Spain edges closer to final deal on Catalan autonomy

23rd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 January 2006, MADRID — The chances of a final agreement over the Catalan autonomy bid appeared to be edging closer after another party added its support to the existing deal.

25 January 2006

MADRID — The chances of a final agreement over the Catalan autonomy bid appeared to be edging closer after another party added its support to the existing deal.

Joan Saura, leader of the ICV, said he would vote for a deal reached between Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Arthur Mas, leader of the conservative CiU party, at the weekend.

Saura said he will support the agreement, despite suggesting changes to Zapatero during a meeting in Madrid on Wednesday.

He added that the fate of the region's bid for more autonomy lies with Josep Carod Rovira, leader of the left-wing nationalist ERC party, who is due to have talks later on Wednesday with the primer minister.

Carod Rovira is likely to press for more concessions from Zapatero.

His party, on whom Zapatero's minority government depends for support, wants Catalonia to be called a nation.

The ERC has labelled the deal "paltry".

Without the agreement of the ERC, the autonomy bid cannot be presented to parliament.

The ERC is also one of three parties which runs the Catalan regional government as a coalition.

The deal agreed between Zapatero Mas would mean Catalonia would get 50 percent of any taxes raised in the region.

If the text of the statutes comes into effect, there would be a maximum two-year period for the creation of a consortium Catalan Tax Authority, one of whose partners will be the regional government, known as the Generalitat.

The region would also get state investment for the next 7 years, equivalent to their contribution to Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Their current contribution is 18.5 percent of the GDP, with investment below that at 11 percent.

But Catalonia would not be described as a nation in the articles of the statutes.

This has been a sticking-point for the ERC which has campaigned for the region to be called a nation. 

Under the agreement reached, the terminology will only be used in the introduction to the text with the words, which is not legally binding.

Mas said that if his party had insisted on Catalonia being described as a nation, "we would have got nowhere with the statutes".

Josep Carod Rovira, leader of left-wing ERC, said after a meeting with Zapatero on Sunday: "The agreement on the terminology nation is unacceptable."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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