Key week for the budgets of the Generalitat that will decide the continuity of the Catalan legislature

The Government of the Generalitat is experiencing a crucial week for its future in the middle of the Christmas holidays. And it is that despite the will of Pere Aragones having already closed the budget chapter, the president has seen how the Christmas passed – and even the New Year arrived – without having the insured accounts.

Despite signing an agreement with In Comú Podem weeks ago, he PSC and Junts remain on the path of negotiation but do not take their support for the accounts for granted. One of the two is essential for the Government of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya put forward its first budgets after the departure of Junts from the Executive.

Everything points to an acceleration in the coming days to close the agreement, probably with the Socialists, but if it does not take place and if the budgets are frustrated, the early electoral call could be a reality in a 2023 full of ballot boxes with the municipal, regional and General in the calendar.

Parliament is enabled for next week

At the moment, everything is ready so that the Generalitat’s budgets can be processed and approved in this month of January, coming into force with a month’s delay during which the 2022 accounts will remain extended. If this calendar is fulfilled, the delay does not like the Department of Economy and Hisenda who leads Natalia More, but it is considered technically irrelevant. To make it possible, next week has been enabled in the parliament since usually the activity does not restart until the second half of January.

The idea is that if an agreement is reached throughout the week, the budgets can be approved by the Executive Council at the meeting on Tuesday, the 10th, at the latest. Although depending on how the negotiations go, an extraordinary Executive Council is not ruled out to win even one day. In any case, this would mean the immediate transfer of the accounts to Parliament with the traditional photograph of Minister Mas with her partner from Esquerra, Alba Vergés, who exercises the functions of acting president of Parliament after the suspension of Laura Borràs, from Together.

From there, all the pertinent sectoral commissions will be activated where each minister and minister will present the numbers of their departments. A formality that usually lasts a week and that gives way to fifteen days of processing to reach, where appropriate, the approval of the budgets by the plenary. All of this is ready, but the most important thing is missing: an agreement with a parliamentary majority that is resisting and has not yet arrived.

Key week in trading

Thus, a key week begins in the negotiations. The ERC Government has
already to his credit the agreement with En Comú Podem. has also reached some
punctual agreement with Junts, with an investment of 80 million for the promotion of the Catalan language and rapprochement on other issues. But the key negotiation remains with the PSC, since despite the fact that the Republicans publicly maintain their objective of reaching an agreement with the two main opposition parties, the tensions with the juntas due to the rupture of the Government make the agreement difficult. definitive. Thus, the week is expected to be a ‘marathon’ in meetings and contacts between Republicans and Socialists.

The first, this morning with two delegations led by the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagra, and that of Economy, Natalia Mas on behalf of the Government; and the spokesperson for Grup Socialistes i Units per Avançar, Alicia Romeroby the socialists. This Wednesday and Thursday there will be two other meetings that are expected to be decisive, but it is not ruled out that other meetings will have to be held even during the long weekend. Kings. An intense week of negotiation that comes after 14 long sectoral and general meetings between the Government of Aragonès and the PSC that have given birth to the proposal document recently presented by the Socialists.

From the direction of the PSC they defend that their document is feasible, flexible
and that they are willing to sign right away. “We have written it with the will to reach an agreement, we do not ask for anything from the other world,” they say. But the Socialists warn that it includes aspects that cannot be waived for the PSC and demand that Aragonès, as the person in charge of the budgets, seek to fit his demands.

“It is the Government who knows the details of the numbers and can and should fit our proposals that are acceptable and, most importantly, good for Catalonia“says Alicia Romero. The proposal for socialist taxation that Romero considers “fiscal prudence”, but which is far from what has already been agreed by the Government with En Comú Podem, should also find a place in this lace. The socialist leader recalls that the PSC is negotiating with the Government and not with the commons and has questioned the ERC strategy of first reaching an agreement with a minority partner.

90% agree

The Government assures that it has responded to almost 90% of the socialist requests and that with this there should be enough for the agreement. But the inalienable aspects that the socialists wield become red lines for the Republicans. Among them, the development of the new theme park hard rock attached to Port Aventura in the regions of Tarragona, the extension of the airport of Barcelona-El Prat affecting natural environments Delta del Llobregatthe new ring road of the metropolitan area B-40 known as Fourth Beltor the elimination of the Pilot Plan for the development of the Universal Basic Income (RBU).

Infrastructures that Esquerra views with suspicion -at least in the form proposed by the PSC- and that it wants to leave out of the negotiation, alleging that they are extra-budgetary issues, since with the exception of the UBI, no items are included for their realization and some are even of state execution. In the Government and in Esquerra they do not want to hear about budgetary failure and they are convinced that the Socialists play with the time of the negotiation to force issues but that in the end there will be an agreement. Which does not mean that the ghost of the consequences of not approving the accounts is not present.

Aragonès has set a course towards the exhaustion of the legislature in 2025, but sources in the Esquerra leadership acknowledge that, despite having ‘flirted’ with a budget extension, the failure of the budgets could lead to early elections. In the first place because it would be indicative of total solitude to legislate -with the exception of the eight deputies of En Comú Podem- of the 33 seats of Esquerra, far from the 68 of the absolute majority. But also because the no of the budgets of groups such as the PSC or Junts could be electoral food for an Aragonès who has two important budget photos that require approval: with unions and employers or with third sector entities, just to give a few examples.

However, the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, was optimistic after this morning’s meeting with the Socialists and assured that 147 of the PSC proposals have been accepted, 87%, which represent an investment of 5,300 million euros . The Government considers that some points that have not been accepted are budgetary unaffordable because they would mean an additional cost of 5,000 million that the Generalitat does not have. On the thorny issues of the airport or the Hard Rock, Vilagrà assures that “they are extra-budgetary issues and now it is time to focus on economic agreements and investments in mobility and public services, health or education, among other issues.”

Vilagrà has also reminded Junts that the budgets “will drink from
very broad way” of those that the ex-minister of Economy
from Junts, Jaume Giró. And he has assured that they will also continue negotiating with the former partners. We are entering, then, the decisive ‘marathon’ week for the budgets of the Generalitat. We will have to wait a few days to see if, given the dates, the Magi from the Orient they arrive with agreement in their floats of gifts or with the coal of the fiasco.

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