The Local. ‘Catalonia’s welfare state depends on deficit relief’. 12.06.2013
Spain’s heavily indebted region of Catalonia, which is facing a resurgent separatist movement, demanded on Tuesday that the central government lift its budget deficit target for this year to protect social services.
Madrid wants the country’s 17 regions, which are responsible for providing healthcare and education services, to lower their budget deficit to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product this year from an average of 1.7 percent last year.
The reduction is crucial to Spain’s campaign to lower the nation’s overall public deficit and meet targets agreed with Brussels.
But Catalonia has yet to present a 2013 budget and Catalan president Artur Mas said Tuesday his government would not be able to table one unless Madrid raises the deficit limit.
“If we prepare a budget based on the figure which Madrid has given us, it would mean the end of the welfare state in Catalonia,” he said.
Catalonia, which accounts for one-fifth of Spain’s output, has already slashed its budget deficit from 4.57 percent in 2010 to 1.96 percent.
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