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Rebel mayors mobilize to get an extra 8,400 million in the 2021 Budgets


The rebel mayors charge again. The 31 municipalities that managed to twist the arm of the Government are now preparing two amendments to the General State Budgets to demand an extra 8,411 million euros to avoid the bankruptcy of many consistories.

This is revealed to EL MUNDO by sources of the group of mayors who have united against the Ministry of Finance, within the framework of the Resilient, digital and sustainable European Conference. Cities in the recovery plan, organized by this newspaper and the Zaragoza City Council, with the sponsorship of Telefonica, Ibercaja Foundation and the Zaragoza Chamber of Commerce.

What these municipalities want is for the Budgets to include a plan of aid worth 4,000 million for 2021, after the Treasury left them without the 5,000 million fund for 2020 that they demanded. In addition, they will demand an “unconditional” fund of 1,000 million euros to pay for public transport, since the lack of passengers and the investment to adapt it to the pandemic has left many councils on the brink of bankruptcy.

Finally, these mayors want to demand that municipalities participate more of the European funds against the coronavirus. If the Government wants to give them 4.3% of the total (1,489 million), they demand 14.16%. In other words, the percentage that local entities make up in national public spending. This would raise the figure by 3,411 million, to 4,900.

In this way, the extra they claim amounts to 8,411 million, only for 2021. It should be noted that these mayors represent 13 political formations, from the PP to En ComÃ, through ERC, JxCAT or Ciudadanos. Hence its strength, since its parties make up the absolute majority of the Government, with the help of Vox. In fact, they have already won the vote against the royal decree of the local remnants in Congress, in what was a painful parliamentary defeat for the Executive.

The mayor of Là rida (ERC) will be in charge of convincing the mayors of the parties “of the investiture”, and Jorge Azcón, mayor of Zaragoza, will be the one who brings together the vote of the opposition parties. If they prop it up, all those parties would present the same amendments, guaranteeing their approval. That is the pulse that the rebels give to the Treasury again.

The battle will also be fought in Europe. Azcon will take to the Committee of the Regions of the EU, at the beginning of December, the proposal for the municipal entities to manage 14.16% of the European funds. And the mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, has already signed the petition for the figure to rise to 10%. It was within Eurocities, an association of cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants.

It must be remembered that, although it did not approve the fund requested by the mayors, the Treasury did overturn the spending rule, which allows city councils with accumulated surpluses to spend an additional 3,000 million euros.

But there are 3,000 municipalities without remnants, due to their delicate financial situation. Those are the ones that would need the additional funds the most, especially in the case of those that must support a municipal transport company.

Meanwhile, the town councils that have this problem, such as Zaragoza, are beginning to bet on novel formulas, in a bid for collaboration-private public. In the presentation of the conference, Azcón highlighted the initiative ‘Mobiliy City’, of the Ibercaja Foundation.

The general director of this entity, Josà © Luis Rodrigo, has underlined that this “pioneering initiative of international scope”, based in the Aragonese capital, will be “the main technological platform” for urban mobility in Spain.

Of the voices that have been heard during the day, the one of former Economy Minister Román Escolano, who now acts as Group Risk Chief Officer of the European Investment Bank (EIB), stands out.

This bank is, in his opinion, the “bridge between the public sector and private sector financing”. The EIB “exerts a catalytic factor that can bring liquidity to cases where it would not be possible.”

In addition, Escolano has insisted that the EIB can exercise an “advisory” role to municipalities, which he has encouraged to take advantage of it.

Of course, it only finances “a maximum of 50%”, although it occupies “a different role” than the rest of private funders, since it assumes “a greater risk” and gives more time to repay the financing or borrowed funds.

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