Thursday, January 21

Vicent Soler: «I think that the second semester of 2021 will give us some joy»

The sixth Botànic budget has just been approved. Does not having joined Ciudadanos leave a bittersweet taste?

No. The other way around. We have shown that from realism we have advanced and increased the parliamentary base of budgets that had to be special due to the pandemic. It has been very satisfactory. The frontist logic has been broken with budgets that only have 29 votes against 99. They have a much greater base of trust and show that the opposition can also contribute things.

Cs wanted to support the budget and has abstained. Why was the yes not possible?

Ciudadanos is the only opposition party that has wanted to agree. The truth is that the PP has been against everything. The phrases of his spokesman are not credible. Nobody has called me from the PP. And we have opened the door to the opposition party that has called. It has been a very interesting job because from different perspectives we have reached very positive aspects for Valencian society

Did Cs’s tax proposal fit into the spirit of the Botànic?

On an issue as sensitive as the prosecutor, we would have needed a little more time. I think that the will of the three botanical parties and Cs was to reach an agreement. There was no time …

And the support of its partners was lacking. Did they put too many sticks in the wheels?

I think it was necessary to have more time for reflection.

Have you played political strategy too much and did your partners not want the deal?

That I cannot answer, they should answer. What I have seen is everyone’s desire … until a certain moment.

Neither the chemistry nor the gestures of complicity between the president and vice president from other years have been seen.

The images cannot be the same as before the pandemic.

But does it leave internal wounds in the Botànic this year 2020?

I think not. We are a plural government in which the parties want to make themselves visible with all the rights in the world. And we have also shown that we know how to agree. And an inertia of government parties and the opposition bloc has been broken and that is a good precedent.

“We are a plural government and the parties want to make themselves visible with all the right in the world”


Did the quarrel with Vice President Oltra over the budget break bridges between you?

I think it is forgotten. Also at that time I think there were hours left. Above all, there has been the will to make the best possible budgets. It is true that these were not just any estimates. There were novel elements. There was a lot of talk and at the last moment there was indeed … (he pauses) a final acceleration that needed more tranquility. Every year there has been an agreement and in this one too.

Its partners claim to change the budget negotiation model, other than between the Treasury and each department. Is there an alternative?

I am delighted to open a discussion that is functional and representative of plurality, but it will not be easy. In all governments there is a methodology similar to ours. But if it can be improved I will be the first to sign up. I love to combine criteria and efforts and I want the budget to be a government document and this is a plural government of three forces that even wants to join opposition parties. But ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the budget corresponds to the Ministry of Finance by legal mandate.

Does the 2021 budget rely too much on covid funds and European aid?

No. We have been very moderate. Of the potential aid from Europe we have only included a part that was approved. Many more resources are going to come in 2021. And the government fund has made it possible to meet the extraordinary increase in health, social and educational spending because it was essential. But there is a possibility of improving budgets with more resources during the year.

How do you see 2021 in economic terms?

I think the second half will be an impact. There is a lot of will from unions, employers and workers to get out of the hole. The Generalitat is very prepared, European funds come to us, we have those from the State and we have contained energy. The second semester will give us some joy and if the vaccines are effective, which I think yes, we can grow 7%.

What is the bill that the covid leaves in the C. Valenciana?

At least a billion, because unfortunately it is not over. In addition to costs in hospitals, there are social costs, changes in school bubbles. This is very important. But we have made a virtue of necessity and there has also been a spectacular change in the computer and technological issue. We have come a long way. What was planned for five years we have done in five months and we have to invest even more. And take advantage of the funds of the State and those of the EU to do something that we already had in our portfolio and that is to help the reconversion of the Valencian production model.

Has any progress been made in changing the production model in recent years?

Yes and I say this as an economist who has studied the Valencian economy a lot. There are many examples of companies that have adapted to globalization processes, but not all. What the Generalitat has to do is facilitate the transition to competitiveness. That is the best way to use public money.

The GDP per capita published this week leaves us very far from the Spanish and European average. Are we Valencians poorer and poorer?

No. Unfortunately we are 12 percent below the average. But we must strive to be more and more competitive.

“In 2021 more resources will come from the EU than are in the budget, we have been moderate”


In projects that are eligible for EU aid, public-private collaboration, which is often stigmatized, will be key. He does not believe?

It depends on what. In basic services, the service has to be public and you can cooperate. But something else is everything else. There the public powers that think in the general interest must intervene to encourage.

It seems that the Valencian claim that Madrid makes unfair competition (fiscal dumping) when it lowers taxes is beginning to permeate in the Government. Will it do any good?

Totally. The current situation is inadmissible. The radio network, the largest airport in Western Europe, not to mention that all the institutions are there, large companies, the agglomeration of company officials and employees, a concentration of fiscal capacity. This does not respond to a rationality when it comes to distributing tax burdens. The German model is perfectly acceptable for us. Germany leads Europe from a federal conception … Here since the 18th century we have copied the French model since the War of Succession that Frenchified us.

Is there a figure for the impact of dumping fiscal for the Valencians?

We are working but we don’t want to make it public yet. But tax dumping hurts us a lot. We have 60 open files. In the first of them there is already a flight of 14 million. And it rains on wet.

You talk about a good budget but execution always fails. It’s a problem?

I think it is getting better and better in all the ministries. In the first legislature, internal operating rules had to be changed and that has been noticed a lot in the last year and is capitalized in this legislature.

They blame him for not going to the Corts to explain the degree of execution of the accounts …

Now with the budget viewer you know what the execution is up to date. That is a revolution that we incorporated in the last legislature. The PP insists that I am not going to the courts to give an account of the execution when they have it at a button. Transparency is very important to us. We have made a revolution because we have nothing to hide. I think that the qualitative change in how we have ended the opacity in the Valencian Community is not valued enough in the citizenship.

Airef will supervise Valencian spending. Are we efficient?

We have been in contact for months. Airef has a very important role.

The minister responds during the interview.

“The Government is doing what it can to reform financing”

Is the Government of Spain doing everything possible to reform the financing?

Yes. I know very well the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, who has previously been a councilor in Andalusia and knows that the system can be greatly improved. Not only with regard to Valencians who are the worst funded, but for all. The money has to be allocated differently for fairness.

Should 2021 be the year of financing reform?

I am convinced that it will be. It will be the year to start working but the end is in the Congress of Deputies. We can work on the autonomies and the ministry and go to a Fiscal Council but the road ends in Congress and it is important that all parties begin to say what they think. The Generalitat will be the engine by moral and political obligation. But when it comes to Congress and the Senate, let’s expect proper behavior from all parties, from all parties.

Has the Valencian claim to the Government declined?

No. Every time I go to the Council for Fiscal and Financial Policy (CPFF) it’s like a refrain. I speak of the subject forcefully. Many look at me with perplexity and others with understanding. They wonder why I always talk about the same thing. And it is because we do not have the same resources.

The fiscal measures law explores new taxes, to large owners of empty houses, to electricity … Is there still room for more?

On the environmental issue there are things that can be done. We cannot dream that with taxes we can solve our under-financing, which has to come through the reform of the system, but we have to use all the mechanisms at our disposal, including the fiscal instrument.

We have less of our own taxes than other autonomies. Is it a way to go?

Of course.

“The worst moment of the year was when we lacked liquidity due to the pandemic”

What has been the worst moment of the year that ends?

(Think) … There was a moment at the beginning of the pandemic when we noticed that extraordinary spending was going to grow a lot and we had the need to have liquidity with world markets in full speculation. At that time we needed liquidity. It was an emergency situation that kept us out of the market.

Did the government understand the situation?

The Ministry of Finance understood it very soon and enabled extraordinary funds and Minister Montero was very aware and sought funds and ways to use those funds.

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