Spain passes biggest ever budget

by Deborah Cater
Largest ever budget goes to Senate for approval

The chamber of deputies in Spain approved the biggest budget in the country’s history. The budget includes €27billion of EU recovery funds.

After receiving support from a Catalan pro-independence party, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was able to push through Spain’s largest ever budget this week.

Including €27bn in EU recovery funds, the budget had the backing of a majority 188 votes in the chamber. It now passes to the Senate for final approval.

Number of promises to receive Catalan backing

The agreement between the minority coalition government and the Catalan Republican Left, contained a number of promises. They included: a deal setting a quota for regional languages on digital platforms such as Netflix; a promise not to renovate a police headquarters in Barcelona;  provisions for children’s television in the Basque language; greater regulation of artificial intelligence; help for victims of asbestos; and incentives for employers offering a shorter working week.

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The Catalan Left provide crucial support for the government despite the party’s pro-independence stance. They were positive over the deal to make companies such as Netflix offer at least 6% of their programming in the Catalan, Basque or Galician languages.

“With the exception of the right, which always says no to everything . . . the rest of the parties in the chamber have made an effort to further understanding,” said María Jesús Montero, Spain’s budget minister.

Budget outline

According to a government budget outline, €3.2bn of the EU funds will go to industrial policy next year. A further €2.8bn is earmarked for energy efficiency of buildings, while €2.2bn goes to green transport systems. A further €2.1bn is aid for small and medium enterprises.

Overall, there will be over €40bn in investments, from a total budget of €196bn. Add to that social security and transfers to regional authorities, and the total rises to €459bn.

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