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Rajoy promises investing on infrastructures to weaken independence aspirations

Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, announced that his Government plans to invest €4.2 billion by 2020 to improve Catalonia’s infrastructures. The most important part would go to the short-distance train network, operated by Spanish Public Train operator, RENFE. Indeed, this piece of infrastructure has been one of the historic demands of Catalan citizens, after years of underinvestment and continuous incidents. According to Rajoy, €1.9 billion would be invested during this term of office and €2 billion more by 2025. In a speech he gave within the seminar ‘Connected to the future’, held this Tuesday in Barcelona, Rajoy expressed his “personal commitment” to turn the short-distance train network into a “realistic, viable and verifiable” piece of infrastructure. Earlier this week, the Catalan Government already expressed that they had “few expectations” regarding Rajoy’s promises and pointed out that previous investment plans haven’t been fulfilled for decades.

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28 March 2017 02:14 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Spanish Government says it will invest €4.2 billion in infrastructures in Catalonia by 2020. This is what Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, announced at the conference ‘Connected to the future’, held this Tuesday in Barcelona. Rajoy addressed the Catalan businessmen and called them to help him “win the battle of moderation, responsibility, and sense” and offered them “dialogue”. According to Rajoy, the most important part of the allocation will go to the short-distance train network, operated by Spanish Public Train operator, RENFE. Indeed, this piece of infrastructure has been one of the historic demands of Catalan citizens, after years of underinvestment and repeated incidents. He also presented the long-awaited Mediterrean Railway Corridor, whose construction has been delayed for more than 10 years, as one of his government’s priorities. He hoped for the four stretches of the infrastructure which go through Catalonia to be finished by spring 2020.


Rajoy stated that this is the time to “give a new push” to Catalonia's infrastructures and presented his Government’s plan in this area before an auditorium filled with businessmen and representatives from economic institutions. He explained that the short-distance train network would receive €4 billion by 2025, nearly €1.9 to be invested during this legislature and €2 billion between 2021 and 2025. 

He also spoke about the Mediterranean Railway Corridor, which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe along the Mediterranean coast. The Spanish Government says it plans to invest €667 million for the stretch between Vandellòs-Tarrgaona, in the south of Catalonia, which is expected to start in test mode by the beginning of 2018. This stretch will reduce the connection time between Barcelona and Valencia by 30 minutes. According to Rajoy, the Spanish Government’s aim is to have all thestretches of the infrastructure which go through Catalonia to be finished by spring 2020.

Rajoy’s investment plan also allocates €200 million to Catalan airports, with additional €40 million for aerial navigation. 

Call for businessmen’s help to work together

Rajoy also called for the businessmen help to “win the battle of moderation, responsibility and sense”. “I ask for your help and I offer you a prudent dialogue on the areas I have deployed” in order to “reach an agreement for a better future together”.

The Spanish President also warned of the “political instability” and accused some of “trying to disconnect from the European reality, from the law and from dialogue”, he concluded.

“Few expectations” regarding Rajoy’s promises

Catalan VP and ERC’s leader, Oriol Junqueras, already informed the Spanish Government that he won’t be able to attend the conference. Neither did Catalan Minsiter for Infrastructures, Josep Rull, since there was executive meeting this morning.

However, earlier this week, left wing pro-independence ERC’s spokesman, Sergi Sabrià admitted having “few expectations” on Rajoy’s promises. “If he expects to buy us off through promises which won’t be kept, he should think twice,” he said.  “Everyone gets the credibility they have earned,” added Catalan VP.

In a similar sense,  Rull assured that such promises “arrive too late” and remember that some investment have already more than 10 years of accumulated delays. 

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  • Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, during the conference 'Connected to the future' in Barcelona (by ACN)