public deficit

The Catalan Public TV & Radio Broadcaster’s budget drops from €348 million to €296 million - 17% less

March 20, 2013 09:46 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government’s grant will be reduced by 14% and revenue from advertising is expected to decrease by 10%. The budget reduction has been approved with loud protests from the workers, since it will mostly affect labour costs, which may plummet by 18%. Since 2010, the production and investment budget has dropped by 50%. The Catalan Public Television Broadcaster’s main station, TV3, has been clearly leading audience rankings in Catalonia for most of the years since its creation in 1983. The majority of the political parties and citizens in Catalonia support strong public television and radio stations. The idea of reducing the TV3 budget has been constantly presented by Spanish nationalists as the way to reduce Catalonia’s public deficit despite the €225 million public grant only representing 5% of the total budget adjustment to be accomplished in 2013.

The Catalan Finance Minister stated it is "impossible" to draft a budget with a deficit of 0.7%

March 11, 2013 11:11 PM | CNA

Andreu Mas-Colell, the Catalan Government’s Finance Minister, emphasised that a 0.7% deficit objective means implementing an additional budget adjustment of €4.4 billion. This amount represents around 15% of the Catalan Executive’s budget for last year, which had already been reduced over the previous two years. Furthermore, expected revenue will decrease by 1% despite increases in tax, debt interest will grow by €300 million and the amount of spread payments will also increase by €150 million. In such circumstances a €4.4 billion one-year adjustment would blow up public services in Catalonia. Therefore, Mas-Colell urged the Spanish Government to find an agreement, as otherwise no one wants PM Rajoy to act “as the viceroy of Catalonia”.

The Catalan Government had a 1.96% deficit in 2012, according to the Spanish Finance Ministry

February 28, 2013 10:04 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government has reduced its deficit by half over the last year, dropping from a 4.02% figure to a deficit of only 1.96%. However, despite the significant reduction, the figure is still above the 1.5% target unilaterally imposed by the Spanish Government. The Catalan Executive had been warning the Spanish Government that a 1.5% target was not realistic, as it did not relate to its spending responsibilities managing the basic Welfare State services. The Autonomous Communities had a total deficit of 1.73%. Spain as a whole ended 2012 with a 6.74% deficit, according to the Spanish Finance Ministry, over the 6.3% target imposed by Brussels. The Spanish Government posted a final deficit of 3.83%; Social Security – managed by the Spanish Government – had a 0.96% deficit and local governments a deficit of 0.2%. Barcelona City Council ended up with a budget surplus of €117 million.

The Catalan Government posts a 2% deficit for 2012, correcting the previous preliminary figure

February 21, 2013 10:36 PM | CNA

A month ago, the Catalan Government issued a preliminary deficit figure for last year of 2.3%. Now, the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, has corrected this and issued “a more precise figure, although not definitive yet”, which represents having undertaken an adjustment of €3.3 billion in a single year. The Catalan Government was supposed to meet a deficit target of 1.5% in 2012, a figure imposed by the Spanish Executive and considered too strict by Mas-Colell, since it is not proportional to the Catalan Executive’s share of public spending. For 2013, the Spanish Government is imposing an even stricter 0.7% deficit target. Mas-Colell has been repeating that it is “irrational” and needs to be changed.

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.

The Catalan Government plans to save €700 million by reducing civil servants’ salaries and not replacing vacancies

February 13, 2013 10:44 PM | CNA

The Catalan Executive has provided details of how it will adjust €4 billion of its 2013 budget in order to meet the deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government. Besides the 1 billion tax increase already announced, the Catalan Executive will have to implement further budget cuts. On Thursday it will present its austerity plan for 2013 to the unions, which will affect all public employees, in order to save €700 million. As last year, public employees will not receive 7% of their annual salary, corresponding to part of the summer and Christmas bonuses. According to the unions, 3,000 civil servant posts will remain empty and 10,000 substitution contracts will not be signed.

The Catalan Government asks the European Commission to guarantee the “fairer” distribution of deficit targets within Spain

January 31, 2013 09:58 PM | CNA

Andreu Mas-Colell, the Catalan Finance Minister, has sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn, to denounce the fact that the Spanish Government is proportionally imposing much stricter deficit target on the Autonomous Communities than that of the Spanish Executive, obliging them to implement a much larger and faster adjustment. In 2013, the Spanish Government allowed itself a 3.8% deficit target and imposed an objective of 0.7% on the Autonomous Communities. In Spain regional governments manage 36% of the total public spending, including the main public services such as healthcare, education and social affairs. The Catalan Government manages an even larger share, as it has more devolved powers.

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%).

Spanish Ministry for the Economy is willing to split deficit targets “equitably” among government levels

January 28, 2013 11:16 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government has been insisting on the need to internally redistribute deficit objectives in Spain, splitting them in a fairer way in order to better pair the responsibility of the management of basic services with their share of Spain’s total deficit target. Currently, the Spanish Government is keeping most of the deficit allowed by the European Union for itself, despite the fact that it only represents 50% of Spain’s total public spending, and it has forced regional and local governments to a Draconian budget adjustment. The European Parliament asked EU Member States to internally split deficit targets in a fair way for the benefit of the public services aimed at the citizens. Now, the Spanish Ministry for the Economy, Luis de Guindos, talked about distributing deficit targets “equitably”, in front of the European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn.

The Catalan Government would have had a deficit of 1.53% without the Spanish Government’s “disloyalty”

January 22, 2013 11:15 PM | CNA

If the Spanish Government had honoured its legal commitments and did not “centrifuge the deficit” towards the Autonomous Communities, the Catalan Government would have ended 2012 with a deficit of 1.53%, according to the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell. Instead, the Catalan Government had a deficit of 2.3%, 0.8 percentage points higher than the 1.5% deficit target. In any case, Catalonia’s deficit still decreased from 3.99% in 2011 to 2.3% last year, a reduction representing €3.48 billion, despite the recession, the consequent drop in tax collection and paying €1.72 billion in debt interest. In the last 2 years, the Catalan Government has reduced its expenditure by €4.2 billion, representing a daily reduction of €5.7 million.

The European Parliament asks for the deficit targets to be split “in a fair way” among government levels

January 16, 2013 11:35 PM | CNA

The Spanish Government is keeping most of the 4.5% public deficit allowed to the entire Spanish public sector in 2013 for itself, despite managing only 50% of the total public spending. It has allowed itself a 3.8% deficit while it has imposed a 0.7% target on the regional governments, which manage almost 40% of the public spending including basic services such as healthcare and education. The European Parliament report indirectly asks Madrid to relax the Autonomous Communities’ deficit targets according to the basic services they provide. In addition, it also states that regional governments should have greater fiscal capacities and depend less on central government transfers. Furthermore, the report asks “some member states” to eliminate the ministries whose powers have been devolved and to “reduce unnecessary defence expenditures”.

The Constitutional Court halts Catalonia’s drug prescription fee, bank deposit tax and judicial fees

January 16, 2013 12:09 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Constitutional Court has accepted the Spanish Government’s appeal against three measures adopted by the Catalan Executive to reduce its deficit, some of them negotiated last spring with the People’s Party (PP). The Spanish Government, which is run by the PP, now believes that these measures invade its own powers, “break market unity” and go against the principle of “equality for all Spaniards”. While accepting the appeal, the Court has temporarily suspended the application of the fees and taxes for a five-month period, which could be extended. The Catalan Government will appeal the decision as it believes the measures to be in line with the Constitution and within its jurisdiction. The drug prescription fee brought in €46 million in its first 6 months and it reduced public spending on medicines.

Catalonia’s pharmaceutical spending dropped by 23.9% in November compared to a year ago

December 27, 2012 11:49 PM | CNA

Catalonia is the second Autonomous Community, behind Galicia, where drug expenditure decreased the most in November. The austerity measures approved by the Catalan and the Spanish Governments to reduce drug expenditure are behind the significant drops in spending in Catalonia and the rest of Spain over the last few months. Pharmaceutical expenditure dropped by 13.11% over the first 11 months of 2012. Besides, the number of drug prescriptions issued in November in Catalonia decreased by 21.27% compared to a year ago.

Mas opens the door to other parties to join the government agreement on the investiture debate

December 21, 2012 12:05 AM | CNA

The leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and candidate for re-election to be President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that he will keep the offer he made to the other parties supporting the celebration of a self-determination vote to join the government open until the end of the legislative term. The offer is due to “the hardness of the situation and the magnitude of the challenges to be faced”. The challenges are “the worst part of the economic recession”, “the crisis of public finances” and “the country’s greatest political operation of the last three centuries”. He also called for a summit to agree on the “impassable limits” of the Welfare state, as further budget cuts will be required.

Catalan hospital staff members demonstrate to support public healthcare

December 12, 2012 11:33 PM | CNA

Staff members from Catalonia’s main hospitals, including Sant Pau, Vall d’Hebron, Clínic, Parc Taulí and Germans Trias i Pujol, carried out several protests on Wednesday. Some of these protests had already started a few days ago and might last a few days longer, such as spending the night in the hospital lobby. They are demonstrating to criticise the budget cuts affecting health centres and to defend the public healthcare system. Some of these hospitals are recognised at an international level for their top quality clinical and scientific research work.