The President during his speech. Author: Rubén Moreno
The President during his speech. Author: Rubén Moreno
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The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, has announced that he will propose "an Agreement of Transparency to the State, which identifies when and how Catalonia can once again exercise the right to decide, as Canada and Quebec have done". He explained this during his opening speech at the second debate on the general political orientation of the Government, which was held this morning in Parliament, and where he detailed that he wants to do so by "collecting the maximum support and complicity of Catalan society, because the greater the consensus, the more strength we will have to defend the position of Catalonia before the State, the more strength and more legitimacy we will have in the eyes of the international community".

In this sense, the head of the executive is convinced that this is the "fastest and most effective way to vote again, because it starts from the learnings of autumn 2017 and overcomes the difficulties that did not allow us to be independent five years ago", as well as "to hold an effective referendum that allows the citizens' decision to be translated into political consequences".

During his speech, Aragonès invited everyone to join, making it clear that this is an "inclusive" proposal aimed at all Democrats, "whether they are pro-independence or not." And that to carry it out "it is necessary to open a debate with society as a whole to build the foundations of the Agreement", which offers democratic guarantees to everyone, "unifies criteria and establishes the conditions to be able to make the referendum effective where everyone feels included and accepts the result".

The head of the government has made it clear that it is time to start "a new cycle for the whole country", in order to overcome "the situation of blockade" and "move forward again", ending "once and for all" all forms of repression, exile, legal cases, disqualifications and "all forms of persecution of those of us who are simply pro-independence".

A social shield of 300 million euros

In order to "help citizens and the productive sector to better cope with the escalation of prices", the head of the Executive announced during his speech that the Government will launch "a social shield of 300 million euros".

"The increase in the cost of living affects us all", Aragonès stressed, which is why this aid package will include "100 euros per child to compensate for the sharp increase in the cost of school supplies" in September. A measure "aimed at promoting social equity in an area such as education, which is absolutely essential to ensure equal opportunities" that will be carried out through a deduction from personal income tax for families with medium and low incomes. It will be incorporated during the draft budget and measures bill, in such a way that no additional procedure will have to be carried out and it will simply have to be taken into account in the income tax return.

With the aim also of protecting the most disadvantaged and that "this autumn and winter no one is cold due to the increase in energy prices", the president has announced that "the 100,000 most vulnerable families in Catalonia will receive the 50% increase in the ThermalDiscount Rate this year", which means that they will receive direct aid of between 173 and 541 euros to cope with the increases in the electricity and gas bill.

The Government will also allocate 29 million euros to complement state rental aid for young people, which Aragonès has described as "manifestly insufficient", which can be used by young people up to 36 years of age and which can reach 250 euros per person. Along the same lines, the president also stated that the T-Jove is extended from 24 to 30 years old, a measure that will have"an impact of 30 million euros and that wants to contribute to reducing the daily and more basic expenses of the young population, which have even more problems to emancipate, and also promote the use of public transport".

The 300 million euro social shield will also include an portion of 67 million euros destined to accompany all small and medium-sized companies to undertake energy transition projects; to encourage the removal of asbestos roofs and install instead roofs with solar panels intended for self-consumption; to subsidize bioenergy projects and reduce to 6 months the maximum time to authorize projects of plants renewable energy parks with power below 5MW so that they can start producing energy in less than a year.

Finally, in the field of renewable energies, the President has announced two lines of aid: one of 57 ME, to make it easier for citizens to install renewable energy production systems for self-consumption in their homes, and another of 11.5 ME so that communities of neighbors and companies can install automatic systems for turning lights on and off in common spaces.

Pere Aragonès stressed that these 300 million euros, which "respond to today's emergencies", such as war, the crisis or rising energy prices,"must be made thinking about the world we will have tomorrow". "Because it's at times like this that we have to show that we're on people's side. We must accompany everyone to face the consequences of inflation and we must do so without losing the transformative vocation that characterizes the Government of the Generalitat", he concluded.

In the economic bloc, the president also praised the positive data of the Catalan economy, which show that "the recovery after the effects of the pandemic is solid", despite acting with "the hands tied by a chronic fiscal deficit and unfair competition from those who lower taxes to those who have the most".

In this sense, Aragonès has declared that "Catalonia will not enter the game of populist tax cuts that only benefit the 1% of the population that has the most". "We're not going to do it out of conviction," he said, and because "it would mean moving in the opposite direction from where we're going." "Our model is that of fair and prosperous Catalonia, that of well-being and shared prosperity, making it reach everyone and everywhere, in Catalonia", he concluded

Execution of 40% of the Government's plan in a year and a half

At another point in his speech, the head of the executive has highlighted that in less than a year and a half of the legislature, a degree of execution of 40% of the government plan has been achieved. And he also remarked that "in just under a year, initiatives that exemplify all the transformations that we have committed to promote, have begun to emerge". Aragonès has detailed some of the measures, such as "the free P2, the National Pact for Industry, public energy, the reduction of the cost of access to universities, housing aid for young people, or the audiovisual hub Catalunya Media City", he outlined.