23.05.2013 - 11.20 pm
The Constitutional Court temporarily allows the Catalan tax on bank deposits but still halts the drug prescription fee
The Spanish Constitutional Court has lifted the temporary suspension of the Catalan Government’s tax on total bank deposits while it is waiting to issue a sentence on the measure. The Spanish Government took Catalonia’s tax on bank deposits, the drug prescription fee and the new judicial taxes to the Court. The Constitutional Court accepted Madrid’s appeal in January and temporarily suspended the implementation of the three measures for five months. After the period is over, the Court believes that, taking into account the need to reduce public deficit, the Catalan Government can now implement the tax on banks, while the magistrates agree on a definitive sentence. However, the Court has extended the suspension on the judicial and drug prescription fees.
21.05.2013 - 11.42 pm
Catalonia contributed with 8.5% of its GDP to infrastructures and services in the rest of Spain in 2010
On Tuesday, the Catalan Government posted the so-called fiscal balances for 2010, showing the difference between the money paid by Catalans in taxes and fees to the Spanish Government and what comes back in form of funds, services and infrastructure. Using the monetary flow formula, Catalonia had a fiscal deficit of €16.54 billion, representing 8.5% of its GDP. Using the benefit formula, the fiscal deficit represents 5.8% of the Catalan GDP (€11.26 billion). The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, stated that both formulas “are complementary” but he found the monetary flow one to be closer to the reality. The figures are similar to the results from previous years as well as to the study published in 2008 by the Spanish Finance Ministry with data from 2005. In the last 25 years, Catalonia has given away 8.1% of its GDP each year.
16.05.2013 - 11.16 pm
María de los Llanos de Luna, from the People’s Party (PP), gave a diploma to a brotherhood of the ‘Divisón Azul’, a division of Spanish volunteers who fought in the Nazi army during the Second World War. De Luna is the top representative of the Spanish Government in Catalonia and she is known for her Spanish nationalism and anti-Catalan identity stance. The news has outraged the rest of the Catalan political parties, who have asked for her immediate resignation. Furthermore, the 12 members of the brotherhood which received the diploma were wearing the Falange uniform, which was the only party allowed during Franco’s Fascist dictatorship. Neither the PP nor the Spanish Government have commented on the news or the resignation demands.
16.05.2013 - 10.09 pm
Between January and March, the Catalan Government had a budget deficit of €411 million, representing 0.21% of Catalonia’s GDP. The definitive deficit target for 2013 for each Autonomous Community has not been set by the Spanish Government yet. Madrid set a 1.2% target a few weeks ago but everybody assumes it will be raised as negotiations are on-going with the Catalan Government. Rumours indicate that Catalonia’s deficit target may finally be set at around 1.8%. The Autonomous Communities posted a total public deficit of €1.24 billion at the end of the first quarter, corresponding to 0.12% of Spain’s GDP. According to the Spanish Deputy Minister for Budget, the figure represents half the deficit posted in the same period last year.
14.05.2013 - 11.18 pm
As it was announced on Monday, the Catalan Government has adapted its budget extension guidelines to a higher deficit target, while it is waiting to find out the definitive deficit target decided by the Spanish Government. Since the elections were held in November, it was the new Catalan Government’s responsibility to draft the budget for 2013. However, the budget has not been presented since the Catalan Government disagrees with the deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government and it is negotiating for its reduction. Meanwhile, it is operating with an extension of the 2012 guidelines, a procedure run by a series of strict guidelines. The guidelines included the 0.7% deficit target initially allowed for this year, which have obliged the Catalan Government services to implement severe spending limitations in the first months of the year. Most of the opposition criticised not debating the new guidelines.
13.05.2013 - 09.43 pm
During the weekend, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, stated that the Catalan Government’s deficit for 2013 will not be above 2%. The Catalan Government has been asking for a 2.1% deficit target, corresponding to a third of the 6.3% that was announced by the Spanish Government as the figure allowed for Spain’s entire public sector. On Friday, several high-level meetings to discuss the issue were held in Barcelona between members of both executives. On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that in his meeting with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, they did not discuss specific figures. He also stated that no figure will be decided on until the European Union officially confirms Spain’s 6.3% total deficit target.
10.05.2013 - 10.08 pm
The Spanish and Catalan Governments hold several high-level bilateral meetings in Barcelona on the same day
On the occasion of the kick-off of the 2013 Barcelona International Motor Show, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and 3 ministers (Finance, Economy and Industry) visited Barcelona on Friday. They held several meetings with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell. Mas and Rajoy talked for 20 minutes about Catalonia’s deficit target for 2013 and the budget for this year. Officially, they have not discussed the self-determination process. In addition, Mas also met with Luís De Guindos, Spain’s Minister for the Economy. Mas-Colell met with De Guindos and Cristóbal Montoro, the Spanish Finance Minister.
09.05.2013 - 10.43 pm
The opposition has denounced “the insult to intelligence” and the “ridiculousness” of changing the official name of the Catalan language in Aragon. Catalan has been spoken in the eastern part of Aragon for almost a thousand years. In addition, the regional parliament has also changed the name of Aragonese, a minority language also spoken for many centuries in Aragon’s Pyrenean valleys. The People’s Party (PP) and a minority regional party called PAR have changed the law ruling Aragon’s official languages. Spanish is now considered the only official language in all Aragon and LAPAO (formerly Catalan) and LAPAPYP (Aragonese) are secondary languages. University experts have strongly criticised this decision which goes against all scientific criteria. From Catalonia, the situation is perceived as another attack on the Catalan language and an attempt to eradicate it from certain areas.