We already knew that the PP was going to do exactly what they are doing. Which is more or less the same that the PSOE did, just more “in your face”. Blaming the autonomous communities for the excessive Spanish public debt, even though they only account for 20% of the Spanish debt and manage the most expensive responsibilities, like education, healthcare or police forces. As we already mentioned here.
On December 2011 the Spanish Government failed to pay Catalonia 759 million euros which were committed on the 2011 Spanish budget and put the Catalan finances on a dire situation. For a few days it was unclear whether the Generalitat would be able to pay its workers (police, doctors, teachers, etc.). The Generalitat solved this by borrowing money. This situation hasn’t replicated anywhere in Spain. To this we should add another pending payment of 1450 million euros from the “competitivity fund” which Spain failed to pay Catalonia also on 2011.
This had the twofold effect of transferring the public deficit from Spain to Catalonia making their numbers look better, and simultaneously putting Catalonia on the verge of insolvency. Then in a display of hipocrisy Spain told off the Generalitat for its excessive deficit and threatened an intervention.
Now the Spanish Government has announced that they are preparing a law according to which the Spanish Government will have to supervise and approve the Autonomous Communities’ budgets. This would essentially mean the end of Catalonia’s self-government since the budget would have to be approved by the Spanish PP then Catalonia would effectively cease to be governed by CiU, the elected party. In fact it remains unclear whether that would even allowed by the Spanish Constitution. Even though that would probably not stop them since the Spanish Judiciary system is systematically being used to attack Catalonia’s self-government (like here or here)
While the PP has a point in pointing out that the Spanish Autonomous Communities have spent too much money it is also true that the PP governs in most Spanish Autonomous Communities which puts the blame right back on themselves for the mess.
This all goes back to the late seventies. In the post Franco period Spain never liked the idea of giving Catalonia a differentiated status and so as to dilute Catalonia’s personality gave the same status to any Spanish region that requested it. Thus creating a new set of Autonomous Communities with their Parliaments, flags, anthems, governments in regions where there was never a claim for self-government. This created a new layer of bureocracy and a regional political subsystem which has proved to be a source of money wasting and corruption.
Now, behind all these so called economic measures is the aim to achieve political targets against Catalonia while at the same time Spain fails to tackle the root of the problem problem which is a bloated state structure which wastes its resources on a things like an army which costs 16500 million euros a year or building high speed trains to rural areas (in the midst of a severe crisis Spain is the second country in the world after China in amount of high speed train kilometers under construction), to name just a few.
Using Catalonia as a scapegoat and stir xenophobia is irresponsible and the Catalan Government should take immediate action to stop this situation for once and forever.