Catalan Finance Minister rejects extra budget cut as Spain “strangles” Catalonia’s finances

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Catalan Government’s Finance Minister Andreu Mas-Colell yesterday said he will not be implementing an extra 3.3 billion euro budget cut in 2015 as it could “severely deteriorate” public services:

Catalan News Agency | Catalan Finance Minister rejects €3.3 billion budget cut imposed by Spanish Government in 2015 After the Catalan Government dropped ministerial spending by an average of 20.3% with continuous budget cuts since 2010, public spending reduction has reached its “limit”, argued Mas-Colell. The Catalan Government has exclusive control over public healthcare, education and social policies, while most of its revenue depends on transfers from the Spanish Executive, which collects the taxes paid by Catalan citizens and therefore controls the flow of money. Once again, Mas-Colell accused the Spanish Government of “strangling” Catalonia’s finances with a series of measures unilaterally adopted in the last few years that recentralise power and force the Catalan Government to increase spending while its revenue is not higher. Furthermore, the Spanish Government is not honouring the legal obligation to pay pending debts and to modify Catalonia’s funding scheme.

According to Mas-Colell, the Spanish Government’s decisions rest on a logic of introducing progressive cuts into the financial possibilities of Spain’s autonomous communities:

El País | Mas-Colell warns of “fiscal collapse” if no deal with the Treasury is reached [Spanish] “They [the Spanish Government] are treating Valencia [another partially autonomous Catalan-speaking territory] as badly [as they treat Catalonia]”, he argued. In his opinion, the PP Government is trying to “cut back” the autonomous communities system. To that end, for example, it deprives them of 10 billion euros compared with 2013, while the central government has 6 billion euros more.