Article published at Catalan News Agency, 15th November 2016
Image: Image of the ballot boxes used on the 9th of November symbolic vote on independence, in 2014
Barcelona (CNA).- The Government is determined to approve the budget for 2017 and bring the bill before Parliament on the 29th of November. According to the Secretary for Tax Office, Lluís Salvadó, there will be an allocation in the budget for the pro-independence referendum, which the Catalan Government will carry out “regardless of the situation”. Thus, Salvadó responded to radical left pro-independence CUP’s demands to call for a referendum in 2017 even if the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) could ultimately appeal or suspend the bill. “The Catalan Government has a univocal commitment and the referendum will go ahead”, he stated this Tuesday in an interview with TV3. “We will do it in one context or another”, he added. The bill for 2017, which received CUP’s support last Saturday, also increases social expenditure by 989 MEUR in comparison to the amount allocated for this purpose in 2015.
With this timetable, the Government expects the budget for 2017 to be discussed in Parliament during the week of the 20th of December, just before the Christmas break. The bill is expected to have the support of governing cross-party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP. However, groups opposing Catalonia’s independence such as Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ and the Catalan branch of Spain’s governing People’s Party (PPC) could drag the process out by taking the bill to the Spanish Constitutional Court or another body. Indeed, Salvadó took this for granted during the interview this past Monday, since according to him, the PPC “never miss a chance to stand against Catalonia’s interests”. “They will drag the proceedings out but nothing more, to no major effect”, he assured.
CUP’s support for the bill is “a good start”
The budget for 2017 has been one of the main hurdles between the Catalan Government and radical left pro-independence CUP. After the latter refused to pass the bill last June, which led to the vote of confidence promoted by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, on Saturday they gave the green light to the so-called Accompaniment Law for the 2017 budget. However, CUP MP, Eulàlia Reguant insisted that allowing the bill to be put to vote didn’t imply backing the budget. “It is a ‘yes’ to proceed with the budget not a ‘yes’ to the budget: we say ‘yes’ to start discussing the bill in Parliament, in the streets and everywhere”, noted Reguant.
Thus, the Secretary for Tax Office understands CUP’s support as “a good start”, but warned that “the negotiation continues in order to build spaces of consensus” and called for “everybody’s generosity, efforts and responsibility” so that the budget could ultimately be passed. “If we are not able to reach an agreement and pass an autonomic bill then we will hardly be trustworthy for the rest of the process”, he stated.
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