The persistence of the CUP in its veto of the Catalan budget with impossible demands has led to the Comuns coming into play this Wednesday to rescue the Generalitat government's accounts. With the clock already in added time, since it is on Monday that Parliament will debate the motions to reject the budget, the government needs a handful of votes so that the budgets are not thrown out and their parliamentary trajectory can continue. En Comú Podem, with eight deputies, one fewer than the CUP, can arithmetically play the same role in the vote as the anti-capitalist, pro-independence party. However, politically speaking, everyone knows that it is by no means the same to push the budget forward with one political group as with the other.
The CUP has been twisting the government's arm so much, with demands that the executive cannot accept, such as definitively renouncing the Pyrenees-Barcelona candidacy for the Winter Olympics, ignoring the commitment already made to hold a consultation of the people of the Pyrenean areas; complete withdrawal of the Hard Rock project for the expansion of the Port Aventura theme park zone in the Tarragona region; opposition to the expansion of Barcelona's airport and port, and of any project that involves passenger growth; paralysis of the renewal of the Formula 1 contract at the Montmeló motor racing circuit; and an increase in personal income tax on annual incomes between 60,000 and 90,000 euros. All this as part of a broad package which is designed, obviously, to block negotiations as they know full well that there is no room for a set of demands that, in practice, would mean turning the entire draft budget inside out.
It is clear, in plain sight, that the agreement reached by the CUP and ERC for the investiture of Pere Aragonès was not clear enough to avoid everything exploding after a few months, as is happening. Because, deep down, that’s what it is. The majority that voted for the formation of the Aragonès government has been broken and it is not clear, beyond the budget, where the parliamentary votes needed to guarantee a minimum stability in the legislature are going to reside. This also has a practical consequence: Aragonès's commitment to submit to a no-confidence motion in the middle of the legislature is extinguished by the CUP's breach of the accords that made possible the investiture.
Perhaps the only good news in all this is that the chances of the budget passing are still high as the Comuns are willing, or so it appears, to reach an agreement that seems easier for the government to accept than the demands of the CUP. There is also the precedent of the agreement reached in 2020. For now, the group left out is the Catalan Socialists (PSC), which played its cards cunningly, so that their willingness to talk about budget questions cannot be denied, far removed from the harsh and conflictive attitude of Ciudadanos in the previous legislature, which in its capacity as winner of the elections opted for a frontal and radical opposition to everything.
The Socialists, on the other hand, wear a velvet glove and Salvador Illa keeps his hand outstretched despite the government's continued refusals. In any case - as I pointed out at the beginning of the issue - the government's priority partner was the CUP and only if the anti-capitalists renounced this role would that be changed in order to push the budget through with another party. The price for the CUP's mistake must not be paid by the majority of citizens who want the budget to move forward, nor by the whole of the independence movement, surprised, once again, that it always ends up back where it started from.