The PSOE assumes the difficulty of having a party position in the debate on regional financing that Ferraz has approached with the socialist presidents as a step prior to formally opening the debate with the proposal on adjusted population that the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, intends to do this November. Montero has led a meeting with the regional presidents and the party leadership -Adriana Lastra and Santos Cerdán- which was also attended by the head of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, in which no specific content was put on the table, According to those attending the meeting, but the message has been clear that there cannot be a prior common position of the Socialists, which was what the leadership was probing and for which the Andalusian leader, Juan Espadas, who chairs the Council, is committed Federal Policy of the party.
The regional presidents put duties to the new Government
“There is not a solution that can be partial, nor of a party”, has affirmed the Valencian Ximo Puig to his exit of the meeting in Ferraz. The president of the Generalitat maintains an agreement with the Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno Bonilla, due to the particularities of their territories – closer to the Community of Madrid, Catalonia and even the Balearic Islands-. But the socialist leaders of the ’emptied Spain’, with their own peculiarities and who bet that criteria beyond the population prevail for the financing of public services, also agree that it is difficult to establish a common starting point within the PSOE. “It is not a question of seeking agreements, but rather of building a common space for dialogue,” said the Asturian, Adrián Barbón. “In this party they have always understood that each president has to put his land in front of him, it is what we are going to do, there is no discussion, it is understood in the PSOE, only this would be missing. The PSOE understands that it has to talk about it with other parties” , has pointed out the manchego Emiliano García-Page.
What all the socialist presidents have agreed on is the need to renew a system that has expired for seven years and in which more funds are injected for regional financing. “More funding is necessary, but the minister already knows that,” explains one of the attendees. The possibility of somehow extending the covid funds that were launched in the worst moments of the pandemic has also been on the table.
The other point of agreement has been, precisely, that each president will defend what is best for their territories within the framework of the debate on regional financing. Thus, the Balearic Francina Armengol has indicated the ordinality and the floating population in summer as points to take into account when reviewing the system. Puig’s criterion is that the population prevails while Barbón, Emiliano García-Page or Javier Lambán are committed to taking into account criteria, such as depopulation, aging or orography, when calculating how much basic public services cost for each inhabitant.
Despite the calls to abandon the “frontism” that the Government has made in recent weeks due to the proximity of the “Santiago summit” in which the presidents of the PP will meet – the host Alberto Núñez Feijóo or the one from Castilla y León , Alfonso Fernández Mañueco- with the socialists of Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha, Asturias or Extremadura, Ferraz has not asked them to abandon this type of transversal meetings, according to several of the leaders consulted. The intention of that meeting is to reaffirm the requests that they formulated in previous meetings -one of them held in Zaragoza in 2018-, but in the PSOE the alarms went off after the Galician president used that appointment during the debate on the state of the region to attack Pedro Sánchez and dialogue with Catalonia. Given the uproar caused, the call was postponed from November 2 to 23.
Ferraz and the Government assume that there will not be a unique position of the party in the debate on regional financing. The statement released by the PSOE after the meeting appealed, yes, to “institutional loyalty” as well as an appeal to the PP: “The Socialist Party invites all political forces, especially those with a national implementation, to work with honesty in defining a common position, leaving out the partisan confrontation, to help approve a reform of the current Autonomous Financing System that allows all the Autonomous Communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla to meet the needs and meet the expectations of the citizenship”.
The PSOE summarizes the “inspiring principles” of the new autonomous financing system in financial sufficiency, fiscal autonomy and joint responsibility, equity in the provision of public services, “solidarity between nationalities and territories that make up Spain”, as well as stability budgetary and financial sustainability. In addition to regional financing, the meeting has served to discuss the General State Budgets and the situation of budget projects in each of the autonomies governed by the PSOE, as well as health and the vaccination process.
The meeting was attended by the presidents of Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Asturias, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Extremadura and La Rioja. Navarra was represented by the Minister of Finance, given the impossibility of attending the president, María Chivite, also cited despite the community’s charter regime; and Canarias by the Deputy Minister of the Presidency given that the president, Ángel Víctor Torres, was accompanying Pedro Sánchez on his sixth visit to La Palma. The assistants frame the meeting within the normal functioning of the party and assure that years ago they proposed to keep them, as it happened long ago.