Spanish government increases investments in Catalonia

But Puigdemont and pro-independents oppose budget

11 January, 15:55

    (ANSAmed) - MADRID, JANUARY 11 - The Spanish government will increase investments in Catalonia by 18%, for the first time applying the amount provided for in the Statute of Autonomy, to convince the pro-independents of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) in parliament to vote for the budget, according to government sources cited on Friday by Spanish daily El Pais.

    The executive branch's intention is to have the budget, which was approved by the Cabinet on Friday, bring to completion the Statute of Autonomy, which provides for equating state investments in Catalonia to the weight of the regional GDP on the Spanish economy.

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's minority government has decided to fight to the end in parliament on the battle over budget approval, even without having enough votes.

    In order to get the decisive backing of the pro-independence parties, the executive branch is waving the spectre of early elections.

    It warns if that were to happen, the result could be a government made up of the centre-right People's Party (PP), Ciudadanos and Vox, which would harshly apply Article 55 of the Spanish Constitution, allowing the central government to take administrative control of Catalonia.

    However, Catalan pro-independence parties continue to call for "political gestures" for jailed pro-independence leaders, who have been in pre-trial custody for over a year and a half, in light of their upcoming trial on charges related to organising a referendum on secession.

    The central government in Madrid said any action on its part in this regard is prevented by the separation of the executive and judicial branches.

    Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in exile in Belgium, met with current Catalan President Quim Torra in Waterloo on Friday.

    They said they will not support the budget without concrete gestures by the Sanchez government. (ANSAmed).

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