1. This morning in Madrid, President Aragonès presented the Catalan Government’s financing proposal in the face of a current model that he described as “unfair, arbitrary and opaque” and that “does not respond to the needs of Catalan citizens”
  2. Aragonès stated that his aspiration is a “bilateral relationship with the State” and underlined that he“will not accept that other territories condition the resources that need to be sent to Catalonia”
  3. The President stressed that the proposal is “widely defended” by Catalan society and said that “it can form part of an agenda shared with all the political forces of Catalan nationalism”

The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, defended this morning in Madrid the singular financing proposal that the Catalan Government is tendering for Catalonia. “It is a question of justice. We are not looking for privileges or advantages”, he stressed at a Europa Press breakfast briefing, where he emphasised that what Catalonia is proposing already exists in the State, “as they have in the Basque Country and Navarre”, and that he is simply asking that “the fiscal effort of the citizens of Catalonia revert back to the public services of our country”.

Aragonès insisted that the proposal responds to the need for Catalonia to have its own financing system, “that improves the lives of citizens and gives the boost that the country’s economy requires”, with the aim of it also becoming “the basis of a new bilateral relationship between Spain and Catalonia”, and “another milestone on the road to resolving the political conflict”. Furthermore, he has also made it clear that the aim of this proposal is that “the citizens of Catalonia can decide freely on the independence of the country in a referendum”.

The proposal delivered yesterday by the Minister for Economy to the President of Spain is for “total fiscal sovereignty so that the Generalitat goes from collecting 9% of taxes to 100%”, through the Catalan Tax Agency. The President regretted that, of the 52 billion euros that the Generalitat pays each year in taxes, only half are administered by the Generalitat and, therefore, it is necessary “to be able to decide on taxes and adapt them to the needs and preferences of the citizens”. “Seeing the low percentage of execution of the general State budget, and the weight that the army and the crown represent in it, it is clear that there is an imbalance to be resolved, he said.

In this respect, he presented a fundamental system in “the bilaterality with the State, which must be the essential point of the singularity that Catalonia requires”. “I will not tell other territories what financing system they should have, and I will not accept that other territories condition the resources that should reach the citizens of Catalonia,” he stated.

The Catalan proposal also includes “a transfer to the State in return for services in Catalonia”, as well as “a time-limited territorial rebalancing fund to accompany those territories with less economic capacity”.

During his speech, the President pointed out that the current funding model “does not meet the needs of Catalan citizens”, and that it is “unfair, arbitrary and opaque”. An opacity that he denounced as having had its greatest exponent when the Ministry of Finance stopped publishing the execution of the investments foreseen in the budgets distributed by territories. “It is a lack of transparency that has no justification and that contrasts with the transparency of Catalonia’s public accounts,” said Aragonès, who also emphasised that the efforts of the autonomous communities are not in line with those of the State. “Since 2012, the resources of the General State Administration have grown by 90%, while the resources of the common regime autonomous communities have grown by 40%,” he pointed out.

“They will tell us that it is impossible and unconstitutional, just as they told us that pardons and the amnesty law were,” the President said. And he insisted that the proposal “will become a reality” if “we take advantage of the political strength and the capacity of influence, as well as the commitment of the Spanish Government to tackle this negotiation, as was signed in the investiture agreements”.

An agenda shared with the pro-Catalan parties

With regard to the support of the Catalan parties for the proposed model, Aragonès remarked that “no political party that defends the interests of the citizens of Catalonia will oppose a unique financing system”, and expressed his conviction that the proposal “can form part of a shared agenda with all the political forces of Catalan nationalism, beyond the pro-independence movement”.

Along these lines, he also argued that the Catalan Government has the “certainty” that it is a proposal “widely defended by Catalan society”, given that in opinion polls the voters of all political forces “defend fiscal sovereignty, putting an end to the fiscal deficit and the economic agreement”.

Throughout his speech, and also in the subsequent Q&A session, the Catalan President also denounced the fiscal deficit suffered by Catalonia, which, he said, continues to limit the country’s growth and prosperity: “The toll of the fiscal deficit, which we pay in the form of under-financed services and economic policies for territorial development that fall short, is what conditions the future of the country”. And he added that the 8% of GDP that this deficit represents “is being paid by the citizens and, especially, by the 24% of citizens who are at risk of social exclusion”.

Continuing in the same vein, Pere Aragonès stressed that this 8% of GDP “is equivalent to a very significant part of the pensions paid in Catalonia” and that, therefore, “we need to put an end to the fiscal deficit in order to improve productivity and guarantee that the pension system is sustainable in the future”.