La Junta de Andalucia warns of special treatment for Catalonia
The Junta de Andalucia, aggrieved by the apparent special treatment of Catalonia, will ask the regional parliament to reactivate a bilateral Commission between Seville and Madrid in order to increase its leverage. Billions of European funding are at stake, says the Partido Popular (PP).
It took more than two years for the President of the PP of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno, to meet Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Pere Aragones, the independence leader of Catalonia, obtained one within two months of his inauguration.
Already, the Catalans have opened a clear agenda and negotiations with the central government, while Moreno’s meeting with Sanchez in La Moncloa on June 18 was inconclusive. Billions of euros are at stake in relaunching the EU and Covid funds which Moreno says will not be distributed evenly under Spain’s current regional funding system which has been in place since 2009.
On July 7, the next plenary session of Regional Parliament of Andalusia, the PP will ask the chamber to reactivate the Regional Commission to increase its weight and its lobbying powers with Madrid.
Moreno spoke about the Commission during his meeting with Sanchez and despite no formal objections to the idea, but Madrid have yet to take any initiative on his part.
The PP’s parliamentary spokesperson, Jose Antonio Nieto, declared on June 30: “Since 2011, the Catalans continue and Spain steals from them while it is they who imposed the funding model that they now want to repeal. We are not going to grant additional privileges to another Autonomous Community. We, without being destructive or going against the courts, are not going to be silent. We will be good, but not stupid.
Moreno will also use the July 7 plenary session at the Palacio de San Telmo to call for “maximum collaboration and coordination” between the different regions as he joins forces with his counterpart in Valencia to pressure the government to ‘it changes the Spanish regional funding model that has been in place since 2009.
The current system, says Moreno, bypasses Andalusia four million euros every day and has led to a cumulative debt of over 10 billion euros.
It is also likely to point out that there can be no national recovery for Spain if Andalusia does not receive “adequate financial resources”.
Moreno, whose influence within his own center-right party is growing, is seeking alliances beyond the PP to force the government to overhaul the current regional funding system.
This includes reaching out to his socialist counterpart in Valencia, Ximo Puig, to form an unlikely political partnership to secure regional finance reform. Both Autonomous Communities say they are lacking billions of dollars in funding from Madrid and will not appreciate any attempt by Catalonia to get to the front of the line.
Puig will travel to Seville in September, a move that has surprised observers as Spain’s political environment becomes increasingly hot. He said on June 22 that “institutionality is above partisanship” and he pledged that he and Moreno would “work together” to achieve national reforms.
Puig and Moreno met on the sidelines of an economic forum in Barcelona hours before Moreno traveled to Madrid for his one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Sanchez.
After the meeting, Moreno told reporters: “Andalusia doesn’t want to be ‘above’ anyone, but we will never tolerate being ‘below’ anyone. It is absolutely urgent. We cannot hold out any longer. We looked for money under the stones and tried to balance the books all the time. “
However, Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero, who was previously Andalusian regional finance minister, refuted Moreno’s request and demanded that Moreno use his influence within the PP to seek agreement on funding reforms within. party.
Any change in the funding system must be passed as an organic law in Congress, and the ruling PSOE is reluctant to hold a vote if it has not first secured the support of the PP.
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