The Government of Spain has announced this Tuesday an agreement with the Generalitat for the expansion of the El Prat airport, endowed with an investment of 1,700 million euros. The Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, has framed this project as one of the fundamental points of the economic recovery after the pandemic and the main topic discussed in the Bilateral Commission between both administrations.
Although the minister has not given a calendar around the plan, she has stressed that it will be approved in the Council of Ministers on September 30, a step prior to its transfer to the European Commission. According to the Executive’s calculations, it will create 365,000 jobs (83,000 direct) and will transform the axis of Barcelona and Madrid into one of the most important hubs in the world. Although the transfer of management to Catalonia was one of the 56 demands raised, Rodríguez has assured that this extreme “has not been the object” of the meeting.
As ABC has been reporting, the Generalitat has raised in the commission a huge battery of proposals for transfers and transfers from the State to Catalonia, plus accumulating powers in exchange for nothing. His approach to maximums encompasses around fifty applications, divided into three blocks: transfers, transfers and “breaches” of the Government. Thus, Catalonia requests the management of El Prat, that the Mossos d’Esquadra take charge of the protection of nature, to the detriment of the Seprona unit of the Civil Guard, or assume executive functions for the Catalan Traffic Service on the circulation of vehicles and road safety. Also the security of the airport of Alguaire (Lleida) and that the Mossos are ordinary police of the port of Palamós (Gerona). The Generalitat aspires, among other issues, to have Civil Protection in charge of nuclear safety powers and other “residual functions” that still remain with the General State Administration.
Another claim has to do with the Catalan Data Protection Authority taking on the functions of registration and control authority in personal data in private files and exercising functions of ordering and managing the coastline. In the field of education, it also asks to manage scholarships, credits and grants for university and non-university studies and competences in research, development and innovation.
Also the historical claim of Catalanism that the Government of the nation comply with the Third Additional Provision of the Statute, relative to the investments of the State in Catalonia and that the Constitutional Court declared that it is not mandatory for the central Administration. The Catalan delegation demands more investment for the Dependency law, the Cercanías network and in the Mossos.
The Bilateral Commission emerged from the meeting that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and his autonomous counterpart in Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, recently held at the Palacio de La Moncloa. Both leaders pledged to resume this meeting between the two administrations to address issues related to transfers, as well as the Dialogue Table, which is scheduled to meet in September.
The meeting took place just a few hours after the Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, discussed the details of the plan sent to Brussels with all the communities at the Recovery Plan Sector Conference. The Generalitat’s premise at all times is that the management of the funds must be dealt with bilaterally and, in fact, it left its participation in the joint meeting on the air until the last moment. So much so that the secretary for Economic Affairs and European Funds, Marta Villarroya, did not connect until after an hour and a half of the meeting.
Be that as it may, the truth is that President Pere Aragonés has already absent himself from the Conference of Presidents last Friday and his position does not seem to vary. The Catalan Executive insists that this issue does not have to be addressed jointly. The Sánchez government, however, assures that it has not dealt with this issue individually during this afternoon’s bilateral session.