Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked citizens to make “explicit statements” backing a new fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain, showing the wide consensus and support this proposal has among Catalan citizens. Mas made an institutional declaration honouring the Catalan historian and politician Josep Maria Ainaud de Lasarte, who died in the early morning this Thursday. The Catalan President also made some political statements. He talked about the delays in the payments to social care organisations and he “hoped” the situation will improve this month. “I hope that by the end of August we will be able to make payments in a better way”, he said. However, he could not give “a total guarantee” because it depends on the Spanish Government activating the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomies. Therefore, Mas urged the Spanish Government to activate the fund by the end of the month, as it is still not in place. In fact, Mas said it was “illogical” to make “a grand announcement” of a measure that it is still not implemented, which causes the Autonomies to “struggle to make payments at the end of the month”. This fund had been created in order to tackle the current lack of liquidity amongst the Autonomies, since they cannot access international financial markets to get funds due to the high interest levels. However, Mas, who is the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), warned about resisting the “temptation to transform the fund in a control mechanism from a political point of view”.
Mas sent a message to Catalan citizens asking for mobilisations in favour of a new fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain, guaranteeing a smaller contribution by Catalan taxpayers to the rest of Spain. For at least the last 26 years (the period when accurate data exists), Catalan citizens have been giving an average of 8.5% of their GDP each year to pay for services and infrastructures in the rest of Spain for solidarity purposes. In 2011, it represented €17 billion, when the Catalan Government had a deficit of €7 billion and had to make drastic budget cuts in basic public services and the entire public administration. Mas promised to “do everything possible” to defend this new economic agreement, which is supported by more than three quarters of Catalans according to the opinion polls, but he asked the citizens to actively engage themselves in order to show the wide consensus and support this proposal has in Catalonia, demonstrating that it is “not only the proposal of a government or a political party, but the proposal of an entire country”.