When Puig met Rajoy
By Dave Jones FUNDING of the Valencia region was top of the agenda when regional president Ximo Puig met Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last week in the Moncloa Palace in Madrid.
Sr Puig offered up a long list of reforms which his coalition wants to see introduced to the national system for financing Spain’s regions.
The current arrangement provides more money for disadvantaged regions and comparatively less for others such as Valencia.
He told Sr Rajoy that a new model ‘is absolutely necessary’ for Valencia to be able to offer public services which are on a par with the national average.
The regional president noted that the frontline services of education, healthcare and social services had suffered the largest cuts due the economic crisis which has affected the country since 2008.
Sr Puig said that the system has to be reformed to ‘guarantee sufficient funding’ for the regions so they can carry out their obligations and functions.
“We need a system which allows us to carry out our fundamental role, which is maintaining and running the welfare state,” he said.
At the same time, Sr Puig said that he was in favour of a ‘great political accord’ which would include all political parties with parliamentary representation in Spain and all the regions.
His proposal handed to the PM is based on ‘four pillars’ – adequate financial resources; equilibrium between the regions; fiscal autonomy; and a ‘sharing’ of the public debt.
During the meeting Sr Puig also brought up the lack of investment by the national government in Valencia ‘which is limiting growth in the region’.
He said the tête-à-tête had allowed him to ‘open a channel of dialogue’ over the state budget for 2018.
To this end, he will also be meeting minister for infrastructure Íñigo de la Serna in the coming weeks to discuss important projects such as the Mediterranean corridor transport highway, which includes road and rail links from France to Andalucía.
Sr Puig thanked the PM for his commitment to the goal of drawing up a new model of regional funding.
Mariano Rajoy (left) welcomes Ximo Puig to the Moncloa Palace