President Torra has stressed the need to reactivate Catalan society and the economy in order to tackle the global crisis triggered by the Covid-19 health emergency. “We need to bail out people and companies,” Torra said, “but we also need to look ahead and chart a new, disruptive course that allows us to build rather than just rebuilding”. The president stressed the goal of creating a nation that is “green, just, prosperous and talent-driven”.
The president was speaking within the framework of an online symposium organised by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce to reflect on how the current crisis can be turned into an opportunity for transformation. Over the two-day event, representatives of sectors affected by the economic crisis will discuss a range of issues, including the future of industry, culture, commerce, the restaurant industry, self-employment, the challenge of digital transformation, local consumption and international markets.
President Torra said that since the outset of the health crisis the actions taken by the Catalan government have been aimed at avoiding the closure “of a single company”, citing initiatives that include an emergency employment plan that will provide almost €60m in support for 1,500 companies and 4,300 workers.
The head of the government also expressed his satisfaction at the recent approval of the 2020 budget, which will allow the executive to allocate more resources to fighting the pandemic and dealing with its consequences.
The president said: “If Catalonia were a state, we would have been able to do more. The response to the pandemic would have been different: swifter and adapted to the evolving reality.”
Torra said the current crisis has again raised the issue of sovereignty and resources. “The €16bn that the central government will transfer to all of Spain’s autonomous communities is equivalent to the annual gap between what Catalonia pays in taxes to the state and what it receives back in spending.”