When Puig met Pedro
State investment set to increase for the Valencia region
REGIONAL president Ximo Puig met Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid last week to discuss issues relating to the Valencia region.
With both leaders hailing from the Socialist party (PSOE), Sr Puig was hopeful of being able to improve on the stonewalling which had come from the previous Partido Popular (PP) government led by Mariano Rajoy.
After spending more than two hours with the PM, Sr Puig gave a press conference in which he highlighted the ‘political will of Sr Sánchez to end the marginalisation of the Valencia region’.
He said the PM had vowed to reserve 10% of investment set aside for all Spanish regions in the 2019 state budget for Valencia.
This would mean the region would receive proportionally more funds than in previous years.
“This is the government putting its promises into practice,” stated Sr Puig.
“They are acting to put an end to the unfair treatment that we have received.”
Sr Puig also revealed that Sr Sánchez is working to reach an agreement with all the regions in Spain to change how monies are allocated, which would halt underfunding for Valencia.
He added: “Sr Sánchez understands the difficulties that he will face in order to approve a budget for 2019.”
This is because the PSOE is ruling in minority in the national parliament and requires the support of a number of other parties to pass a state budget.
Although Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has promised his party’s votes, Catalan nationalist leader Quim Torra has linked their endorsement to the holding of a referendum on independence.
Sr Puig highlighted that they also talked about Valencia’s crippling public debt of more than €40 billion which, in the main, was run up by previous PP administrations ruling the region.
His coalition government has been angling for the state to write off part of the debt as it eats into the monies which Valencia has available to operate public services and invest in infrastructure projects.
“Sr Sánchez said he would examine the question and he will give an answer as soon as possible,” explained Sr Puig.
He noted that the PSOE government has also vowed to increase funding by 50% for the region to help people who care for sick or disabled relatives.
Regarding Alicante province, Sr Puig revealed that the government will support the instalment of the centre for studies on ageing in the city.
He also noted that Castellón airport will be declared a ‘public service’ and will be taken over by state airport operator AENA.