The Government of Ada Colau has saved the initial processing of its budgets for 2022 thanks to the vote of the three councilors of ‘Barcelona pel Canvi’, the party that promoted and left Manuel Valls, after ERC has remained in the ‘no’ announced Monday. Thus, with the also contrary vote of Junts, PP and Citizens, the accounts have managed to overcome this first obstacle with a tight result of 21 councilors in favor and 20 against.
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The debate in the City Council’s Economy and Presidency commission has staged the clash between the municipal government parties and ERC, which until mid-term had been their priority partner. With them Barcelona en Comú and the PSC carried out the accounts for 2020 and 2021. The Republicans, however, warned that this time the budget project did not contemplate the great transformations that the city needs, and this was reiterated by Ernest Maragall this Wednesday in the consistory.
Jordi Martí, Mayor of Budgets of the City Council, has started his intervention, after those of the opposition, highlighting that the accounts in Barcelona increased from 2,400 million euros in 2014 to 3,400 million in 2022. “With whom have we made this leap ? Above all, and I say it with capital letters, with ERC, “he said, then reproached the Republicans for dropping their rejection of the project while they were still in talks. Along the same lines, the Deputy Mayor for Economy, Jaume. Collboni, has also appealed to the negotiating predisposition of these same groups in the accounts of the Government and the Govern.
Maragall, for his part, has defended himself and assured that his opposition is not due to the distribution of certain items – the council has reserved 200 million to co-decide with municipal groups -, but is a fundamental issue, of transformation of the city, which are not reflected in the accounts. “Where is the urban transformation? The Besós and Las Marinas programs? Where is dignity restored to Ciutat Vella? Where are we in the economic diversification to give way to mass tourism? All this is not in their budgets”, has claimed.
Likewise, Maragall has argued that if the government wanted to continue negotiating with them, it could have withdrawn the budgets from the commission’s agenda, instead of opting to carry out the process with Barcelona pel Canvi. In this sense, and until the project reaches a vote in the Municipal Plenary, predictably in December, Martí has appealed to the groups, and especially to ERC, to continue negotiating.
When it comes to defending her favorable vote, Eva Parera, from Barcelona pel Canvi and a PP deputy in the Parliament, has assured that she did so out of responsibility and because what was voted on is the process and not her definitive green light. “It’s a very different thing,” he said. And then he focused his speech on attacking ERC: “I have seen the vote of cowardice, especially in parties that are in the pre-campaign and have decided that what they will say about a vote weighs more than what they should do.”
Parera has defended that these “cannot be said to be bad budgets” and has begun to improve them from now on. But he has also made it clear to the Executive that this Wednesday’s vote is not a definitive yes for the plenary session. Currently, BxC has two councilors, Parera herself and Óscar Benítez, although they act in coordination with the non-attached mayor Marilén Barceló, who left Ciudadanos a few months ago.
The budget for 2022 proposed by the council foresees 3,400 million euros, a new record figure that represents an increase of 4.7% compared to the previous year thanks to Next Generation funds and indebtedness. According to the City Council, it reinforces the “social shield” against the ravages of the pandemic and advances in the economic reactivation of the city.
In terms of investments, items such as 20 million for the superblocks program or the transformations of Via Laietana and Avenida Meridiana (with another 20 million approximately) stand out. Also a first investment of 9.5 million euros for the connection of the tram on the Diagonal.