Editorial | Regional financing

Eight autonomous communities of the Depopulated Spain They have met in Santiago de Compostela to approve a document with the criteria they defend on regional financing, whose model has expired since 2014 without neither the Government of Mariano Rajoy nor that of Pedro Sánchez having addressed its reform, although it is now beginning to open the debate on the new formula.

The autonomies gathered in Santiago have done so above political affiliations, since five of them (Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, La Rioja and Asturias) are governed by the socialists, two by the PP (Galicia and Castile and León) and Cantabria for a regionalist formation. What unites these communities is the demographics in crisis and the dispersion in front of more populated autonomies and with more important urban centers such as the Valencian Community, Andalusia or Murcia, which form a Opposing front that claims the priority of the criterion of the population for the financing model. Baleares is closer to this position, while Madrid does not decant and Catalonia it demands that the financing agreements be bilateral, something already ruled out by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero.

The main approach of the Santiago forum requires that the real cost of public services to distribute resources among the territories and not only the population volume. In this real cost they want to introduce criteria such as aging population and the population dispersion. The first would increase, where appropriate, health spending (due to a higher percentage of the population with chronic ailments) and the second, on education (school transport, for example).

It is reasonable to suggest that the definition of the real costs of jointly guaranteeing that the benefits that satisfy the basic rights of all citizens are equivalent is the central criterion when defining regional financing. As is also the case that the criteria used in this meeting are not the only ones to consider. Other communities have specific needs to cover (from the maintenance of infrastructures necessary to maintain their contribution to the creation of wealth to the green conversion of large urban centers or the integration of newly arrived groups), they assume competences that in other autonomies are borne by the State (such as prisons or citizen security) and its citizens endure a higher cost of living. Along with the criterion of solidarity, that of ordinality So that an autonomous community does not lose positions in the income ‘ranking’ due to the fact of contributing funds to the solidarity fund, it is also key to avoid weighing down the competitiveness of the entire country.

Although they assure that they do not want to make a front against the Government or against other autonomous communities – there are, therefore, comments that embassies or regional police cannot be financed – the existing discrepancy between those gathered in Santiago and the underfunded autonomies of the axis is evident. Mediterranean. While the autonomous governments logically defend the needs of their territories before party discipline, viable and inclusive proposals of diverse interests should be expected from the large national parties and the Government. The government, which wants to base the new model on the so-called “adjusted population”, cannot take much longer to specify how to make it a reality.


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