I can't think of any time in the recent history of Catalonia when the Spanish state has let its disguise fall off in such an uncomplexed way and has decided, using all the resources at its disposal, to dismantle all of the distinguishing hallmarks of Catalan identity, starting with the language. Nor do I remember a time when every day there was so much bad news for Catalonia centred on the Spanish state: from the espionage against the pro-independence leaders to the judicial persecution of the Catalan health department leadership for the vaccinations of National Police and Civil Guard officers; and in the middle, the provisional suspension of the first cases of espionage using Pegasus, targeting the former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent, and the former minister, Ernest Maragall. Nor am I able to recall an example of maltreatment, to describe it in mild terms, of a Catalan party willing to negotiate its parliamentary support in Congress with the Spanish government and whose result has been, at least up till now, a failure so absolute and so embarrassing.
The latest example, which appeared this Monday, is devastating, as was the previous one, last week with the Spanish audiovisual law. In both instances, the protagonist and victim has been the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), which cannot have been sufficiently astute in judging the support it gave to the 2021 Spanish government budget - supposedly in exchange for progress in the dialogue table, that never took place - nor of considering in advance the consequences of non-compliance by Pedro Sánchez. Last week we learned that the votes for the 2022 budget had been handed over in return for nothing and that the final result was a law that centralizes, has scant respect for languages other than Spanish and changes the protection of independent production companies into support for Spain's two major television conglomerates.
But that was not all. On Monday we also learned about the grave status of the execution of investments planned in Catalonia for 2021, of which the Spanish state only executed a third, 35.8% of what was committed in the public accounts. According to figures from the Spanish treasury, this translates into 739.8 million euros of the 2,068 million planned in the government budget. In percentage terms, Catalonia was the autonomous community most affected. At the opposite extreme is Madrid, and it is not that the region centred on the Spanish capital saw the execution of 100% of the planned budget spending. No, in this case, the state invested 184% of what was budgeted! Where 1,229 million euros were to have been spent, the actual figure dished out was 2,089 million euros. Yes, this from the self-titled "most progressive government in the history of Spain" and the champion of standing up for the autonomous regions against the centralising right of the PP and Vox.
If we look back for a minute, we see that, for example, from 2013 to 2020, the state's actual budget execution in Catalonia has averaged 67.1%, accumulating a deficit of approximately 3,070 million euros between the investment budgeted and what was finally spent. But in 2021, this 67.1% average dropped to 35.8%. The figures are even more scandalous if we go to the public administrations' investment deficit in Catalan infrastructures, where the total shortfall reaches 35 billion euros in 12 years according to employers association Foment del Treball, never suspected of being close to the independence movement.
At another moment in history, the capacity for mobilization of Catalan society when there is discrimination as demonstrable as the territorialized investment by the Spanish state would bring all the political parties and economic sectors out together. Perhaps they would achieve nothing, but, at least, they would demonstrate that there is some intelligent resistance to the humiliation that Catalonia is suffering in the form of the deliberate impoverishment of the country that inevitably translates into the ill-treatment of the people of Catalonia no matter who they voted for. When king Felipe V promulgated the 1716 Nueva Planta decree, under which the laws and institutions of Catalonia were abolished, special attention was paid to the subject of the suppression of the Catalan language and he wrote that a period of time would be needed to achieve the objective since the Catalans "are lovers of the things of their country, and that is why it seems advantageous to give instructions and provisions on this that are very mild and veiled, so that the effect is achieved without the care being noticed" now it seems that, with another Bourbon, Felipe VI, this care is no longer necessary and three hundred years later those instructions and provisions could well be rewritten in "so that the effect is achieved and the care is noticed". Above all, let it be noticed.