In two weeks’ time, on December 16, the Spanish Treasury will pay the Catalan government €3,034M out of the Spanish Regional Liquidity Fund (FLA, in Spanish). It will pay it out in one lump sum rather than in ten easy installments, unlike what the provisions published in Spain’s official bulletin (BOE) initially indicated.
It’s worth noting that December 16 is only four days before the Spanish elections, which doesn’t change the fact that —according to opinion polls— the PP is unlikely to do well in Catalonia. It’s also worth noting that during the time between the initial announcement of the deferred payments and yesterday’s final statement, Catalan Finance minister Mas-Colell and his deputy have had to utter phrases such as “lighting a candle”, “getting down on our knees” and “running a 100m dash”. Once Rajoy’s government realised that we had acknowledged the humiliation, they deigned to turn the tap on. That’s it.
Even on a theme as worn out as harassing Catalonia, the latest FLA incident —with a takeover of the Catalan government’s finances— can easily be classed as a form of abuse by the state of its citizens. It is making a mockery of their tax efforts. It is a breach of the social contract. In countries where there is a long democratic tradition, Montoro’s deed would be deemed outrageous because you just cannot mess around with tax money.
During these days, both minister Montoro and vice president Sáenz de Santamaría have spoken thoughtlessly, like a sports pundit who justifies the kicking of a footballer by an opponent (1). The have eulogised the punishment of a rebellious region, with arrogant, conceited delight. And they have called all that a “measured” response. And they still fail to understand the reasons why two million Catalans think that they would be better off in an independent country.
(1) N.T. This refers to a sports controversy stirred by two former Real Madrid players who now work as sports commentators and recently claimed that it was ok for other players to kick Barça striker Neymar.