Basque Country makes proposal for mediation

gl. The development in Catalonia is being watched very closely in the Basque Country. The Basque Head of Government Iņigo Urkullu of the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) is rooted in the Catholic base communities of the Basque Country and had already tried to mediate in recent months through the Archbishop of Barcelona and the abbots of the Catalan monasteries of Montserrat and Poblet. On 27 September, before the vote on 1 October, a declaration on Catalonia was adopted by the Standing Committee of the Spanish Bishops Conference, in favour of an honest dialogue and the rights of the peoples of Spain, to the annoyance of the Madrid government and almost the entire Spanish press.
Urkullu also repeatedly advised Catalan President Puigdemont not to create a hopeless situation. He spoke with the Spanish government and sent messages to Brussels. His main aim was definitely to avoid the unprecedented intervention of the central government in the autonomy of the regions.
In an interview with Radio Euskadi, Urkullu argued that Madrid should recognise the election results of 21 December and offer political solutions instead of criminal law measures. He was in favour of restoring the situation before last 6 September. On 6 September, the Catalan Parliament approved the law on the implementation of the plebiscite of 1 October.
In an interview with the Catalan newspaper “La Vanguardia”, former Basque Finance Minister Pedro Luis Uriarte, who is considered the father of Basque tax law, suggested granting Catalonia the same taxing authority as the Basque country already has today. Unlike the other autonomous communities of Spain, the Basque tax authorities collect all taxes themselves and manage their own budget independently. The Basque country pays the Madrid government an annual amount equal to its share of Spanish GDP (6.24%) to finance the central government’s tasks. The Catalan Government had refrained from such a regulation of extensive taxing authority in 1980 when negotiating the first Statute of Autonomy. Today, Uriarte sees this as a big mistake, because although the Basque country has gone a hard and risky way with the introduction of tax autonomy in an extremely difficult economic situation, but is in good shape today. On the other hand, the Catalan government is in debt today.    •

Sources: La Vanguardia from 26.11.2017 and 28.12.2017; Noticias de Gipúzkoa from 30.12.2017