The Executive Council has approved the decree law that creates the Complementary Fund of Risks of the Catalan government to face the legal obligations that are claimed to public workers in a judicial or administrative process, for actions that they have carried out developing their functions, and that are not covered by the insurance policies of civil, patrimonial and accounting responsibility that the Catalan government has already subscribed for this purpose. This was announced by the Government spokesperson, Patricia Plaja, during the appearance after the weekly meeting of the Executive, where today has been assisted by the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Jaume Giró, the two departments driving the initiative. Plaja specified that it will have an initial contribution of 10 million Euros, which will be updated annually according to the liquidations that are carried out.
The Minister of the Presidency explained that this fund aims to cover those "elements of defenselessness" that currently affect public servants and senior officials and that are not covered by the insurance of the Catalan Government. Therefore, it is a matter of "covering this lack that the institution's own insurers" had. A "protection" of the workers is proposed in the sense that "they have fundamental rights of expression and ideological freedom but also of the free exercise of their competences by virtue of the tasks they carry out". "It is called democracy", she reiterated.
Vilagrà specified that this is not a decree law made "ad hoc, for specific people, but that any public servant who is defenseless because he is not covered by the Catalan government can take advantage of it". She recalled that the "repression is very hard at all levels and must activate all measures that are appropriate to respond".
The head of the Presidency stressed that the fund responds to the principle of indemnity, which obliges administrations to defend public workers until there is a final judgment, and that it is a principle contained in the Basic Statute of the Public Employee and protected by the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. It is a "very robust" decree in which the Catalan Government "never loses a single euro, therefore at no time can there be any misappropriation of funds", she concluded.
For his part, Councilor Giró detailed the three characteristics that the Government has sought in this fund: "that it should be a legally well-armed formula"; that it should have "guarantees", both for the people affected today by the Spanish Court of Auditors and for other people, "because we are watching to protect the presumption of innocence of any public worker"; and finally, that it should be "effective and fulfill the objectives for which it has been taken".
Firstly, that there is no final judicial decision declaring the actions carried out by the public servants to be unlawful; secondly, that the risk is not covered by any insurance policy taken out by the Catalan government; and lastly, that the government has not initiated any action against the person concerned or any disciplinary or sanctioning proceedings. Likewise, the counselor has detailed that the coverage of the fund will be maintained as long as there is no final sentence and all the judicial and jurisdictional, state and international means of challenge have not been exhausted.
Giró explained that until the management entity of this fund is constituted, its management will be provisionally assumed by the Catalan Institute of Finance. He has made it clear that "there is no patrimonial displacement" and that the Catalan Government "will not cease to have the ownership of the money until the last moment". He also emphasized that the fund will be channeled through a financial entity regulated by the Bank of Spain. It is this entity that will issue the guarantee, not the Catalan Government.
Measures to curb the pandemic
During the appearance, Plaja advanced that the Government is finalizing a resolution with new measures in view of the current epidemiological situation, which she described as "extremely complicated" with a number of contagions that is growing at an exponential rate "much higher than what we can afford". In this sense, the resolution states that nightclubs and nightlife venues may only enable areas that are completely outdoors and that activities may end no later than 3 am. In addition, for those activities where more than 500 people gather, it will be mandatory to have passed an antigen test, to have a negative PCR with a validity of 12 hours before or to certify that the vaccination schedule is complete. These measures are expected to come into force before this weekend.
The spokesperson stressed that there are measures that the Executive would like to take but can not because it is not competent authority, such as the use of the mask, which "should again be a mandatory element in Catalonia" but it is the Spanish government who can modify its use. Thus, she has asked to continue to use the mask in the street and whenever someone is near people who are not in the bubble group. Although she assured that the rate of vaccination is very high with almost 127,000 vaccinations per day, "the pandemic is showing a virulence that we did not know yet".
Government agenda for the coming days
Finally, the spokesperson detailed the Government's agenda for the next few days. Tomorrow Wednesday and Friday, at the request of the President of the Catalan Government, Pere Aragonés, the plenary session of Parliament will be held to explain the "de-judicialization of the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain". Next week, Monday and Tuesday, the president will meet with the entities Òmnium Cultural and ANC and, on Tuesday at 4 pm, will receive the head of government of Andorra, Xavier Espot.