This Tuesday, around noon, the CUP will announce the result of the vote it opened on Sunday night among party members to decide what position to take with regard to the budget bill presented by the Catalan government for the year 2022. Everything suggests that the anti-capitalist party will give a clear response: it will present a full rejection of the budget bill but will express its will to continue negotiating to change this position, if in the end an agreement is reached, before the plenary session of Parliament to be held on Monday 22nd. Until then, if the result of the CUP vote turns out as predicted, everything would continue in the air and the final response would still be awaited.
The Catalan government has both actively and passively expressed its will to come to agreement with the CUP as its preferred partner in the legislature, since it facilitated the investiture of the Pere Aragonès government. It has done so even within the last few hours, when reaching an agreement with the Socialists of the PSC or the left-wing Comuns would have been relatively easy. Despite this, the economy and finance minister, Jaume Giró, has prioritized the anti-capitalists and has addressed demands from the CUP that were not straightforward at the beginning of the negotiations. But the CUP has prioritized playing its cards in front of the gallery rather than reaching a deal. The party is in its right to adopt the strategy that interests it most but opposition to the public accounts that have been presented would be, in practice, like breaking the legislature pact. As Julius Caesar said, alea iacta est.
Addressing a hypothetical no from the CUP on the budget is not at all straightforward. Especially because the result of the enormous effort of mobilization to reach a 52% pro-independence vote in the February 14th elections should never have been this. But until the last moment the government has the obligation to try to get the public accounts through as for that reason it accepted the enormous responsibility of taking charge of the country's political direction. The 5.62 billion euro rise that appears in the budget proposal presented to Parliament, representing record spending, highly concentrated in social areas, must not be lost, as the citizens of Catalonia need it.
Because a failure to pass the budget in the Catalan chamber means this - that it would be necessary to continue with an extension of the 2020 budget, and those extra 5.62 billion euros would end up fully in the hands of the Spanish state as the repayment of the debt that the Catalan government contracted. In other words, in addition to the fiscal deficit that the state has with Catalonia, of about 18 billion euros a year, disagreement leading to a failure to pass the budget would mean that Barcelona would effectively send Madrid a non-refundable cheque for 5.62 billion. Just great.
Having arrived at the crossroads where one arrow points to the need to govern, and the other does too, the Catalan executive must do just that, govern. Because political attrition cannot take precedence over the needs of citizens. The public servant cannot cut corners. The matter has, whatever the circumstances, awkward aspects, problems and, perhaps, misunderstandings too. But nothing would be worse for the Catalan people than the dumping off the edge of the cliff of the government bill when it is, without a doubt, the best budget possible.