In order for CiU to approve this year’s Catalan budget they seem to have no choice but to reach an agreement with PP. Agreements which are now less understood by CiU’s voters. Because that would mean dealing with a party whose first measures taken since reaching power in the Valencian Country and Balearic Islands have been aimed at attacking the core of the Catalan language educational system. Even in Catalonia PP’s leader Alicia Sánchez-Camacho has demanded the dismantling of the Catalan immersion system in schools, following last year’s sentence by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Therefore, PP’s predictable demands in exchange for their support to this year’s Generalitat’s budgets will be aimed against Catalonia’s already fragile national structures that have been recovered during the last 30 years. Like, for instance, the Generalitat’s international branches.
Unfortunately it would not be possible to approve the budget with ERC’s support alone (even though ERC’s symbolical support would be a display of national responsibility and I’m sure a more pleasing view than seeing Mas’ party go hand in hand with an openly anti-Catalan party) so Mas is pointing at PSOE for help. Mas has warned PSOE and ERC that they are acting irresponsibly since the opposition have to understand that the blame of the budget cuts goes also to them because their actions led to the current situation. However, both PSOE and ERC are lacking the necessary leadership after having disappeared from the political arena due to their collapse in the previous elections. So PP, even without getting more voters than during their height back in 1995, has become decisive in Catalonia.
If the budget is not approved by the Parliament Mas has announced there’ll be elections (link in Catalan). The opposition groups think Mas is bluffing, is he? I think not. Under that scenario the consequences would probably bring a massive majority for CiU which, will reinforce Mas position to defend Catalonia’s interests in the face of the predictable absolute majority of PP in Spain in the upcoming Spanish elections and may mean a landslide for both PSOE and ERC that could potentially deepen their downfall to an unknown degree.
Mas has proven some character in defying the Spanish Government by approving a budget that doesn’t meet Spain’s target for Catalonia’s deficit (on the other hand, a stituation provoked by Spain’s refusal to pay Catalonia 1.5 billion euros it owes it) but on the other he is failing to properly denounce the fiscal plundering. Those 22 billion euros that never come back to Catalonia and are the main cause of Catalonia’s endemic financial problems. Until I see a serious debate about the fiscal deficit on the Catalan Public TV I will not be entirely convinced of Mas’ commitment to finish Catalonia’s chronic lack of resources.
The final questions are, now that CiU has as much power as it is possible to be had in Catalonia one wonders why, instead of advancing in national construction we have to take these cuts or why CiU’s many independentists do not raise their voices. These are questions CiU must answer if they want to continue being Catalonia’s central party.