Rescuing the Autonomous Communities: It’s not only important to know the “how much”, but also the “who” and the “why” of these urgent demands

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

·     First lesson: it is politically inadequate and democratically intolerable to continue to take decisions without offering appropriate explanations, without clarifying why thousands of millions are being transferred from the Public Treasury to banking institutions or to Autonomous Communities, without citizens knowing why certain financial institutions have accrued those enormous debts or why certain Autonomous Communities are facing such an urgent lack of liquidity. Catalonia, for example, has double the population of Valencia and it is a well-known fact that Catalonia has invested in large industrial, scientific and technological installations, independently of the fact that it has also made mistakes and incurred expenditures beyond what would have been advisable, although the most important banking institution of Catalonia has been able to resist the impact of market fluctuations suffered during the last few years.

In Valencia –I’m referring to differences, the details of which I would like to know, as would the general population- there has been much unwarranted and even unlawful spending, with accusations of corruption, and two banks that have gone bankrupt with none of the guilty having been brought to justice so far, and with huge investments (I’d rather not mention the Castellon airport) in colossal sports events and in Formula 1 circuits…

I’ve written the foregoing merely because I would like for someone to quickly explain this situation, why there has been so much fuss in some cases and so little in others, why they have suddenly decided to give the same amount that these Autonomous Communities have asked for to a single institution in Madrid whose deficit exceeds 20,000 millions… or why a single bank in Galicia needs a 5,000 million euro rescue, the same amount that the Catalan community requires to meet its liquidity requirements…

·   Another lesson: a significant amount of the “rescue” funds will come from the state lottery. Thank goodness that the lottery wasn’t privatized. Thank goodness that we still have RENFE, which is now beginning to really increase in value…! I remember that only ten years ago, privatization was seen as the perfect solution. The Nation-States have been dismantled. The lesson to be learned is that this was not the best solution. The right formula is for a State to maintain a majority interest in at least all of its large public service institutions. Of a democratic State, that is.

·    Another lesson: what interest rate will the banks that have received funds at 1% from the ECB’s “open bar” charge ICO for the money intended for the Autonomous Communities? The lesson is that we must avoid this vicious circle, which we won’t understand until we know clearly and once and for all what is the interest rate to be paid and the magnitude of the recovery of the debt previously incurred by the large European institutions, and especially the German ones.

·    Another lesson: the disenchantment that citizens feel toward political parties and the Parliament is quite alarming and will not improve until these institutions start keeping citizens well-informed, especially at present when so many people face critical circumstances and are beginning to have serious problems to survive under minimum conditions. It’s better to provide timely information; it’s better to approach citizens resolutely than to progressively distance themselves, making citizens feel mislead, confused and hopeless.