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Spain is expected to pass the largest budget in its history

Spain’s lower house of parliament is expected to pass the largest budget in the country’s history after prime minister Pedro Sánchez won the support of the Catalan pro-independence party in exchange for an agreement to set quotas for Spain. regional languages ​​on digital platforms like Netflix.

The budget, which includes €27 billion in an EU recovery fund and is due to be approved on Thursday, strengthens Sánchez’s grip on power while highlighting Spain’s fragmented politics.

The agreement between the minority coalition government and the Catalan Republican Left, which also contains a promise not to renovate the police headquarters in Barcelona, ​​is only part of a budget deal with smaller parties.

Other commitments include provisions for children’s television in Basque, assistance to victims of asbestos, incentives for employers to offer a shorter work week and greater regulation of artificial intelligence.

Máriam Martínez-Bascuñán, a political scientist at the Autonomous University of Madrid, says the budget has become a “marketplace” where “everything is auctioned, rather than negotiated based on the economic crisis economy caused by Covid or how to manage [EU] fund”.

But she added that it was a success for Sánchez, “due to divisions in parliament”, where the coalition had only 155 out of 350 seats.

She said that even if the government lacks votes for a future budget, it could extend the 2022 budget by one year and thus end the mandate at the end of 2023.

The Catalan left, whose 13 delegates are key supporters of the government despite the party’s pro-independence stance, hailed the deal which would make companies like Netflix offer at least 6% of their programming. in Catalan, Basque or Galician languages.

One EU directive asked such platforms to provide “30% market share of European content in their catalog”.

Gabriel Rufián, a leading left-wing Catalan MP, also praised the government’s commitment not to renovate the police headquarters in central Barcelona, ​​which he says should become a museum commemorating its role as ” torture center” during the fascist rule of Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.

The budget is also supported by EH Bildu, a far-left Basque separatist party led by Arnaldo Otegi, a former member of the disbanded terrorist group Eta.

Pablo Casado, leader of the main opposition People’s party, said the deal with Bildu would “coagulate” the Eta victims and show that Spain’s ruling Socialists had “lost their souls”. democracy”.

“Except for the right, which always says no to everything. . . María Jesús Montero, Spain’s budget minister.

The use of EU funds in next year’s budget is central to the economic and political strategy of the Socialist Party-led government after a year in which the use of its resources has fallen below expected level, with Spain. lag behind the rest of the bloc in post-pandemic recovery.

According to the government’s budget outline, 3.2 billion euros of EU funds will go towards industrial policy next year, 2.8 billion euros for energy efficiency for buildings, 2.2 billion euros for systems. green transport and 2.1 billion euros in aid for small and medium enterprises.

The government has said it will make more than 40 billion euros in overall investment – the largest in Spanish history – out of the total central government’s budget of 196 billion euros. When social security is included and transfers to regional governments, government spending rises to 459 billion euros.

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