Thursday, March 14, 2013

What does a Spain-imposed debt ceiling of 0.7% represent for Catalonia? by Oriol Junqueras

Originally published on 13 March 2013 on

Often, we have a hard time understanding the scope of the figures that we work with and we aren't conscious enough of the consequences they may have in our daily life. For that reason, it is our duty to explain to the people of this country just what is represented by the 4.5 billion euros in budget cuts that the Spanish State wants to impose by fixing a debt ceiling of 0.7% of GDP on the Catalan government. Let's look at the numbers.

Let's suppose that we get rid of all of that stuff that some insist are the root of all our problems: TV3 [Catalan Television] (253M€), Catalunya Ràdio (25M€), the entire Parliament of Catalonia (55M€) and Catalonia's delegations abroad (2.5M€). Total: 317M€. We've still got 4.2B€ left to cut; we haven't even made a dent in the total figure of 4.5B€.

We'll forge ahead. What else do they want us to close, hospitals? Universities? Let's imagine that we shut down, completely, the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and the University of Girona (Total: 532M€). Well, we still have 3.7B€ to go.

What else should we get rid of? Entire hospitals? How about we close the hospitals of Vall d'Hebron (580M€), the Clinic (441M€), Bellvitge (300M€), Joan XXIII in Tarragona (111M€), Josep Trueta in Girona (129M€) and Arnau de Vilanova in Lleida (139M€). All shuttered. We still have 2 billion euros to cut.

What else do they want us to close? Shall we get rid of the Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra? Shall we get rid of the Firefighters? Both? OK, we'll leave the country without a single policeman or firefighter: 900M€ less.

But even after doing all that, we still have 1 billion euros left in additional budget cuts before we arrive at the 4.5 billion euros that the Spanish government is imposing on us. The country can not afford such cuts. We don't deserve it, and it would be unfair and inefficient.

The pressure on and asphyxia of the Catalan government finances is making the holding of a referendum more urgent with every passing moment.

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