President Puigdemont during the presentation of the new Government Plan
President Puigdemont during the presentation of the new Government Plan
On Tuesday, the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, presented the new Government Plan which comprises 750 specific measures that are to be launched throughout the current legislature together with 45 laws which, according to Puigdemont, will put Catalonia “at the gates” of a new state.
In a press conference after Tuesday’s Executive Council meeting at the Palau de la Generalitat, President Puigdemont announced over 70 objectives for the current term in office which are to be achieved through 20 areas of action and fall under three core areas. The first pillar of the Government Plan, ‘A fairer country’, aims to “guarantee the welfare state” through “internal measures” but also defend it “from external threats”. The second and third pillars, ‘A country with better and more jobs’ and ‘A country of good practices’, respectively, intend to promote economic recovery and improve the administration’s efficiency and transparency:
A fairer country: a new welfare state for everyone
The government’s plan to guarantee the welfare state aims to prioritize “social measures despite the economic and financial circumstances and the cuts announced by the Spanish government”, affirmed Puigdemont. “We will guarantee the welfare state with internal measures” but also defend it “from external threats”, he explained in reference to the recent suspension of the Law on Energy Poverty by Spain’s Constitutional Court. In this regard, the President warned that by “punishing the Government, [the State] is affecting the most vulnerable people in our society” and in this respect, Catalonia’s political process “has much more to do with the people than with its financial resources, as many have insisted”.
Puigdemont also referred to the Government’s commitment in dealing with the refugee crisis. “We want to be part of the solution and we call the Spanish government to be on our side”, he said. “We are a part of Europe and as an active participant Catalonia wants to contribute to the solution”.
A country with more and better jobs: an economy at the service of the people
To reverse the effects of the recent austerity measures, despite the “positive signs” regarding Catalonia’s economic recovery, the President announced his intention to “create more and better jobs, especially among youths”, “promote industrial strategy in Catalonia and continue attracting foreign investment”. Additionally, in highlighting the positive FDI figures registered in 2015, the President affirmed that the internationalisation of the Catalan economy “is essential if we are to fully recover from the economic crisis, become more competitive and create better jobs”.
Puigdemont also emphasised the need to set up Catalonia’s own Tax Agency to be “on the side” of the tax-payers rather than “against them”. This would be “key” in order to start building a new state and step up the fight against tax fraud.
In this section, Carles Puigdemont also stressed the need to launch essential infrastructures such as the Mediterranean Railway Corridor and RENFE’s short-distance services. “We don’t want to continually complain to the Spanish government, instead we want the capacity to manage it for ourselves”, he stated. “Hindering the transfer of powers in these matters doesn’t hinder Catalonia’s political process but its people”.
A country of best practices: citizenry and democratic regeneration
In this final area, the government aims to improve the administration’s efficiency and transparency by creating of an “ethical code for public servants”, “launching a transparency law” and promoting an “ambitious law for local governments which would be at the height of the country”.
Furthermore, Carles Puigdemont also referred to Catalonia’s external action and insisted on the Government’s willingness to “enhance the network of Government delegations” and approve Catalonia’s Law on Foreign Action.