BarcelonaYesterday, the Catalan parliament rejected amendments to the totality of the Catalan budget and gave a green light to its processing, which will still need one more month before its final approval. In the end, the budget drafted by the Catalan minister of Economy, Jaume Giró, was approved thanks to En Comú's votes. In exchange, ERC will facilitate the approval of Barcelona City Council's budget. This is a quid pro quo that benefits them both and opens a new political scenario that will still have to be calibrated.
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, had a problem and has manoeuvred quickly to find a solution. CUP's refusal to support the draft seriously compromised a budget that is absolutely necessary for the country, and Aragonès has therefore sought the most logical solution within the sovereignty movement. Of course, along the way he has not been able to avoid either a new crisis with Junts or sacrificing Ernest Maragall, who has seen his strategy in Barcelona altered.
Cross-supports in institutions have always overflown the budgetary agreements, but surely never before have they been made in such a public and notorious way. From the outset it is not good news that institutional levels are mixed, because each one deserves to be treated on its own, but it is also true that sometimes the general benefit requires a high dose of pragmatism, based on the maxim that, for the functioning of the administrations, it is always better to have budgets than to have to extend the previous year's. And this is even more true in the aftermath of the pandemic, with a need for economic reconstruction.
However, in the same way that happened with the investiture, and later with the dialogue table, JxCat does not support, at least in its discourse, the pact with En Comú and has opened a new front against its coalition partner, ERC. JxCat blames president Aragonès for not having done enough to convince the CUP, but at the same time it is JxCat that most ardently defends the projects which CUP opposes, such as the Winter Olympics or the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino complex. JxCat MP Joan Canadell made a very critical speech against En Comú and against ERC, but in the end the three groups voted in the same direction and applauded at the end.
In the coming weeks we will have to see how negotiations evolve, but everything suggests that the budget will be approved without problems. However, the rift between ERC and Junts is getting wider and wider; in fact, they have not been able to come together on any of the major issues this Parliament: neither with the airport, nor with the dialogue table, nor now with the budget. It should be pointed out, however, that minister of Economy Giró, who is an independent, maintains his own profile, and on Monday he reminded CUP that, "like all budgets in the world, these are not a lever for revolution but an instrument for continuous improvement". The budgets will go ahead; what is not so clear is how the fracture within the executive will be prevented from getting bigger every day.