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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Budget agreement between ERC and PSC paves way for legislature and breaks bloc policy in Catalonia

White smoke for the budget of the Generalitat this year. Both the Catalan government and the Partit dels Socialistes (PSC) have announced an agreement on Wednesday to unblock the accounts after more than two months of negotiations. The agreement, which will be approved tomorrow Thursday in an extraordinary Council of Government and will begin its process in the Chamber, paves the way for Pere Aragonès, which has only 33 representatives out of 135 in its executive. The accounts, totaling 41,025 million and including 3,000 million in investments, give Republicans space for their political and management action without going through the test of parliamentary approval. The settlement consolidates the break with the block policy that had monopolized process Politics in Catalonia and which began with the agreement to renew the leadership of institutions such as the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation or the Language Law in this legislature.

The settlement of accounts aggregates the socialists’ demands on big infrastructure with nuance and euphemism. For example, there is talk of “modernizing” El Prat airport so that it “gains capacity” while respecting its “biodiversity”, though without specifying how. The document does not include the word “expansion”, as it refers to the aerodrome project demanded by the Socialists and which was rejected by the general, who, in fact, wanted to prevent the issue from slipping into the budget talks. Salvador Illa, first secretary of the Catalan Socialists, described the agreement as “relevant” for Catalonia to “act by inertia” and acknowledged that the PSC has given in to the issues in search of a consensus. The Minister of the Presidency, Laura Villagra, recalled that these are the most detailed accounts in 10 years and that she has not closed the door for Per Catalunya June to join.

The agreement paved the way for the end of Pedro Sánchez’s legislature by guaranteeing the support of the ERC, which transferred its threat to withdraw to the Socialists. With this he left the laws like housing or reform up in the air gag law, The agreed document, of more than 20 pages, includes the construction of a section of the B-40, an orbital route to the Catalan capital and the “transfer of ownership” of the railway infrastructure, which “can be separated from the network of the interest common”. Within Catalonia. To a greater or lesser extent, the three measures were inevitable conditions that led to the demands of the PSC, which claims to be the winner of the election with the same number of seats as the ERC; Together Pere wants to mark the political agenda of the Aragonese executive, even if he has made the Republican base ideologically uncomfortable.

President And Illa will sign the agreement today at 4:30 pm at the Palau de la Generalitat. Tomorrow, Thursday, at 10:00 an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council will be held, where the budget will be approved. In the afternoon, the official registration will be done in Parliament and according to Villagra, the process could be completed in early March. However, this calendar is subject to opposition groups asking the Statutory Guarantee Council for an opinion on the content of the accounts. After presentation to the Catalan Chamber, opposition groups have 10 days to decide whether to present the amendment in its entirety.

Surrounded by senior staffers from his parliamentary group, Illa presented the agreement by stressing that it was exclusively budgetary and not legislative, despite its importance. The leader of the opposition said, “We have to reflect on why it has cost so much to close it.” After offering to settle accounts on 22 August before the collapse of the government, the Aragonese gradually declined that support until the end of November, despite the fact that they had 135 out of 100 votes. There were only 33 delegates. The final crisis, before the agreement, occurred after the ERC requested the support of Pedro Sánchez. And it culminated last week when the PSC and the junta forced the executive to process the budget expansion’s decree-law as a bill. A day later, the ERC agreed to extend the B-40.

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The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragones, and the President of the Group Socialists and United for Progress, Salvador Illa, signed this afternoon at the Palace of the Generalitat an agreement approving the Generalitat’s budget for 2023. Barcelona, ​​February 1, 2023.Albert Garcia

modernization, not expansion

The final battle has been El Prat airport, which will be agreed upon within the framework of a technical commission between the central government and the Generalitat. The word “expansion” desired by the socialists does not appear; Just “modernization”. “We are talking of increasing the number of flights from 70 to 90 per hour. And it means what it means”, Illa said. But it is undoubtedly the biggest resignation of the PSC, which has acknowledged for the first time that it has a strength of 33 deputies. With the treaty, the Republicans “imposed by Ana succeed in fulfilling their wish to stop the development model (which was based on extending one of the tracks over the La Ricarda nature reserve), and the socialists get better. The agreement does not specify whether the wetlands could eventually be 100% protected and whether an expansion project would be started from scratch.

The agreement also included a commitment to invest 49 million euros over the next three years in irrigation projects and environmental protection in the Llobregat delta, which would help offset losses caused by both the airport’s expansion and its regression. Delta area near Barcelona. Villagra denied that this point could come into conflict with En Comme Podem, which opposes the expansion and assured that there would be “not one euro” in the accounts for that project or others who object to it. such as the Tourist and Congress Complex Hard Rock Cafe or the BCN Orbital Road, B-40. The leader of that formation, Jessica Albiak, has acknowledged that this red line has been respected. After congratulating himself on the agreement, he clarified, “If in any case progress is to be made on either of these issues in Parliament, they will find us in opposition.” For the Commons, the final result merely indicated that the PSC wanted to “extend” the talks.

The expansion of Barcelona Airport has become one of the focus of political debate in Catalonia in recent months. On the one hand, the central government, ANA, Catalan businessmen and parties such as the PSC, Juntes or PP have defended the expansion in order to guarantee that the facilities can accommodate the increase in traffic. In contrast, ecologists, the mayor of the region, the first mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, the Commons and the republican left have rejected this extension with more or less enthusiasm.

The ERC has never completely ruled out the option of expanding the airport, although it has denied that it implies the destruction of the protected area of ​​La Ricarda at the top of the runway, which now guarantees the airport 500 feet. Wants to be extended to meters. operation. Airplanes that travel longer distances and with more capacity. Faced with such discrepancies, Aina and the central government opted to park the project in September 2021, involving an investment of ₹1,700 million. In addition to expanding the runway, the intention was to build a new terminal. ERC spokeswoman, Marta Villalta, has stated that the extension of the runway is “neither necessary nor useful nor does it respond to the country’s airport model”.

In A File Image A Plane Takes Off At El Prat Airport While Another Lands Simultaneously.
In a file image a plane takes off at El Prat airport while another lands simultaneously.Albert Garcia

The Hard Rock, in Tarragona, was one of the points that made budget agreement between Republicans and Socialists difficult. At first Macros was reluctant to a model based on the casino that the American multinational wants to open in conjunction with Port Aventura. At this point, the document agrees that approval of the tourism development plan and the consortium that will run the complex will be completed during the first quarter of this year. Illa has confirmed that not a single euro of the budget will be allocated to that complex this year. To close the deal both sides required the support of the common people and set as a condition that no investment would be allocated.

“This is the clearest example of what we consider useful politics. With this agreement, Catalonia moves from inertia to action”, highlighted Illa, who pointed out that it would not be necessary to transfer budgets for all these projects, which they were demanding. “This is not a legislature agreement,” he insisted. The PSC has managed to increase the primary care item in the text by 24%, and has not succeeded in freezing delegations abroad or suspending the pilot scheme for universal income this year, which will be launched this Wednesday in Copenhagen. was presented. Director Meritxell Serret.

Albert Batet, the parliamentary leader of the junta, predicted the birth of a new tripartite between the PSC, the ERC and the Commons, which governs Catalonia, led by Pascal Maragall and José Montilla. “We are not going back to 2017, we are going back to 2004 and we are seeing a turn of the wheel in Catalan politics. Aragonès has left the pro-independence majority”, he assured a press conference. Despite the fact that the junta’s ranks had stated on several occasions that they would present a revision in its entirety if no agreement was reached with them, Batet assured that they would be allowed to ascertain the details of the accounts before making a decision. Will have to wait. , “Together is the only option for the tripartite”, he said.

Jaime Colboni, the PSC’s candidate for mayor of Barcelona, ​​celebrated the agreement between the government and the PSC and insisted that, thanks to his party’s contribution, the “historic trend of not investing” in the city is changing. Colboni, who left the government of Mayor Aida Colau last week to focus on the mayoral race, has commented to parliament that the budget includes investments relevant to the Catalan capital, such as the expansion and improvement of the metro network, an increase of 600 Mossos. d’Esquadra soldiers assigned to “expand” the city or, in his words, Barcelona airport.

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