local governments

Catalonia to call self-determination vote on Saturday and Madrid to appeal it on Monday

September 26, 2014 09:49 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, will finally sign the decree calling the 9th of November's self-determination vote on Saturday, a week after the Catalan Parliament approved the Law on Consultation Votes with 80% support. Mas will sign the decree surrounded by most of the leaders from the parties supporting November's vote and after having received the explicit support from 92% of Catalonia's municipalities. Besides, the Spanish Government will hold an exceptional Cabinet meeting on Monday (instead of waiting until Friday) to approve the two appeals against the new Catalan law and decree. The appeals will be filed to the Constitutional Court, whose plenary has then to decide whether it accepts them or not. If the Court accepts the appeals, the law and the decree will be temporarily suspended. The next Court's plenary is on the 7th of October, but an extraordinary session could be organised this week.

Catalan President is waiting to call independence vote to weaken Spanish Government's veto strategy

September 23, 2014 08:55 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, is using his legal prerogatives to control the political tempo regarding the call of the 9th of November's self-determination consultation vote and therefore the Spanish Government's immediate appeal against it. As if it were a chess play, Mas' tactic seems to follow a strategy based on gathering as much institutional support as possible throughout Catalonia and on disturbing the Spanish Government's already-prepared veto actions. After an 80% of the Catalan Parliament approved on Friday the Law on Consultation Votes (the legal tool to call the independence vote), everybody anticipated that Mas would enter it into force early this week and that he would immediately call the aforementioned vote. However, the Catalan President is using the legal procedures to make the calendar suit his best interests.

Barcelona municipality posts a budget surplus of €140 million in 2013

March 20, 2014 08:03 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s City Council has achieved a cumulative budget surplus of €23.5 million for the last few years, after posting a budget surplus of €139.3 million in 2013. In a press conference on Wednesday, the Deputy Mayor for Economy, Business and Employment, Sònia Recasens also announced that the city had eventually executed 97.55%, (€2.25 billion) of its planned expenditure. Such a figure is higher than the average execution ratio for 2009-2013. The execution ratio for investments amounts to 94% (€356 million) and is also significantly higher than in 2009-2013. In addition, debt levels represent 46.7% of the annual ordinary revenue. Furthermore, the City Council paid its providers in 29.2 days on average. Thanks to these figures, the City Council will make available 1,000 new social housing units in Barcelona.

Catalonia to appeal against 4 Spanish Government’s laws for being “a Constitutional reform in disguise”

March 5, 2014 09:19 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government announced it will take to the Constitutional Court four bills drafted by the Spanish Executive because they neglect Catalonia’s self-government capacities and exclusive powers. The 4 affected bills are the Education Reform, the Market Unity Law, the Local Governments Law and the Environment Evaluation Law. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, said that those reforms go against the Constitution and aim to reform it “through the back door”. “It is a reform without the needed transparency, without holding an open debate”, he said. “They are stripping away our political capacity to decide”, Homs emphasised. The Spanish Government justified the recentralisation of powers as a way to improve efficiency in times of economic crisis and austerity. However, several experts have already warned that it is not proven that efficiency will improve if powers are centralised.

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.