The covid fund, the next headache of the Government


BarcelonaFor the first time in twelve years, the Government will have the Generalitat’s budgets in force on the day marked by political orthodoxy: January 1, 2022. Despite the punctuality, it will not be an easy budget year for the Catalan executive. . The reason is that the government is demanding that the state provide the communities with a covid fund to fight the pandemic as it did in 2020 and 2021, but the Spanish government, for now, is not committed. In addition, it was a claim that Catalonia had already made before the sixth wave broke out, and that the new impact of the virus has become more urgent. All this could create a mismatch between what the Generalitat needs to fight the pandemic and what it will finally be able to execute.

On Thursday, the day Parliament approved the bills, an intervention in the plenary of the Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, went largely unnoticed because it took place outside the budget debate. In an exchange of views with the CUP, the minister confessed that, if there are no covid funds, the Generalitat will lack 1.4 billion euros. Nevertheless, Argimon said he had “some hope” in securing state resources. The Doctors ‘Union and the Nurses’ Union warned a few days ago of the “uncertainty” about the future of the health workers registered for the pandemic if the state funds are not specified.

If the state remains closed in on the bandwagon and maintains its refusal to re-fatten this fund, the Catalan accounts provide for around 500 million of its own resources to fill this gap. It would be better than nothing, obviously, but it would not cover the needs of the Generalitat. Sources in the Department of the Economy recall that the Minister, Jaume Giró, had already set at 1.5 billion euros the volume that he considered this covid fund should have. On Friday, Giró was still convinced that the state would end up reconsidering its refusal. “With the New Year’s bells we will not have overcome the pandemic. I’m sure that this aid will end up coming, because reality will prevail “, he told Ràdio 4. Last week, the Spanish minister of the branch, Carolina Darias, did not rule it out completely. “If more resources are needed, there will be more,” he said, but without a timetable or amount.

Unexpected allies

Thus, the problem will have to end in the field of political negotiation. The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has already insisted on this demand directly to Pedro Sánchez at last Wednesday’s conference of presidents. The surprise of the Catalan president and his team is that he was not alone in this request. Several communities were marching in the plea to the Spanish government not to disregard the covid fund this year. And not only communities governed by the PP such as Castilla y León and Madrid, but also with socialist governments such as, for example, Extremadura and Aragon. Many Indian presidents – albeit telematically – are demanding “extraordinary funds” to deal with a sixth wave that few had foreseen with this virulence.

In a way, it could happen to the Generalitat as in April 2020. Then, in the midst of the first onslaught of the coronavirus, it approved some accounts that had been designed before the pandemic and that, therefore, were born out of date. The current numbers have been made with full awareness that the covid has not spread, but when it still could not be intuited that there would be a cycle of restrictions so strong in Catalonia that it would impact on health and some economic sectors . And, in this battle, covid funds will play an essential role.


Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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