The Catalan entrepreneurs attending this Saturday's closing session of the annual Cercle d'Economia business gatherings in Sitges will have a new opportunity to tell the Spanish government about their discomfort with the poor treatment that Catalonia receives year after year from the state in the spending area known as the territorialized investment of the Spanish development ministry, an area which has a major effect on infrastructures. The visit of acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez should be used for this purpose, in a forum which in the past was very demanding on this type of question, as a point of pride, and which has slowly eased up on such demands, justifying itself with some strange arguments: for example, that by keeping quiet, it won't be confused with the independence movement.
The moment, however, could not be more opportune. IGAE, Spain's public accounting comptroller, has just announced that in 2018 Catalonia received 10.4% of all state investment, which is the lowest percentage since 2015, when the figure was 8.4%. What does this percentage tell us? Basically, two things: that the figure for Catalonia is not aligned with its weighting in the GDP of the Spanish state as a whole, which is 19%, nor with its population, which is 16% of the total. In fact, the state only carried out 57.7% of the investment budgeted for Catalonia last year, when the Spanish average stood at 75%.
At this point it is worthwhile mentioning another economic element that is also key for the Catalan economy: the financing of its autonomous community government, whose model long ago ceased to be current and which is especially damaging to Catalonia. It was supposed to be renovated in 2013. In November 2017, the then-opposition leader Pedro Sánchez pompously declared in Valencia that he gave Mariano Rajoy until December to propose a new system. Rajoy left office, Sanchez arrived and the new financing system is neither ready nor expected. Meanwhile, there have been promises of multi-million-euro windfalls and magic budgets that for one reason or another never end up coming to fruition. Of course, the easiest thing to do - and, undoubtedly, the most comfortable - is to always look towards the Catalan government, an administration which, with its hands tied, is continually asked to deliver responses that can really only be offered, in the current political situation, by an independent state.
Investment and autonomous financing are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is none other than the mistreatment that the people of Catalonia receive. Not the pro-independence people of Catalonia, but all of them; those who vote for other ideological options too, but have their business bases in Catalonia. Those in Sitges this Saturday are also just as buffeted in the areas that affect them directly: in their exports, in their energy prices and in the endemic deficiency of the infrastructures, to give three examples. Because, in the end, the failure to keep agreements and the general bad faith end up being, however you look at it, an unbearable burden for the entire population.