María Jesús Cañizares, 2 February 2022
The President of the Parliament, Laura Borràs (c), together with several members of the Table, addresses the meeting of Spokespersons / EFE
The Chamber, which costs 63 million a year, begins to suspend commissions while Laura Borràs (JxCat), President of Parliament, buys time on the Juvillà situation and reopens the controversy over deputies’ salaries
For Laura Borràs, the best way to visualize the Parliament’s rejection of “repression” is to go on a kind of independence strike, unprecedented in the history of the democratic restitution of the Catalan Chamber. The most expensive, by the way, in Spain: 62.9 million euros per year. In reality, the pro-independence leader is trying to buy time to resolve the situation of the CUP deputy Pau Juvillà, whose disqualification for disobedience recalls the convulsive moments experienced with the conviction of Quim Torra.
Borràs is reluctant to demand that the cupaire return his deputy certificate, as required by the Central Electoral Board (JEC), and has endorsed the resolution of the conflict to the Commission for the Statute of the Deputy. Meanwhile, she proposes, with the support of her party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), and ERC, that the Parliament’s activity be suspended. Chance has wanted that, in a few weeks, two controversies coincide: that of the age licenses -which allowed workers of the Catalan Chamber who reach the age of 60 to be able to collect their salary without the need to go to work- and Borràs’s proposal that deputies temporarily abandon their functions as a protest against the “repression” of the State.
All of this taking place in a Chamber, as the setting for this new attempt to instrumentalize the independentism of the Catalan institutions, with 135 deputies with a budget of 62.9 million euros. It is the highest figure for a regional parliament, followed by the Andalusian parliament, which with a larger population –8.4 million compared to the 7.5 million that Catalonia has– has 109 deputies and costs 42.5 million. The Assembly of Madrid annually costs 39 million (136 deputies) and the Valencian Courts, 30.7 million (99 deputies). In other words, every day that the Parliament is closed, 172,602 euros are lost, paid by the Catalans.
Three of the five commissions of the day fall
In fact, in response to Borràs’ call, the Parliament has reported that three of the five commissions convened for today have already been suspended: Digital Policies and Territory, Culture and Youth Policies.
PSC-Units, which describes this covert strike by the independentists as “grotesque”, had calculated that the suspension of parliamentary activity proposed by Laura Borràs would affect 13 commissions, two papers, two study commissions and even the plenary session of Parliament. Ciudadanos, En Comú Podem, PP and Vox joined that joined the outrage at Parliament’s Bureau after the Table of Parliament, where the pro-independence majority imposes its roller, agreed to propose to the parliamentary bodies that they call off the sessions until the Deputies’ Statute Commission meets in immediately and rule on the situation in Juvillà.
“Stand Up Against Repression”
After the meeting of the Bureau and the Board of Spokespersons, the president of the Parliament made a statement, accompanied by the first vice-president, Alba Vergés (ERC), the secretaries Aurora Madaula (JxCat) and Rubén Wagensberg (ERC), and the president of the CUP group, Dolors Sabater. “So today we are here again, firm against repression, united to defend the sovereignty of Parliament against State interference,” she said.
The Parliament already presented on Friday a contentious administrative appeal before the Supreme Court against the withdrawal of Juvillà’s seat. The appeal includes the request for precautionary measures to suspend the agreement of the JEC (Junta Electoral Central), which requests the withdrawal of the minutes. The plenary agreed last week to file this appeal by 81 votes in favor (ERC, JxCat, CUP and ECP), 17 against (Vox and Cs) and 33 abstentions (PSC-Units).
The parliamentary strike supported by independentists takes place in the midst of a hangover due to the salaries paid to Chamber workers who do not go to work. This controversy has put the focus on the expenses of a Chamber whose deputies earn generous salaries.
Of the 7,931 euros per month charged by the president of the Parliament to the 2,921 euros of a common deputy, this figure is to which bonuses must be added for representation, presidency and spokespersons. And the most striking: travel allowances of up to 23,895 euros per year, whether or not you have an official car. Either you opt for teleworking (as happened during the pandemic) or for the independence strike called yesterday by Borràs.
Of the 7,931 euros per month charged by the president of the Parliament to the 2,921 euros of a common deputy, this figure is to which bonuses must be added for representation, presidency and spokespersons. And the most striking: travel allowances of up to 23,895 euros per year, whether or not you have an official vehicle. Either you opt for teleworking (as happened during the pandemic) or for the independence strike called yesterday by Borràs.