Aragonès assumes the personal attrition of the B-40 and warns the PSC that "there are no more excuses" for the budget

"Voting no makes the agreement practically impossible.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
30 January 2023 Monday 06:17
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Aragonès assumes the personal attrition of the B-40 and warns the PSC that "there are no more excuses" for the budget

"Voting no makes the agreement practically impossible." The reflection of a deputy from the PSC-Units hours before a motion of his formation was debated and voted on on the infrastructures of discord that have blocked the budget negotiation reflects what was at stake. Finally, ERC has agreed this afternoon in Parliament to vote in favor of the first point of the motion, the one related to the B-40 highway, the section of the Ronda Nord del Vallès that had been presented as the main obstacle to the agreement on budgets. Pere Aragonès thus placed the ball in the court of the Socialists, pointing out that "there are no more excuses" or "obstacles" for those of Salvador Illa to agree to an agreement. Illa now sees the agreement "closer", but after acknowledging and to thank the "courage" of the president, he has insisted that there are still "pending points".

The president has come out to explain himself, but also to bear the costs of the Republicans' decision. He has done so an hour and a half after the vote in Parliament from the Palau de la Generalitat. "I assume the contradiction, the cost and the personal political wear and tear", he has affirmed openly to the point that he has recognized that accepting point by point the proposal of the Catalan socialists "is the price of serving the citizenry".

For Aragonès, the decision to access the B-40 is the only possible way to get out of the blockade, despite being a model contrary to the postulates of Esquerra. But the PSC maintains that the one on the road was not the only stone in the shoe. Given this, the head of the Government has denied the major and has assured that "it would be a mistake to reopen issues that had been overcome in the negotiations."

According to the president, it is the turn of the socialists and Illa has answered this afternoon from Parliament. The leader of the PSC has admitted that "today a significant step forward has been taken in the right direction", but has remarked that "there is still no closed pact and that there are still some things pending to be resolved". In this sense, Illa has reported that he has ordered his negotiating team to get in touch with the Government to resume negotiations starting next Monday.

"We are closer, it is true, I want to acknowledge and thank you," commented Illa, who was "surprised" no longer by ERC's vote in favor of the B-40 but by the abstention of the Republicans on the point that demanded the expansion of El Prat airport. "The airport is an important matter and we would like a clear commitment to expansion", Illa has assessed, who has once again pointed out that "there are aspects on which we must continue advancing".

Be that as it may, and back within the parliamentary framework, Socialists and Republicans have tried in recent hours to reach an agreement to negotiate a text on the future of El Prat airport and, above all, the Ronda Nord, but it was not possible. The PSC maintained the wording of the text, demanding the unlocking of the infrastructures, which had the support of Junts, but ERC announced in the debate that it would also vote in favour, as "a gesture" with which they want to deactivate the "excuses" of the PSC so that there is a budget agreement

“We have tried with sacrifices and here is the proof. If it serves to unravel the budgets, we will do it; It remains in their hands", said the Republican deputy Ferran Estruch before the socialist group, in his speech in the debate of the motion, before the appearance of Aragonès, evidencing the will of his party to verify if the PSC has a real will to arrive to an agreement or, on the contrary, their claim is to “artificially” delay the negotiation.

ERC thus transfers the pressure to the Socialists, who have warned, against the Government's version, that in addition to the B-40 and investment projects such as the airport or the Hard Rock, there are other discrepancies. Among them they cite the 7% increase in social fees, the deployment of the science law, the shock plan for waiting lists, or the future of delegations abroad. Now it will be necessary to see if for the PSC it is enough that ERC agrees to execute the B-40 to satisfactorily resolve the budget agreement.

The Socialist deputy Jordi Terradas coldly welcomed the "gesture" of ERC, warning that "they have been wrong" because "there is still a package of issues where there is no agreement", and after citing the issues in which disagreement persists, he demanded a greater effort: "We value your gesture, but it must also be done in the rest of the proposals".

Before the vote, there was a feeling that the bridges between the ERC Government and the PSC were half broken, although no one dared to consider the pact dead. Now, the Socialists maintain that "things can happen" in the next few hours.

The PSC considers it a victory to have seen its budget proposals endorsed by Parliament, based on the execution of these projects, and to have finally had the support of ERC for its proposals, which until now it has refuted for various reasons, including they are related to environmentalism.

The PSC motion on infrastructure demanded from the Government the execution of the B-40, the expansion of the airport, the metro lines and the signing of the contract with Renfe for the acquisition of trains in Rodalies (thus tying the management to the railway entity). . The Socialists carried out all the points of the motion, in the case of the Valles highway, only En Comú Podem and the CUP voted against, and in the point about the expansion of the ERC airport, they abstained and only the CUP and the commons voted. again against.

ERC's gesture has not caused the commons to back down from the agreement they already had with the Government. The formation of Jéssica Albiach, contrary to all these projects, has made it clear that for them "it is nothing new" that the Parliament has given its support to these infrastructures and "as long as there is not a single budget item for them" they will not break the agreement reached. "We do not have an agreement on infrastructures, nor on investiture, we have a budget agreement," party sources point out

PSC and ERC make an effort not to consider the negotiation dead, but some of the discrepancies between the two parties linked to the accounts have been reflected in this plenary session. First, with what happened yesterday with the decree law of the Government of budget extension and today with several interpellations to the Executive in matters of foreign action and infrastructures.

In the first case, a decree whose processing should not entail problems, socialists and post-convergents agreed to process it as a bill, which will force the Government to agree on any of the majority groups the modifications that they may propose. This maneuver allows the opposition to condition the execution of the 2022 budgets that must be extended for not having a new one approved in due time and form, by January 1 of this year.

But the Government and PSC have also confirmed their differences on other issues that are under discussion in the budget negotiations, such as the foreign policy of the Generalitat. The minister of the branch, Meritxell Serret, has confirmed that the Executive has the possibility of opening new delegations abroad, beyond the seven that are currently created on paper but are not yet in operation. This collides head-on with the claim of the Socialists, who in their budget proposal demand to stop new openings and even study the possible closure of some already existing ones.