The agreement between the Government and the PSC for the budgets of the Generalitat for the year that has just begun is close. This is indicated by sources from both parties, although there are still obstacles to overcome for the pact to see the light, why not, next week.
Those of Salvador Illa confirm that there is progress after having presented to the Catalan Executive, last week, a demanding 26-page document with measures to be included in the Catalan accounts. Among them were the commitment to unblock large projects such as the Hard Rock, the expansion of El Prat airport, or the B-40 and some political demands along the lines of deactivating a possible illegal referendum. Even so, the spokesperson for the PSC-Units, Alícia Romero, hopes to be able to close an agreement next week in order to "start the procedures" in Parliament immediately.
The calendar is tight and "if we really want this to be done in the first quarter of the year", Romero believes that the agreement should be closed next week. In fact, the Catalan Chamber reserved the possibility of starting the activity on those days to host the commissions on budgets. To explore these options, Socialists and the Government will meet again this week at least on a couple of occasions.
Also in the Catalan Executive they are optimistic, although they are in charge of putting the accent on what right now separates them from the agreement with the PSC, such as the formula with which to fit these large projects into the pact, as well as some specific measures of the Socialists that According to Executive sources, they would excessively increase spending.
"We believe that all the proposals can be shared with ERC", Romero assured this Monday from the Parliament after the last meeting with the government delegation, in which the Ministers of the Presidency and the Economy were again present, as usual, Laura Vilagrà and Natàlia Mas. According to Romero, the PSC is "confident" in the success of the talks after the "good work" carried out in 15 meetings to date, and because "we do not see anything that is unbearable for the ERC Government."
Such is the optimism that the spokesperson values that both parties have "generated some trust" and that the relationship is "cordial and constructive" on both sides. But aware that there are still issues to be ironed out, she urges that "in these three meetings" that remain until next week "we can agree and close this agreement."
In the PSC they avoid giving prominence to the differences that still exist. It is the Government who is in charge of it. Sources of the Catalan Executive point out that at the meeting on Tuesday they have transmitted to the Socialists that 87% of the document they presented "is already agreed." Without detailing the scope of the measures where there is consensus, they point out that they involve 147 proposals that represent 5,386 million euros of spending.
The remaining 13% that the PSC demands and is not agreed would mean, according to the Government, another 5,000 million more in spending, an amount that cannot be assumed if taxes are not increased, according to what the Catalan Executive would have transmitted to the PSC. The same sources point out that among these measures that do not appear viable are the expansion projects of the Barcelona metro.
But the reluctance of ERC and the Government also persist with regard to the large projects mentioned. The Republican Executive insists that both the Hard Rock, the B-40, and the expansion of the airport are extra-budgetary issues, but aware that the Socialists will not give up on this, they are open to seeking a formula that allows an agreement to be reached on the matter . For its part, the PSC points out that the need to unblock these projects is inalienable and recalls that they have already been generous in drafting the proposals because they do not imply immediate execution, but rather a commitment by the Government that the works will be unblocked.
In fact, the Socialists place all the proposals in their document as inalienable, because they point out that selection work has already been done in it and many demands have been waived that, if it were their own budget, they would have included.
Although the Government does not mention taxation as another of the obstacles, the agreement reached with the commons through which some taxes are touched and others are promised, such as the tax on processed foods, is not to the liking of the PSC. Here the Socialists wash their hands of it because they do not feel conditioned by the pact with those of Jéssica Albiach and hold Pere Aragonès responsible for his "erratic" negotiating strategy. "We are in favor of fiscal prudence, something they already knew when they reached an agreement with the commons", Romero pointed out, therefore, it is the Government who will have to put the pieces together if the agreements with socialists and commons do not fit in this matter, has summoned.