cristóbal montoro

The Catalan and Spanish Governments confirm that no specific deficit target has been agreed on yet

May 13, 2013 11:43 PM | CNA

During the weekend, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, stated that the Catalan Government’s deficit for 2013 will not be above 2%. The Catalan Government has been asking for a 2.1% deficit target, corresponding to a third of the 6.3% that was announced by the Spanish Government as the figure allowed for Spain’s entire public sector. On Friday, several high-level meetings to discuss the issue were held in Barcelona between members of both executives. On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that in his meeting with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, they did not discuss specific figures. He also stated that no figure will be decided on until the European Union officially confirms Spain’s 6.3% total deficit target.

The Spanish and Catalan Governments hold several high-level bilateral meetings in Barcelona on the same day

May 11, 2013 12:08 AM | CNA

On the occasion of the kick-off of the 2013 Barcelona International Motor Show, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and 3 ministers (Finance, Economy and Industry) visited Barcelona on Friday. They held several meetings with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell. Mas and Rajoy talked for 20 minutes about Catalonia’s deficit target for 2013 and the budget for this year. Officially, they have not discussed the self-determination process. In addition, Mas also met with Luís De Guindos, Spain’s Minister for the Economy. Mas-Colell met with De Guindos and Cristóbal Montoro, the Spanish Finance Minister.

The Spanish Government raises the deficit target for the Autonomous Communities from 0.7% to 1.2% for 2013

April 27, 2013 01:06 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The deficit target for Spain’s entire public sector has also been raised from 4.5% to 6.3%. The Spanish Government has kept 81% of the deficit for itself while it is only responsible for 50% of Spain’s public spending. The Spanish Government has allowed itself a 5.1% deficit target, while the Autonomous Communities are only allowed a target of 1.2%. The regional governments fund the basic welfare state services and manage more than 35% of Spain’s total public spending. The Catalan Government welcomes the revision but considers it not to be enough. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, has been insisting that the Autonomous Communities should have at least a third of the total deficit. Therefore, with an overall target of 6.3%, the Catalan Executive should have a target at least 2.1%.

The Spanish Government will relax the Autonomous Communities’ deficit targets and is open to setting them on individual basis

March 21, 2013 11:41 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Spanish Finance Minister, Crístobal Montoro, confirmed that if Brussels relaxes Spain’s total deficit target for 2013, he will share this flexibility with the Autonomous Communities’ governments. A working group has been created to analyse the most convenient formula for this, including that of setting different deficit targets for each Autonomous Community. The Catalan Government celebrated the decision, since it has been asking for it for many months. In addition, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, stated that he will look for “a smooth relationship” with the Spanish Executive to negotiate the details. On Wednesday, Mas-Colell proposed the idea that deficit targets could be set according to debt levels. In the last few days, the Catalan Government has sent several messages in order to show a willingness to talk to Rajoy’s cabinet about the most important subjects on the table.

The Spanish Government admits that the report accusing the Catalan President of corruption is not official

March 12, 2013 10:15 PM | CNA

A few hours earlier, the Swiss bank Lombard Odier stated that the Catalan presidents Artur Mas and Jordi Pujol do not have any relationship with the company. The Spanish nationalist newspaper ‘El Mundo’ published a report 9 days before the Catalan elections, with the official stamp of the Spanish Police on it, accusing the incumbent President of the Catalan Government, and candidate for re-election from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, of having secret accounts in Switzerland. The fake report also incriminated Mas’ family, the former Catalan President Jordi Pujol and two of Pujol’s sons. The report completely altered the election campaign. Now, four months after the report was issued, the Catalan Government has demanded a public rectification since some Spanish Ministers and leading members of the People’s Party validated the report at the time.

Catalonia defends its exclusive power to manage local councils and notes that 90% of Catalan councillors do not earn a salary

February 15, 2013 11:13 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government and most of the political parties have criticised the Spanish Government’s project to reduce local powers. Furthermore, the Catalan Vice-President, Joana Ortega, emphasised the “unfair vision” of local governments given by the Spanish Finance Minister. Ortega underlined that in Catalonia, most of the town halls ended 2012 with a budget deficit of 0%, which is “not in line with the mismanagement image given” by the Spanish Government. Furthermore, while the Spanish Government is aiming to reduce the number of councillors earning a salary to only 18%, Ortega reminded them that in Catalonia only 10% are now earning a salary. Political parties in Catalonia criticised the Spanish Government for taking away power from the government level closest to the citizens.

Rajoy will not review the Autonomous Communities’ deficit targets if Brussels does not allow greater flexibility

January 30, 2013 09:34 PM | CNA

On Monday the Spanish Minister for the Economy, Luís de Guindos, stated that Spain might internally redistribute its total deficit target among the different government levels in order to give more breathing space to the Autonomous Communities, which have been taking on a large part of the budget adjustment. However, the following day, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, ruled out this possibility if Brussels does not give greater flexibility to Spain and increase its total deficit target for 2013. On Wednesday, after the contradictory messages, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, confirmed Montoro’s approach. In 2013, Spain has been given a total deficit target of 4.5%: 3.8% is for the Spanish Government (responsible for 50% of public spending) and 0.7% is for the Autonomous Communities (responsible for almost 40%).

Mas asks Spain to not put Catalonia’s self-determination “behind bars” when swearing office

December 24, 2012 08:49 PM | CNA

Artur Mas, leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), has sworn the oath as President of the Catalan Government again, two years after he did it for the first time. After swearing office, Mas delivered a long speech in which he asked Spain to not put the will of Catalans to freely decide on their own future “behind bars”. He also compared Spain and Catalonia’s relations with “two boats” following a “collision course”. Mas stated that he is ready “to change direction” because otherwise “Catalonia will be adrift, and when you are adrift, you are the most likely to crash against the rocks”. The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, was present at the ceremony as the highest representative of the Spanish Government.

Mas: “We had a clear electoral mandate and the message was we had to work together”

December 19, 2012 11:49 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Artur Mas, the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), and Oriol Junqueras, President of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), have signed the parliamentary stability agreement, which includes the call for a self-determination vote by citizens and the modification of taxation in order to increase revenue. Mas will be re-elected President of the Catalan Government and the ERC will not sit in the Executive but will offer parliamentary support on the agreed issues. The CiU and the ERC are asking for other parties to add their support to the self-determination vote. In addition, they have stated that the taxes created with the sole aim of collecting more money will be temporary. Despite the electoral mandate, the Spanish Government totally opposes the referendum and is threatening the Catalan Executive with economic asphyxia.

The Catalan Government creates a tax on bank deposits with expectation of earning €500 million per year

December 18, 2012 10:23 PM | CNA

With this decision, the Catalan Government wants “to safeguard” its power to adopt this type of tax or the equivalent revenue, after the Spanish Government announced the creation of its own tax while keeping it at 0% to prevent the Autonomous Communities from approving it. The Constitutional Court has already backed the taxes on bank deposits created by Extremadura, Andalucía and Canarias. Catalonia’s tax will not affect clients but only the banks. It will affect all banks operating in Catalonia, independent of where they are based. In addition, it will have retroactive effects as from the 30th of November. The Spanish Finance Minister warned that the Spanish Government will fully oppose it.

The Catalan Government accuses the Spanish Executive of invading competences and duplicating rules and services

October 24, 2012 01:15 AM | CNA

The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, presented a report that analyses the normative and organisation duplicities at Spanish and Catalan level. The study, compiled by a Catalan Government's institute, concludes that the Spanish Government permanently invades Catalonia’s exclusive competences, both at normative and organisational levels. According to Homs, the Spanish Government’s attitude creates “contradictions” and “legal uncertainty”, which harms investments and the economy. Homs accused the Spanish Government of “keeping important administrative structures” despite having decentralised the competence, as is the case with tourism.

Once again the Spanish Government will not honour investment obligations in Catalonia next year

October 4, 2012 01:47 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

As in the past, Catalonia will not receive the investment percentage it is legally entitled to by the current legislation. Instead of getting 19% of the foreseen investment in infrastructures made throughout Spain, in the Spanish Government’s budget for 2013 Catalonia will only receive 11.9%. Furthermore, essential infrastructures for Catalonia’s economy and Spain’s and Europe’s competitiveness are under-budgeted while the Spanish Government finds the money to build non-priority infrastructures, such as high-speed railways in Galicia. On top of this, only 35% of the public work initially foreseen in Catalonia by the Spanish budget for 2011 was executed, while in Madrid the work executed came to 111%. Besides, the Spanish Government has reduced its funds to Catalan cultural centres and festivals by 70% over two years.

The Catalan Government had a 0.59% deficit in the first half of the year, below the Autonomous Communities’ 0.77% average

September 14, 2012 03:20 PM | CNA

By the end of the year, Catalonia must meet a 1.5% deficit target. According to the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, the Autonomous Community governments are heading “in the right direction” to honour the deficit objective for 2012. The Catalan Government had a 0.38% deficit at the end of July, according to its own sources. This represents a €767 million deficit, while at the end of July 2011 it had a 2.09 billion deficit, which represents a 63% deficit reduction.

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 refuses to attend the Autonomous Communities council in protest of decisions made beforehand

August 1, 2012 12:02 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Andalusia quits the meeting after one hour. For the first time in democracy, the Catalan Finance Minister did not attend the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council (CPFF), where the Autonomous Community governments and the Spanish Executive discuss the regions’ financial situation and funding. Catalonia refused to attend the CPFF as decisions were taken beforehand by the People’s Party, which runs the Spanish Government and most of the Autonomies for which CPFF decisions are binding. In addition, the Catalan Finance Minister refused to attend the meeting due to Spanish Government’s unilateral decision to oblige the Autonomies to meet a stricter deficit target in 2013, passing from the planned 1.1% to 0.7%. He sent a letter asking for the same flexibility the European Union is giving to Spain.