|Andreu Mas-Colell, Miniter of Economy|
Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalonia’s minister of economy, responded to the New York Times article published last December, where the writer blames the Spanish autonomous regions for the Spanish debt, citing as evidence of wasted resources the construction of a prison in Figueres, which was completed but is now out of service.
The minister explains that it is the Spanish government who has the power to regulate taxation and spending, and insists that the solution to the debt problems must be coordinated between the administrations. Also, he stresses that it is the Catalan government who, for a year now, has made it a priority to put in place austerity measures to control public spending. Mas-Colell says that the autonomous regions should not be the ones who go forward with austerity measures, and explains that not everyone in Spain has accepted the decentralized model that was agreed to during the Spanish transition to democracy.
Here is the letter
To the Editor:
"Regional Debts Add Woe in Spain" (front page, Dec. 31) placed excessive responsibility on the regions for the fiscal problems of Spain. In truth, the largest public budget and deficit and most of the regulatory power over fiscal and expenditure issues lie with the central Spanish administration.
The matter is a sensitive one, as not everyone in Spain is reconciled to the post-Franco transformation of the country. There is now the temptation, with the economic crisis as an excuse, to turn back the clock. On the contrary, what the situation demands is a concerted effort by central and regional administrations for the success of fiscal consolidation.
The year-old, austerity-minded government of Catalonia is looking forward to working with the new Spanish government in furthering this aim.
Barcelona, January 9th, 2012