This morning, the Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell, inaugurated the 2014 Economists Conference (Jornada dels Economistes 2014) in Barcelona, where he made a brief overview of the economic situation in Europe because “the most important thing in foreseeing Catalonia’s future is its surroundings”. “We are an open economy which depends on the world and on Europe” declared the Minister.
Minister Mas-Colell, believes that Europe will not fall into a third recession: “Even though the Euro is not in danger, a stagnant economy is still a real possibility”. In this sense, Mas-Colell advised the president of the Europen Central Bank, Mario Draghi “to apply stimulus policies in order to prevent this”.
Mas-Colell also made reference to the situation in other European countries. Regarding Germany, the Minister stated that it will not carry out more expansive policies “unless it enters a serious recession”, “which is something I would not wish to happen”. On the subject of France and Italy, Mas-Colell affirmed that they should be able to achieve a certain degree of budgetary flexibility: “We should try to avoid any moralist reflections, based on the fact that we have done our homework and, so far, others have not. France is our second market, and the more it grows, the better that is for us”.
For Mas-Colell, if Spain, like France and Italy, could achieve a degree of budget flexibility, it would be “outrageous if, once again, it fails to reach the Autonomous Communities. In fact, the deficit that was assigned to the Autonomous Communities for next year, is a sixth of the total sum, however our total expenditure is actually a third".
The head of the Catalan economy declared that “if the European Investment Bank considers itself an instrument to come out of the crisis, its investments should not be counted as deficit”.
The Economy and Progress
Despite admonitions by Minister Mas-Colell on the precarious situation in which the Catalan and Spanish economies still find themselves in, the head of Catalonia’s finances observed no negative effect inferred on the economy by the Catalan sovereignty process. In this regard, Mas-Colell noted that during the first semester of the year, foreign investment “in both, Catalonia and Spain” decreased. “When a multinational company has to decide whether to invest in its facilities in Catalonia, it is deciding between its investment in Catalonia and, for example, its investment in the Czech Republic. If Catalonia loses, so does Spain”, added Mas-Colell.
Speaking to the press, the Minister said that the Catalan Government’s Budget for the coming year will be “used to organize and envisage the revenue that should correspond to us, but this depends on the political will of the central Government”. Mas-Colell highlighted that the Catalan Government cannot cut expenditure anymore and it wants to recover the double-pay and the full dedication of its temporary workers.
Regarding the negotiations to approve the Budget, the Minister expressed his optimism: “As the person responsible for the Budget, I cannot contemplate a different perspective other than its approval. We do what we have to do, which is to present it [the Budget]” affirmed the Minister.