President Puigdemont
President Puigdemont during his intervention in Parliament
In today’s debate on the Government of Catalonia’s general political orientation, the President announced a call for 7,000 public jobs to be included in the 2017 budget plan, which would incorporate “2,500 doctors and nurses, 2,000 teachers, 500 Mossos d’Esquadra, 150 fire-fighters and 300 tax agency personnel” to the Catalan public administration.
According to the President, these 7,000 positions will be for “essential services that will make up the resources we need in the present and future Administration”.
Carles Puigdemont began his speech appealing to the chamber’s parliamentary groups, asking them “to give agreement an opportunity” and “make legitimate partisan interests compatible with the public interest”.
We should have our eyes set on the issues that we know we agree on. Let us not add more difficulties than the ones we already have and seek understanding before confrontation”, the President stated. “Do not be ashamed about our concurrences, even if they happen to be with [parliamentary] groups that think very differently on larger issues”, he added.
During his intervention, the President made reference to the ground-breaking Law on Climate Change, which was the first legislative action approved by the current Government. “Global problems are also the problems of Catalonia”, Puigdemont affirmed, “for this reason we need our own voice; this is not only a task for the Government, it is a nation-wide challenge”, he affirmed.
The Head of the Executive structured the fundamental elements of the Government’s political orientation in 10 central themes:
1.     An energy efficient and sustainable country
2.     A connected country
3.     A new model for the productive economy
4.     High quality employment for everyone
5.     A country where everyone can develop their personal project
6.     A welfare state that guarantees equal opportunities
7.     A social protection network that dignifies individuals
8.     Restoring confidence in the institutions that ensure the active engagement of citizens
9.     A safe and fair country for everyone, regardless of who you are or where you come from
10.  A Catalonia that is active and present around the world
Social Policies and the Budget
With regard to social policy, Carles Puigdemont affirmed that the historical challenges derived from the permanent fiscal deficit “must be solved once and for all”. “Our own state is the best way to develop the social policies that our citizens deserve […] but until we get to this point, we will continue to place our best efforts to plan budgets which will include a larger percentage to social spending”, he explained.
In this regard, the President recalled that in the previous budget “this percentage came to 73.6%, the highest on record and included an emergency plan aimed entirely at improving the welfare state". The President noted that these measures would, once again, be included in the 2017 budget to enable the plan’s implementation and the measures adopted in the Plenary Session on Poverty.
During the President’s turn to answer interventions from the various parliamentary groups, Puigdemont affirmed that "the main problem this country has is called ‘fiscal plundering’ and here is where we must place our efforts in the coming months".
On the issue of pensions, the Catalan president affirmed that it is “the Spanish state that threatens Catalan pensions". “The pensions are already under threat”, expressed Puigdemont, “Catalonia’s independence is not what threatens them but it is the swearing in of Mr Rajoy as Prime Minister -actively or passively, by abstaining or by voting discipline­­ ­­- what puts them in peril”, he added.