cristóbal montoro

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.

Catalonia will not tolerate the elimination of the Autonomous Communities' taxation powers

March 13, 2014 09:47 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government announced that, if the Spanish Executive finally decides to recentralise Catalonia's own taxes, they will take the issue to the Constitutional Court. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, stated that, if confirmed, "it would be a very provocative proposal" and "would make totally transparent, if it is not already transparent by now, the recentralising assault and the policy to dismantle the [current] Autonomous Community model". On Thursday an expert committee handed a report to the Spanish Government suggesting 270 measures to completely reform Spain's taxation system. The text states that the Spanish Government will "order" all the taxes, including those of the Autonomous Communities. Regional governments might continue having their own taxes but market unity will be a higher priority and taxes will always be "coordinated" by the Spanish Finance Ministry.

Catalan parties welcome Rajoy’s rectification in publishing fiscal balances after all

February 5, 2014 09:48 PM | ACN

After a great controversy and outraged reaction from businesspeople, politicians and academics, the Spanish Government has amended its previous decision and on Tuesday evening it announced that it will publish the so-called fiscal balances. This financial instrument shows how much money the citizens and companies from a territory give to the central government and how much of this money comes back in form of funds, investments and services. Previous studies showed that Catalonia has been giving away an average of 8% of its GDP each year since 1986, which represents 6 times the entire Marshall Plan in comparable currencies. The Spanish Government was supposed to publish the fiscal balances in December but a month later it announced it would not do so since they were “used to foster Catalonia’s independence” claims. Catalan parties warned Rajoy not to alter the figures and calculation to produce the result he wishes.

Catalan businesspeople annoyed with Spanish Government for not issuing fiscal balances

January 28, 2014 01:43 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan business community is deeply annoyed with the Spanish Government for not publishing transparent data on Catalonia’s fiscal contribution to the rest of Spain and therefore not recognising the fiscal deficit. The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, was supposed to issue the so-called fiscal balances last December but their publication was inexplicably delayed. Last Friday, in late January, Montoro announced the fiscal balances would no longer be calculated and published in the present form; instead, he would publish in March the “regionalised public figures” stating the costs of public services per citizen because the fiscal balances were “incomplete and incoherent”. However, on Tuesday, the Minister recognised that they were “correct” but “wrongly used” to support Catalan independence claims.

Catalan Finance Minister accuses Rajoy of sidelining and homogenising the Autonomous Communities

January 24, 2014 02:57 PM | ACN

Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalan Finance Minister, accused the Spanish Government of aiming “to undo” the system of Autonomous Communities. He also expressed his fear that the so-called ‘coffee for all’ system [the generalised devolution of the early 1980s that shaped the 17 Autonomous Communities] will become a ‘decaffeinated coffee’ system, implemented ‘in depth’. With this play on words, Mas-Colell was referring to a deep recentralisation and homogenisation process. Furthermore, the former professor of Economics at Harvard and Berkley, denounced “the budget treatment” that the Spanish Government gives to Catalonia as “totally unfair”. In this vein, he proposed that an international and independent body should calculate the fiscal balances between Catalonia and the Spanish State.

Catalan Government to require Madrid to pay the €2 billion owed

January 8, 2014 08:31 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government will file several formal demands for payment of the €2.02 billion the Spanish Government legally owes Catalonia from the 2008-2013 period. The money represents 1% of Catalonia’s GDP or 7% of the Catalan Government’s budget. According to the Statute of Autonomy, which was approved by the Spanish Parliament and came into force in 2006, the Spanish Government was obliged to invest a percentage equal to or higher than Catalonia’s share of Spain’s GDP between 2007 and 2013 in order to compensate for an historical lack of infrastructure investment. If it was not doing so, the Spanish Executive had to compensate Catalonia financially. The measure was adopted after exhaustive negotiations and was essential to the approval of this law by the Catalan people through a binding referendum. However, the Spanish Government never honoured it. Madrid compensated Catalonia for the lack of investment in 2007, but not for the remaining years.

Spanish Government will not compensate Catalonia for cancelling its tax on bank deposits

December 19, 2013 03:45 PM | ACN

The Catalan Executive considers the Spanish Government’s decision not to pay them the money corresponding to the revenue from the tax on bank deposits in 2013 “very bad news”. On the 18th December 2012, the Catalan Executive approved a tax on banks’ global deposits (not on personal deposits) with a general rate of 0.5% but with many reductions. Such a tax already existed in Andalusia, Extremadura and the Canaries. Nine days later, the Spanish Government approved its own tax, but at a 0% rate, therefore not collecting any money but cancelling de facto the Autonomous Communities’ tax. When this happens, the Spanish Executive is legally obliged to compensate the regional government, transferring the equivalent money. Madrid did so with the others, but not with Catalonia. Such a tax would have generated €800 million in revenue in 2013.

The PP to finally block the Catalan Government’s budget

December 17, 2013 08:27 PM | ACN

On Monday the People’s Party (PP) announced they were considering freezing the 2014 Catalan Government’s budget of €29.31 billion. The reason is that they include €5 million (0.017% of the total spending) to fund “electoral processes and citizen consultations”, which they fear could fund a self-determination vote. The Catalan Government has the power to organise a consultation process, as well as to modify small items once the budget is approved. The PP was waiting for the Spanish Finance Minister’s green light, since blocking the budget’s approval could have consequences on the objective to reduce public deficit and on meeting the targets imposed by the EU. Cristóbal Montoro argued that, since the blocking would “only last some 30 days”, there is no such danger.

PP is considering blocking Catalan Government’s budget for 2014

December 16, 2013 08:09 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – has announced it is looking at the possibility of freezing the approval of the Catalan Executive’s own budget. They are considering blocking the €29.31 billion budget because it will allocate €5 million (0.017% of the total spending) to a “citizen consultation”. The approval of such a budget is essential to meet the 1% deficit target for 2014. However, the PP fears this money could be used to organise the self-determination vote in 2014. The PP’s leader in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, has announced she was talking with the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, on blocking the budget’s approval. The CiU, running the Catalan Government, has stated it is “a mistake”.

Bank of Spain Governor: Catalonia’s independence would bring “bankruptcy”

November 26, 2013 02:52 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, replied that “nobody believes” in the “apocalyptic” message sent by the Governor of the Bank of Spain, who was appointed by the current Spanish Government in 2012. Mas asked Luís María Linde for “caution” and “to serve the whole of Spain and do not take sides”. Linde stated in Madrid that “independence is unviable”. He argued that the European Central Bank only funds Member States and thus Catalonia would be “obliged to issue its own currency” and have “its own banking supervisor”. On the same day, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, said that if Catalonia were independent it would have “to abandon the Euro” and this could even lead to putting the entire Eurozone at risk. However, in September the European Commission confirmed that an independent Catalonia could continue to use the Euro in different scenarios.

Spanish Government “regrets” the “confusion” about cancelling the €1.76 billion transfer

November 20, 2013 09:19 PM | ACN

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, “regretted” on Tuesday evening the “confusion” about having announced in October he was cancelling a €1.76 billion transfer to the Catalan Government. Without this scheduled payment, the Catalan Executive is having serious problems to fund the 1.58% deficit approved for 2013. “These things can happen” said Montoro. In late October – 10 weeks before the end of the year – the Spanish Minister announced that the Catalan Government would not receive the €1.76 billion requested from the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities (FLA) since this money would be used by the Service Provider Fund to pay for arrear invoices. A week ago, the Catalan Government confirmed Montoro would transfer the €1.76 billion.

The Spanish Government to transfer to Catalonia the €1.7 billion cancelled in October

November 14, 2013 09:45 PM | ACN

The Catalan Executive says it has the Spanish Government’s commitment to send the €1.76 billion that the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, announced in late October would not be transferred. This money corresponds to the loan to fund the Catalan Government’s deficit target increase from 0.7% to 1.58% in 2013 approved in July by the Spanish Executive. However, in late October – 10 weeks before the end of the year, Montoro said that this amount would be deducted from the fund to pay the Catalan Government’s service providers. This meant that Catalonia was missing €1.76 billion to fund public services and departments for the last part of the year. Negotiations during the last 4 weeks have modified Montoro’s October decision.

The Spanish Government’s investment in Catalonia to drop by 25% in 2014

September 30, 2013 09:34 PM | ACN

On Monday the Spanish Government presented its budget proposal for 2014. As every single year, it will only invest in Catalonia a much inferior budget share than Catalonia’s weight within Spain in GDP or population terms. In 2014, the Spanish Government is planning to spend just 9.6% of its total regional investment in Catalonia, far short of the Catalan GDP (18.9% of Spain’s total) and population (15.7%). In addition, compared to the budget forecast for 2013, the €944.42 million planned for 2014 represents a 25% annual drop, while investment throughout Spain will only be reduced by 7.2%.

The morning ceremonies of Catalonia’s National Day honour culture with the absence of the People’s Party

September 11, 2013 07:46 PM | ACN

11th September is Catalonia’s National Day and two main ceremonies traditionally take place in the morning. The first one is the flower offering at the Rafael Casanova monument, honouring the leader of Barcelona’s defence against the Bourbon invasion of 1714. The second one is an institutional ceremony near the Catalan Parliament honouring Catalan culture, language and identity, including: poetry, music and flamenco dancing brought by Andalusian immigrants. The People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – has not been participating in the flower offering for the last few years, but this year it also decided not to attend the institutional ceremony. Instead, the PP held its own get-together with party banners.

The Spanish Government imposes a 1.58% deficit target for Catalonia and €2.6 billion of further budget cuts

July 31, 2013 11:38 PM | ACN

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, accuses the Spanish Government of “asphyxiating” the Autonomous Communities. The 1.58% deficit target imposed to the Catalan Government represents €2.6 billion of further budget adjustment compared to last year’s budget, which ended with a 1.96% deficit. Mas-Colell denounced that the Spanish Executive is “keeping for itself the greatest share of the deficit pie”, while it is only responsible for 50% of Spain’s public spending. The Spanish Government is setting itself a deficit target of 5.2% for 2013 and most of the flexibility allowed by the European Union, which authorised a 6.5% deficit for Spain’s total public sector. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Communities have a deficit target 4 times stricter, although they manage 36% of Spain’s total public spending as well as basic services such as healthcare and education.