President Torra decried that today, with the adoption of a royal decree extending the state of alarm in Spain, the Catalan government has been “erased” and is facing a serious attack on its self-rule through the suspension of its competencies over health. “They took away our power to decide and left us with the job of solving problems, [but] we didn’t give up. We pushed on […] and have managed to give people a sense of confidence.”
During the parliamentary control session, the president stressed the importance of putting Catalonia’s needs ahead of the interests of political parties, insisting that the executive’s top priority is “the fight against an epidemic that affects us all”.
The head of the executive said it was essential to “build a new, disruptive future” and that the goal was to achieve a “green future”, create a society that is “much more egalitarian and fairer”, and prevent job losses.
Appeal for broad consensuses
The president said that despite being stripped of its competencies the Catalan government has worked to defend the interests of Catalonia and its people and managed to instil “a sense of confidence” among the public. Torra also stressed that from the outset the focus has been on responding rapidly to help people, protect jobs and support companies. At the same time, he decried the central government’s failure to provide sufficient resources. “To overcome this crisis, we need to put the issue of sovereignty and resources on the table,” he said
The president once again called for the deficit ceiling that applies to Spain’s autonomous communities (currently 0.2%) to be raised. He also stressed the need for €4 billion (the estimated cost of dealing with the pandemic) to be transferred to Catalonia and called for municipalities to be able to make use of any surpluses they generate.
The president emphasised the need to build “broad consensuses” within Catalonia to overcome social, economic and educational challenges through cooperation with local authorities, political parties and civil society. In particular, he called on opposition groups to put Catalonia’s needs before partisanship.
President Torra lamented that the Spanish government “hasn’t tried, even once, to engage in dialogue with the Government of Catalonia” and called for an approach based on co-governance.