The government will implement over 1,500 measures in its social and economic, green, feminist and democratic policies
848 measures and 720 subsidiary measures to make four great transformations a reality in socio-economic, green, feminist and democratic policy. That is the structure of the ambitious government plan approved by the New Republican Generalitat, led by President Pere Aragonès in the fourteenth legislature. This government plan fulfils the commitments made at his investiture.
As government spokeswoman Patrícia Plaja explained today at a press conference, “the Government presents a plan today with over 1,500 measures, all of them with a shared DNA, that is, improving the daily lives of Catalans, their quality of life and their future,” she said. “We place the most needy at the centre of our policies, we fight all aspects of inequality and we promote the Catalan model of knowledge and culture, health and business,” she said. All in all, we aim “to transform, to shake up the country” after the pandemic crisis. At the same time, the government will work to resolve the political conflict with Spain, said Ms Plaja, “to make Catalonia an independent state and establish the Catalan Republic.”
Among the chief measures in the plan are free education from 0 to 3 years; a 5 billion euro increase in the public health budget over the next five years and the allocation of 25% of the health budget to primary care; an increase in budget allocation for housing policies to 1 billion euros a year, increasing the public housing stock by at least 5,000 homes a year; an increased allocation to Culture to reach 2% of the overall budget. All of these are Socio-Economic measures.
Also particularly noteworthy among the Feminist are measures such as the Strategy for Period Equity and the draft Transgender Bill; on the Democratic side are the digitalization of election processes and the integration of all emergency services; and in Green Transformation, the National Pact for the Energy Transition stands out.
The Democratic transformation: “quality government and a democratic benchmark for the world”
The primary domain of the plan is the Democratic transformation, whose main objective is the resolution of the political conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish state with the impetus of a negotiating table between the two governments. In this process, Ms Plaja recalled, “the Catalan Government’s proposal is putting an end to repression and the exercise of the right to self-determination with a referendum.” This part likewise envisages the deployment of an efficient, modern, professional public administration at the service of the people. In this regard, the following specific actions stand out:
- The creation of a regulatory framework that will provide the digitalization of election processes, especially to facilitate the right to vote of Catalan citizens abroad.
- The creation of an Open Data Portal of Catalonia which is to pool the open data of the public, private and civic sectors in Catalonia.
- Consolidate and strengthen the network of Government delegations abroad to ensure transversal, coordinated and effective foreign action. “Catalonia’s international presence is indispensable; and the three key concepts that will guide the Government’s foreign action during this parliament are Presence, Influence and Commitment” said Ms Plaja.
- In the area of prison policy, an agreement with the Department of Health to ensure mental health care and prevention of addiction and suicides; also the drafting and execution of a specific plan for women in prison in Catalonia.
- Finally, ensuring an integrated response from all emergency services, including 112 emergency response, fire service, medical emergencies and technical services competent in the various risks. Also achieving the European goal of halving the number of deaths in road accidents by 2030.
Social and economic transformation: “for a country respectful of rights and welfare, and with a digital and entrepreneurial economy”
The second domain, Social and Economic transformation, deals with key issues for the Government, such as ensuring a strong Catalan educational model, a public health service that reduces inequalities, access to and continuity in decent housing and work, and the promotion of the Catalan culture and language.
It therefore includes the above mentioned key measures of gradual progress towards free education between 0 and 3 years; an increase in the public health budget by an additional 5 billion euros over the next five years, and allocation of 25% of the health budget to primary care; an increase in the budget for housing policies to 1 billion euros a year, increasing the public housing stock by at least 5,000 homes a year; and assigning 2% of the overall budget to Culture.
Other measures include:
- Strengthening the linguistic model of the education system and increasing the use of Catalan, and Occitan in the Aran Valley, as key vehicular languages. Also in relation to the language, promotion of the National Pact for the Language to once again ensure the normalization of Catalan.
- Prioritizing mental health care, with an €80 million increase in the budget. And deploying the Suicide Prevention Plan 2021-2025.
- In the field of social rights, expanding policies aimed at the most vulnerable persons and families to reduce poverty, especially child poverty, social exclusion and inequality, so for example ensuring access of the vulnerable to basic household supplies; and implementing the Universal Basic Income Pilot Plan.
- Recovering 100% of the 3,000 homes that Spain’s SAREB bad bank holds in Catalonia, as well as homes owned by financial institutions.
- Creating a Catalan audiovisual hub, a research and production facility for the audiovisual, video game and digital culture sectors, attracting both international and local projects.
- A new National Pact for Industry in Catalonia to facilitate a significant leap forward in competitiveness, sustainability, gender equality and digitalisation.
- Promoting a crash programme for active employment, especially for groups with greater difficulty in accessing the world of labour.
The Green transformation: “for a green, balanced and interconnected country”
Preserving the environment is also a priority and a determined commitment of the Government. The Green transformation, divided into the areas of climate action; rural and marine agendas and agri-food policy; and territorial structuring, includes such measures as:
- Development of the National Pact for the Energy Transition incorporating political organizations, civil society, businesses, citizens and unions, in order to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050.
- Expand the public transport network of all rail operators to increase service frequency and improve intermodality and sustainability.
- Work to undertake governance of all infrastructures in Catalonia, with the transfer of the management of the airports of El Prat, Girona and Reus, the entire road and railway infrastructures, and the ports of Barcelona and Tarragona to the Catalan administration.
- Create a public energy provider: the public administration must participate in the ownership of new renewable energy plants and in citizens’ renewable energy collectives; enter into the administration of hydroelectric power stations when their concessions expire; and coordinate and participate in the management of electric vehicle recharging services.
- Approve and promote the comprehensive conservation and recovery plan for the Llobregat River Delta, thus complying with the European Commission’s letter of May 2021 calling for the protection of the delta.
- Foster public and sustainable water management, and also work to promote the circular economy to achieve zero waste. Patrícia Plaja explained that work is already under way on a new law on the prevention and management of waste and the efficient use of resources.
The Feminist transformation: “for a country that guarantees human rights”
Pere Aragonès’ Government shows its feminist nature in its composition, in its commitments and in its actions. The transformation must make equality between men and women effective, guaranteeing the rights of all persons, and will mean applying such measures as:
- Bringing into effect the Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination Act, passed by the last parliament.
- Drafting a Catalan Transgender Bill for the right to free self-determination of gender to be effective in all walks of life.
- Also drawing up a bill to amend the Effective Equality of Women and Men Act 17/2015 in order to improve the mandatory nature of the measures, incorporate monitoring and evaluation indicators, and review the system of penalties.
- Implementing specific employment plans for women, with special attention to young women, trans* women, women in the field of care work, and women over 45.
- Developing a national strategy for co-responsibility, the reappraisal of care and the reassessment of time management.
- Reinforcing the care services network for women suffering gender-based violence, and developing specific tools to address violence against women in absolutely all walks of life.
- Fostering a Period Equity Strategy to guarantee sexual and reproductive rights.
Finally, beyond the policy content, the Republican Government Plan introduces one particular innovation, which in the words of Ms Plaja “makes the commitment of this Government to accountability explicit, and in this regard the plan incorporates a system of monitoring and evaluation through reference indicators that will allow the public to know first hand how progress is being made in the execution of the measures adopted.”