• Politics Pedro Sánchez announces to the autonomous presidents that the distribution of EU funds will be assumed by him
  • Basque Country.Urkullu attends the Conference of Presidents after agreeing with Sánchez on the Basque deficit and debt

The participation of the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, in the Conference of Presidents was a surprise. But it was not free. His presence came after Pedro Sánchez agreed with him the level of deficit that the Basque Country may incur in the new year, up to 2.6% of GDP, that is, about 1.7 billion.

The concession to the Basque Country immediately raised the discomfort of most of the other autonomous regions. All of them urgently need to know their deficit and debt margins to prepare their Budgets. "If an autonomy already knows the rules with which it can act, the logical thing is that the others would also know ours." With this phrase, the Galician president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, conveyed the discontent of most of his counterparts at the favorable treatment accorded to the Basque Country. All the communities of the general regime will have to wait for the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council that Pedro Sánchez has promised to hold in September to know the extent of the terrain on which they can play in the financial market.

A Feijóo was joined by the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, for whom concealment maneuvers such as that carried out by the Government with the Basque community are not acceptable. A good number of regional presidents claimed margins similar to those granted to the Basque Country, that is, between 2 and 2.5% of GDP. Díaz Ayuso considers it intolerable that conditions of inequality can occur in this area, benefiting those who "demand independence" and harming Madrid "because it lowers taxes."

The Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno, also expressed his dissatisfaction, assuring that he will not allow "neither a territorial grievance nor in the distribution of deficits or in that of European funds."

Altogether, the regional presidents left the San Millán de la Cogolla monastery yesterday with the impression that the Conference had been "more deliberative and informative than decisive." Most of their specific demands, both in relation to the health crisis and the future receipt of EU funds, remained without concrete responses from the Government, which, at most, promised to study them and continue working. "It is evident that we still need a lot of joint work and that the Government continues to be part of the solution," said Feijóo, for whom it is inconceivable to fall into uncoordination in these circumstances.

Concern about outbreaks of coronavirus was one of the most repeated approaches by regional leaders. Even by those in whom the epidemiological situation is controlled in their territories. A good number of them -Aragón, Galicia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León- advocated introducing substantial improvements in the information and data transfer system, clearly confusing and imprecise, which transfers "uncertainty" and causes a « reputational damage to the image of Spain ».

Likewise, the demand was repeated to the Government to proceed to promote legal regulations that facilitate confinements in case of need without having to resort to the state of alarm or depend on the validations of a judge, something that in the opinion of many of those present in the Conference is sympathetic to the urgency of the health crisis. To this claim, Sánchez replied with doubts regarding its constitutionality and at the most he came to promise to study it.

Throughout the meeting, the requests of the autonomies were very varied: from the VAT reduction of the masks that Feijóo raised, to the establishment of stricter controls at airports in which Díaz Ayuso or the Balearic president, Francina Armengol, agreed, passing due to the urgency of "not forgetting the demographic challenge" expressed by the Castilian from Leon Alfonso Fernández Mañueco or the insistence of the President of Castilla-La Mancha on "harmonizing the decisions" made in health matters.

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  • GDP
  • Pedro Sánchez
  • Basque Country
  • Inigo Urkullu
  • Alberto Núñez Feijoo
  • Alfonso Fernández Mañueco
  • Aragon
  • Castilla y León
  • Castilla la Mancha
  • Spain
  • Galicia
  • Isabel Díaz Ayuso
  • Politics

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