Aragonés replies to Illa that ending the fiscal deficit "is not a privilege"

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has once again defended this Monday his proposal for unique financing for Catalonia, a model similar to the Basque concert in which the Generalitat asks to collect and manage all the taxes paid in Catalonia and transfer a part to the State.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 March 2024 Sunday 16:25
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Aragonés replies to Illa that ending the fiscal deficit "is not a privilege"

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has once again defended this Monday his proposal for unique financing for Catalonia, a model similar to the Basque concert in which the Generalitat asks to collect and manage all the taxes paid in Catalonia and transfer a part to the State. The president has assured that ending the fiscal deficit of the Catalan economy, as his proposal seeks, "is not a privilege."

Less than two months before the elections to the Parliament, and with all the parties already in pre-campaign, Aragonès responded in this way to the words of the first secretary of the PSC, Salvador Illa, who this Sunday, in an interview in La Vanguardia, distanced himself from the financing proposal proposed by ERC from the Government, ensuring that he would negotiate with the State "with loyalty and without seeking privileges." "Ending the fiscal deficit? Ending an unjust situation? It is never a privilege, it is an obligation, it is a question of justice," Aragonès defended, in a conference at the Col·legi d'Economistes de Catalunya, which has been presented by the dean, Carlos Puig de Travy.

The president has detailed the main lines of the unique financing model that both he and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Natàlia Mas, advanced last week. In this proposal, the Generalitat asks to manage and collect all the taxes paid in Catalonia, instead of the current 9%, and then transfer a part of those resources to the State for the services it provides in Catalonia, in addition to allocating a fee to solidarity with the autonomies that collect the least. "We want a unique model like the Basque Country and Navarra, no more and no less," said the president. The intention is for the proposal to be the basis of a bilateral relationship between the Government of Spain and the Generalitat.

"We do not ask for anything that is not ours," the president stressed. "We ask neither more nor less than public services, investment capacity and support for the productive fabric of our country that is in accordance with our fiscal effort," he assured. "We do not ask for anything that we have not produced in our own country. We do not ask for anything that goes beyond those resources that workers pay, that we pay when we consume or that Catalan companies pay when they make profits," he insisted.

The president has defended the strength of the Catalan economy, which "is doing very well, if you look at the rest of the economies of the euro zone and the EU and taking into account the global context full of disruptions." And he has assured that "it is an example of the resilience of our country, of its ability to overcome difficulties."

He has also ruled out that the years of the process have been "a lost decade." "There is no lost decade when the Catalan economy is stronger than ten years ago," he said. And he has criticized the feeding of "a discourse of a supposed decline of the Catalan economy, which is sometimes done from territories that are competitors." This criticism "does not correspond to reality but it is a toll" for the Catalan economy, he has warned.

In the discussion after the conference, and asked about the differences with the proposal that the Government already made in 2012, under the presidency of Artur Mas, he pointed out that the current context is "very different." "In 2012 there was a systematic slamming of the door, now the door is open," he stressed. "From Catalonia we have the strength so that proposals that have a broad consensus can materialize. In 2012 there was a systematic slamming of the door, now the door is open," he highlighted. However, he has warned that "a window of opportunity is opening", since "the Government depends on the votes of Catalonia", but "the windows are not permanently open".

Councilor Natàlia Mas also participated in the colloquium, detailing that today the Catalan economy is growing faster than that of Spain and the EU as a whole, but that the fiscal deficit causes less percentage of GDP to be allocated to health or education. She has specified that it would be necessary to allocate 3,800 million more euros in education and another 10,000 million in health to reach the average of other surrounding economies.