Far from improving, the problem of the lack of investment in Catalan infrastructure is getting worse. According Work Promotion, in the last twelve years the public administration has accumulated 35,000 million euros in money awarded but not executed, a figure that is also 7,000 million euros higher than the last time this analysis had been done, just before the pandemic. Then, the employers of the large company already made it clear that until 2018, the investment deficit in infrastructures in Catalonia rose to 28,000 million euros and that resolving this situation required both an extraordinary injection of 10,000 million euros by the Government and the Generalitat, as an annual investment of 5,000 million euros.
Two years later, the president of Foment, Josep Sánchez Llibre has insisted on this recipe, especially considering that the trend has gotten worse. The entity’s calculations, based on infrastructure investment in the 12 richest countries in the eurozone, suggest that the equivalent of 2.2% of Catalan GDP (about 225,000 million euros with data of 2020), while for years the amounts spoken have not even exceeded 1%. Without going any further, in 2020 the tender remained at 0.7% of GDP.
“These are data that show that, year after year, the deficit in infrastructure increases scandalously,” Sánchez Llibre summarized in the presentation of the report, according to Efe. “We send a message of alert and concern,” he said.
The report where this deficit is evidenced also points out that there are investments that are not executed even within the most significant works. “The most strategic infrastructures for the competitiveness of the Catalan economy and, therefore, of the Spanish economy, are advancing at a very slow pace, and, in some cases, the works are paralyzed”, collects the document, which cites as examples the connection between the A-2 and the AP-7 at the height of Castellbisbal that was inaugurated last autumn after 14 years of works and 12 million euros less awarded than those promised or known as fourth belt of Barcelona (the B-40 orbital highway), which has been appearing for 15 years in the State’s general budgets (PGE) and is still under construction, just like the new road access to the port of Barcelona o la connection between the A-2 and the C-32.
In this regard, Sánchez Llibre, accompanied by the entity’s vice president, Joaquim Llansó, and the president of the Infrastructure Commission, Anna Cornadó, has asked for “rigor, seriousness and responsibility” from the different public administrations.
Government and Generalitat
Although Foment blames both administrations – the Spanish and the Catalan – its data collection reflects that the compliance rate is worse in the case of the State. Between 2013 and 2020, they say, the execution of the State budget in Catalonia has been 67% (a deficit of 3,000 million euros), while the same percentage improves ten points in the case of the Generalitat, up to 77% (2,200 millions).
Beyond all this, the employers denounce that the problem will persist in 2022, especially considering that the figures budgeted for the future are once again below the weight that Catalonia has within the Spanish economy. In other words, with the community contributing 19% of the State’s GDP, the budgeted allocation for investments in this area is 17% of the total and in all probability (and based on the precedent that Foment denounced precisely this Monday), the figure will remain under. In any case, Catalonia is the second community to which more money is promised, only behind Andalusia.