IN an apparent bid to reconnect with Cataluña, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced investments of over €4.2 billion.
The money will be used for improving infrastructure projects across the affluent region, and also to demonstrate that the Spanish Government has not given up on the Catalan people.
The decision was announced yesterday (March 28) in Barcelona’s Palau de Congressos during a conference entitled ‘Connected to the Future,’ and Rajoy was keen to express his intentions to “bring the battle” to the independence supporters.
The prime minister began by committing himself to the investment of €1.8 billion in the rail network before 2020. The trains are used by 400,000 people per day and have caused endless problems for commuters in the autonomous region for years.
He added that he expects another injection of a further €2 billion between 2021 and 2025.
Rajoy didn’t stop there, promising €850 million to improve the roads, €200 million for the airports, and €285 million to create a shuttle train between the El Prat airport and the Sants train station in Barcelona. The country’s final investment will be €587 million to improve Catalan ports.
With many people unable to see what difference the government is making in the region, Rajoy knows that he needs allies if they are going to move forward into a shared future. Nothing will be done in half measures, and this is just the start of the fight to keep Cataluña from total autonomy.
The announcements were met with some scepticism from the Generalitat, which welcomed the plans with “immense disbelief.” They pointed out that “what the Catalans want” is to vote in a referendum, questioning Rajoy’s grip on reality.