Article published by Catalan News Agency, 19th April 2016
Photo: Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, presented the government’s plan for this term in office (by ACN)
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced 750 measures to be launched in this “exceptional term in office” including 45 laws which will put Catalonia “at the gates” of a new state. Coinciding with his first 100 days at the head of the government, Puigdemont explained the government’s plan and divided it into three big areas. One is “guaranteeing the welfare state” by “internal measures but also by defending from external threats”, he said, referring to the recent suspension by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) of the Catalan law against energy poverty. Another core idea of this term in office is to promote the economic recovery and improve the administration’s efficiency and transparency. Puigdemont also emphasised that “hindering” these measures wouldn’t “hinder” Catalonia’s political process but “the people’s needs”. In this vein, and implicitly addressing the Spanish government, he emphasised that the government “which is not temporary” bids for “permanent institutional dialogue”.
The measures announced this Tuesday by Puigdemont aim to “revert the cuts and put Catalonia at the gates of its own state” and although they are set to be launched during this term in office, he admitted that they are conditioned by the budget proposal, which still has to be approved, and by the calendar, which may change depending on the potential new elections to be held in Spain in June.
Puigdemont also noted that the term in office will finish when the deployment of this plan is completed and divided it into three areas: “a fairer country, with a new welfare state for everybody; a better country, with more and better jobs and an economy at the service of the people; and a country with good practices and democratic regeneration”.
Guaranteeing the welfare state
The government’s plan “gives priority to social measures despite the economic and financial squeeze” and “despite the cuts announced by the Spanish government”, stated Puigdemont. “We will guarantee the welfare state with internal measures but also by defending from external threats”, he said, referring to the recent suspension by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) of the Catalan law against energy poverty. In this vein, Puigdemont warned that “punishing the government affects the most vulnerable people of our society” as Catalonia’s political process “has much more to do with people rather than with finance, as many insist on asserting”.
Although the Catalan President didn’t specify how these measures would be funded, he named the recent tax on empty flats which the government established which has raised nearly €11.3 million in its first annual collection. “The tax was initially expected to raise only €8 million”, he stressed.
Puigdemont also referred to the government’s commitment to tackling the refugee crisis. “We want to be part of the solution and we call the Spanish government to be at our side on this”, he said. “We are part of Europe and as an active part of it we want to contribute to solidarity”.
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