By Deirdre Tynan • 25 June 2021 • 16:30
President of the Junta de Andalucia Juanma Moreno.
Image: Junta de Andalucia
The President of Andalucia, Juanma Moreno, will address the first plenary session of parliament in Sevilla on July 7. He is expected to reiterate calls for a nation-wide shake up in regional funding and urge other autonomous regions to join forces to demand changes from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Moreno will also call for “maximum collaboration and coordination” between the different regions as he joins forces with his counterpart in Valencia to pressure the government into making changes to Spain’s regional financing model which has been in place since 2009.
The current system, Moreno says, is short-changing Andalucia millions every day and has led to a cumulative debt of more than 10 billion euros.
He is also likely to stress that there can be no national recovery for Spain if Andalucia does not receive “adequate financial resources”.
Moreno, whose influence within his own centre-right party – the Partido Popular (PP) – is growing, is seeking alliances beyond the PP to compel the government to overhaul the current regional financing system.
This includes reaching out to his socialist counterpart in Valencia, Ximo Puig, to form an unlikely political partnership to secure regional financing reform. Both autonomous communities claim they are missing out on billions in funding from Madrid.
Earlier this week, Puig accepted an invitation to travel to the San Telmo Palace in Sevilla, the seat of Andalucia’s regional government, in September, in a move that has surprised observers as Spain’s political environment becomes ever more heated.
Puig said on June 22, “Institutionality is above partisanship” and he pledged that he and Moreno will “work together” to achieve the national-level reforms.
“The interests regarding the financing of the Valencian Community are quite consistent with those of Andalucia. The autonomous communities are a fundamental part of the state, the presidents have to look far beyond partisanship. I have always said that I represent all Valencians, not a specific party,” he added.
Puig and Moreno met on the side-lines of an economic forum in Barcelona last week just hours before Moreno travelled to Madrid for a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
According to Moreno, Madrid has owed money to Andalucia since 2009 at a rate of €4 million every day. The debt now stands at €10.8 billion, he said.
After a tense meeting in La Moncloa on June 18, Moreno told reporters, “Andalucia does not want to be ‘above’ anyone, but we will never tolerate being ‘below’ anyone. This is absolutely urgent. We cannot take much longer. We have looking for money under stones and trying to balance the accounts permanently.”
However, the Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero, who was previously the Andalucian regional Minister of Finance, refuted Moreno’s claim and demanded that Moreno use his influence within the PP to seek an agreement on financing reforms within the party.
Any change in the financing system has to be voted on as an organic law in Congress, and the ruling PSOE are reluctant to hold a vote on it if they do not first have guaranteed support from the PP.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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