Studies show that Catalans have been paying each year an average of 8% of Catalonia's GDP between 1986 and 2010, which represents 200% of Catalonia's total GDP.