The meeting took place within an atmosphere of institutional respect and understanding.
At the meeting, discussion took place on the general situation of the Spanish economy, Spain's commitments in Europe and the particular difficulties that the Regional Government of Catalonia is currently facing, in the same way as the other public administration services.
The President of the Government acknowledged the problems affecting Catalonia, problems being shared by the Central Government of Spain, and all the other regional governments around the country, as their origins lie in excessive spending and a widespread decline in economic activity that has led to a fall in the corresponding revenue for the public treasuries. In this regard, Mariano Rajoy welcomed the effort being made by all the public administration services to contain the deficit and achieve fiscal consolidation, and recalled the various instruments that the Government of Spain has designed to help both Catalonia and indeed all other autonomous regions resolve their liquidity problems and service their debts.
The President of the Regional Government of Catalonia repeated a request for assistance from the Regional Liquidity Fund (Spanish acronym: FLA) in order to facilitate the payment of debt maturities amounting to in excess of five billion euros. The request was favourably received by the President of the Government of Spain. Following this most recent decision, the total sum of financial support and assistance provided to the Regional Government of Catalonia over the course of this year will be in the region of eleven billion euros.
Mariano Rajoy insisted that the fiscal consolidation and structural reforms needed by the Spanish economy are the key focus of the work being done by Central Government in order for Spain to grow, for Spanish companies and administration services to regain access to financing and to initiate the creation of jobs.
Resolving the economic crisis will first require the resolution of the problems being suffered by each and every one of the Spanish administration services. To that end, the President of the Government invited the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia to work on that overriding common objective of overcoming the crisis and creating jobs. Similarly, he alerted him to the fact that the instability generated by certain political initiatives has a highly negative effect on the recovery of confidence required for Spain to emerge from the economic crisis.
The President of the Government recognised the effort being made by many citizens of Catalonia to contribute to the wellbeing of the entire nation and recalled that it is an exercise in solidarity being shared by many citizens from other autonomous regions of Spain.
Mariano Rajoy expressed his opposition to a proposal on an economic accord for Catalonia, given that such an agreement is not compatible with the Spanish Constitution which all governing figures are obliged to comply with and enforce. He also recalled that many citizens of Catalonia and their political representatives share his opinion that the Spanish Constitution contains better financing models for overcoming the crisis, financing public services and guaranteeing social cohesion.
The President of the Government stressed that the current financing system was promoted and approved in 2009 by the Regional Government of Catalonia. He also recognised that a significant number of autonomous regions are criticising the defects in its design and confirmed that he will assess it and call for it to be reviewed so that any changes can come into force during this legislature. He invited the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia to actively collaborate on this process that, given its complexity, cannot be tackled from a position of inflexibility but rather from one of calm and constructive dialogue.
This is the formula provided for by the Spanish Constitution to tackle the unquestionable problems currently present in the regional financing system. Any other formula that questions the constitutional framework can only be decided by the people of Spain as a whole, through their representation in Parliament.
The President of the Government reiterated to Artur Mas his conviction that this extremely serious economic crisis will only be overcome through joint responsibility and cohesion, and never through division or institutional instability. The President of the Government believes that every governing figure from each of the various administration services are insisting on enormous efforts from the people in order to tackle the difficulties and that this should not be compounded with additional complications or concerns, that all the people of Spain are united in their determination to overcome the crisis and that anything that distracts us from that collective endeavour is harmful to the general interest.
Based on that strong conviction, the President of the Government reiterated his willingness to move forward with frank and loyal collaboration through dialogue that is sensitive to the diversity of Catalonia and Spain, and respectful of the legal framework, which is the primary requirement of any action taken by a governing figure.