The box of the territorial debate has been opened and depending on who looks inside, they see that what comes out of it can be a danger or an opportunity for the Community of Valencia. The key that breaks the lock is the negotiation for an investiture in Pedro Sánchez. The need for the votes of the Catalan and Basque nationalists acts as a doorknob and there are many issues affecting the Valencian Community that may cross the threshold, with the financing reform as the main desire. However there are differences in this is beneficial or harmful, from the possibility of dissolution to the possibility of progress towards a federal model for Spain.
The speakers know firsthand the needs of the autonomous territory. They lead the Generalitat. Their time in Palau allows them to have a broad focus and talk about the relevance of the Community of Valencia to the rest of Spain, the territorial debate that is faced, and the needs, risks, and opportunities that this open lock reaches the lands of Valencia.
Although the institutional past does not prevent it John Lerma, Alberto Fabra and Ximo Puig align with the positions of their parties at the state level. “Opportunity” both for Lerma and Puig, who added that if this debate opens “not only for some but for all”, while for Fabra it is a “risk” and warns that the Valencian Community will emerge weak. But step by step.
The first mention of all this is about regional financing. “There are issues of competence that can be had, like the Valencian civil law, but the problem of the Valencian Community is not competence, that of the Statute is broad, the problem is that there are enough resources to deal with everything,” explained Lerma, who president of the Generalitat between 1983 and 1995. There are nuances, and other issues are added, but the consensus is to consider the distribution system the main problem.
“There are many who do not accept”
For the leader who led the Palau de la Generalitat for the longest time, the legislature that opened in Spain “is a great opportunity” to change this model. He does not see the confidence of Catalan nationalists as a problem, but it can be a favorable point of pressure, and he recalls that in 1996, José María Aznar agreed to hand over up to 30% of the administration of personal income tax to the autonomies due to pressure from CiU. “There seems to be good in PP.”
However, Lerma warned that the difficulty in reaching a financial agreement is not with the independent Catalans, but with the PP. “The PP always acts as an opposition, it has never addressed the territorial problem,” he explained while explaining that this act of opposition was done not only by Congress but by the autonomous authorities. “There are many who do not want to change the system, but we have to take advantage of the fact that the debate is opening because when these votes are necessary the changes are made,” he said.
“From what we have seen in Congress, the Catalans will try to dissolve us in that entelechy that is the Catalan Countries,” he began. Alberto Fabra, president of the Generalitat between 2011 and 2015. Breaking the lock is not, as he points out, beneficial for the Valencian Community given by the members that make up the Congress. “It is worrying that there are 10 million Catalan speakers mentioned, that we are included in a space that we do not want,” complained Fabra.
Discussions of the language drifted into financing, where it also did not place high hopes. “It should be the legislature of equal finance and investment, but it is worried because others set the course for the Government,” he said. “It is difficult to solve it fairly in the current balance,” he added. The problem, he admits, is that “money is what it is” and, if some ask for more, “they have to take it from others.” Here the need to count the votes of the ERC and Junts is considered detrimental to the Valencian Community.
Fabra demanded that the focus be placed on the inequality that exists when it comes to the coverage of basic services in each autonomy and how it affects the Community of Valencia. However, the current congressional deputy warned of the “tension” currently surrounding the territorial debate and the “influence of pro-independence parties” in decision-making “will damage other territories.” “The ERC and Junts will not help create the necessary climate to address the territorial debate and make it beneficial for the Valencian Community,” he added.
Not even in another discussion open to the frankness of the investiture negotiations to achieve a favorable vote of the Catalan parties Fabra appeared optimistic: debt forgiveness. The popular leader sees it as “difficult”, and although he affirms that it is necessary to talk about the illegitimate debt caused by underfinancing, he doubts that this is the case affecting Catalonia. “Here the debt is due to the need to cover the lack of resources, not to open embassies and organize referendums,” he said.
Federalization of Spain
He seemed more optimistic than Ximo Puig, president of the Generalitat until last July, who not only talked about the “opportunity” to reform the financing or solve the debt forgiveness, but also about moving to a “federal model.” It will include changes such as guaranteeing an economic distribution model that guarantees “adequacy” to meet public services and that is “fair.” “The autonomies of the PP will also benefit,” he explained, with Murcia, Andalusia and the Valencian Community itself as an example, although he pointed to Madrid, Galicia and Cantabria as some that may be more reluctant to open this item.
In this federalization, a change was added to the Senate so that it is a chamber of real representation of the territory, so that the Conference of Presidents and the various conferences of the sector are united and become instruments of management and decision-making or participation of the autonomies. of the Tax Agency and a tax reform that reorganizes taxes and their distribution. Also the decentralization through the deconcentration of the headquarters of the State institutions to other geographical points of Spain beyond Madrid, something that has already started in the last legislature.
It was the “Spain of Spains” that became a common reference in his speeches. “The vocation of the territorial debate is not only to resolve the open wounds of Catalonia, it is to achieve a plural Spain, which understands diversity and allows greater unity and justice,” explained Puig. In fact, to reach this new stage of the territory it is not necessary to open a reform of the Constitution, which is always more difficult. “The federalization of Spain is the consolidation of autonomies, it develops what is stated in the Constitution,” said the leader of the socialists of Valencia pointing out that it should be the legislature where the territorial lock is opened and there is speech. in a new model.