Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to face a heated meeting today with regional leaders from his own Popular Party (PP), who are angry over the budget for 2013 as well as the separatist moves being made by Artur Mas' Catalan CiU national bloc, which are aimed at holding a referendum on independence.
At a supper Monday night, the PP "barons" met to formulate a common strategy, thought to involve avoiding openly attacking Mas or harassing Rajoy with a list of separate grievances. But by press time it was unclear whether they had agreed on a game plan for Tuesday's Fifth Conference of Regional Premiers, the only opportunity for regional leaders to air their complaints.
The regional leaders of Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Aragon have been the most critical of Rajoy's 2013 draft budget, which involves cuts to unemployment benefits and healthcare, among other things. "There is no way we can agree to this budget," said Valencia regional premier Alberto Fabra in Alicante on Monday.
Balearic Islands chief José Ramón Bauzá on Sunday called the budget "unfair."
"No one likes this budget, including the officials who worked on it," said Galician premier Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who is facing a regional election later this month.
Fabra said that he will propose budget amendments through the PP party bloc in Congress, which will soon begin debating the country's finances for next year. "More effort should be made to distribute the little money there is," he said.
Andalusia's Socialist regional chief José Antonio Griñán will appeal for a greater degree of federalism and a fairer distribution of the need to cut Spain's deficit.