The Popular Party government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has asked the main opposition Socialist Party for dialogue on a number of measures it has introduced before any of the issues are taken to the Constitutional Court, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said Friday.
Sáenz de Santamaría was speaking after Patxi López, the Socialist premier of the Basque Country, on Friday said he planned to appeal decrees issued by the PP ordering cuts of 10 billion euros of spending on education and health on the grounds that they infringe the powers invested in the region in those two areas.
The Socialist-controlled region of Andalusia, as well as Catalonia and the Canary Islands, which are not controlled by the PP, have also raised legal objectives to the decrees. Andalusia is opposed to a drastic labor reform that was approved by the PP, and is currently going through Congress.
“I ask for dialogue,” Sáenz de Santamaría told reporters after the regular Friday Cabinet meeting. “We have to reorganize our regional system in order to make it more efficient.”
Control of education and health has been devolved to Spain’s 17 regions as part of a semi-federal system. The regions were largely responsible for the blowout in public spending, which caused the country to miss its deficit target of six percent of GDP by 2.5 percentage points.
“We all have to be responsible because efficiency is something that is always demanded, but particularly during a time of crisis,” the deputy PM said.
Taking the same line, Rajoy said that what was needed was “more efficient formulas for the coordination and division of responsibilities, the elimination of unnecessary doubling up and unwanted overlapping by getting rid of institutions and organisms that don’t stand any objective test of their usefulness, and whose cost is disproportionate for the public.”