The Catalan Republican Left (ERC), governing party in Catalonia and partner of the Pedro Sánchez government in Madrid, has reached a deal with the Spanish executive to transfer 900 million euros so that the Catalan government can itself carry out the long-demanded key investments in Catalonia in the rail and road sector. This is an amendment to the Spanish budget bill that ERC has agreed on with the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, thus creating a new mechanism to guarantee that the state investments budgeted for Catalonia are actually carried out. This has been one of the major requests that ERC has put to the Spanish government in recent months.
Among the elements included in this deal are the execution of motorway works in the Maresme resulting from the transfer to Catalan control of the N-II route, with a multi-year contribution from the state of 384 million euros. There is also an agreement on works to improve the connectivity of the major AP2 and AP7 motorways, with a multi-year contribution of up to 250 million. Similarly, an agreement for the execution of the Pyrenean axis route will be made effective with a multi-year budget item of 260 million euros. Finally, the deal will also include the execution of rail interchanges between the state-owned rail network and that of the Catalan government.
ERC also reports that its parliamentary team in the Congress of Deputies has reach agreement with the Spanish government for a state contribution of 40 million euros to Barcelona's Metropolitan Transport Authority to finance passenger transport, 60 million euros for the audiovisual hub Catalunya Media City in Barcelona, 7 million euros for scientific research, and 43 million euros for energy transition actions in connection with the Mossos d'Esquadra police, affecting both buildings and vehicles.
The list of elements included in the deal goes on: ERC has also reached political agreement with the the Madrid authorities to transfer the management of the Ebre Delta to Catalan hands, in addition to promoting a commission and a working table to study the investments needed to preserve the Delta. An investment of 7 million euros has also been agreed to guarantee the viability of the agri-food science and technology park in Lleida, 1 million euros for the equipment of the library at the Casa de Cultura, a cultural centre in Girona, and 2 million for bridge construction at the Entrevies industrial estate in Tarragona. The budget pact also includes transactional amendments that will benefit cities such as Figueres, Manresa, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Terrassa, and others.
"The establishment of this mechanism to guarantee the state's investments in Catalonia is a great achievement to correct the historical lack of investment suffered by Catalans", asserts the ERC budget spokesperson in Congress, Joan Margall, also affirming that the party wants "more tools as a country to help people, to make their lives easier". "Any area of sovereignty that we conquer is a step forward", he adds.