ALBERTO FABRA, president of the Valencian Community, envisages “great reforms” for 2012.
The regional Administration would cut public sector spending by €1,000 million, Fabra declared in his New Year address, and provide jobs for 15,000 of the Community’s unemployed young people.
Debts to the regional government’s suppliers would also be paid during the coming year, pledged Fabra. “We have got the message: zero superfluous spending,” he said, promising a slimmed-down administration.
The first step will be a regional act of parliament passing urgent measures to reorganise and rationalise the public sector. This is to be followed by a “summit meeting” for all the Community’s town halls and Diputaciones (similar to county councils) aimed at avoiding duplication of public services and speeding up Administration formalities.
Hand-in-hand with the austerity measures go two new initiatives to generate employment. One will eliminate red tape and reduce fees when starting up a new business so that it can be up and running within a maximum of 48 hours.
Another will allocate €100 million for a Youth Employment Plan to put 15,000 young people in employment.
Fabra did not go into details regarding the planned public sector savings or the effect these would have on Valencian residents; neither did he enlarge on possible personnel cuts. “I have to tell the truth, however hard it’s going to be. We are entering a period where we have to prioritise the things that will make us stronger in the future,” he said. Calling on unity and a spirit of sacrifice in order to assimilate the harsh measures, he also pointed out that the Valencian Community was one of Spain’s “cheapest” regions.
“We have already saved nearly €50 million on salaries and high-ranking officials,” he announced.
“But we need a new, exemplary and more austere public Administration that centres on what is truly important to the public.”
By Linda Hall