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“The 2024 Budget responds to the needs and challenges of the Basque Country, not only in 2024, but also in years to come,” says Pedro Azpiazu

2023 December 12

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu, has today defended in the Basque Parliament the Draft Budget of the Basque Country for 2024, and has stated that it is a project that responds to the needs and challenges of this country not only in 2024, but also in subsequent years. Azpiazu insisted that the Basque Government will have an approved budget of more than 15,000 million Euros on December 22nd, and that it is “solvent, solid, realistic and coherent with a Government programme endorsed by the vast majority of Basque society, despite what some people may think.”

The economic context of the next budget shows what the INE confirmed last week, that the variation of the CPI in November in the State was 3.2%, three tenths below the previous rate, and the underlying rate has fallen seven tenths, to 4.5%. Data from the Basque Country will go in the same direction. “We expect the year to end below 4% and the 2023 average to be 3.7%,” Azpiazu proposed.

In contrast to the trend in the rest of the European economies, the outlook for the Spanish and Basque economies is more favourable. For Spain, the European Commission expects growth of 2.4% in 2023, 1.7% in 2024 and 2.0% in 2025 and the forecast scenario for the Basque Country, made by the Basque Government's Department of Economy and Finance as it prepared the 2024 budget proposal which was endorsed by AIReF, is for growth of 1.7% this year and growth of 2.1% for 2024.

Regarding employment, the Basque economy will be able to generate 13,000 net jobs this year and another 16,000 more next year, with an unemployment rate below 7% in the second half of 2024, more than meeting the challenges of this legislature, which has been described as a “collective success”.

“If today we can present and defend an ambitious budget, it is precisely because the Basque Country has known and does know how to respond to the different shocks that the main European economies and the rest of the world have suffered recently,” he said.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Pedro Azpiazu, criticised the opposition for “claims to set out a tremendous and chaotic reality, which the economic and social situation in the Basque Country does not show” and has warned that “it is very easy to launch millionaire proclamations knowing that in practice they would mortgage us, or even knowing that in some occasions they do not respond to the Basque or governmental competence legality”.

Thus, he criticised the position of the opposition groups, as he considers that it shows "a previously written script, even before knowing the draft budget” and “in some cases, they are a reflection of the parliamentary debates of recent months”. “I am aware that this is an election year,” he noted.

However, he denounced this, saying: “It is intended to draw a tremendous and chaotic reality, which the economic and social situation in the Basque Country does not reflect,” and defended the draft budget: “It does not deserve the outright rejection of all parliamentary groups and all political groups.”

Azpiazu wants to assure people that the image of conflict and tension that some are trying to introduce, and which does not correspond to the Basque reality, is not good for anyone. “It is not good for our citizens, it is not good for our productive fabric, it is not good for attracting potential investment, it is not good for our reputation as a country," he warned. Likewise, he recalled that the Basque Country competes in a global world and warned of the possibility that “dramatising the situation so much could end up taking its toll on all of us.”

He therefore warned that it is very easy to launch multi-million pound proclamations “knowing that in practice they would saddle us with a mortgage, and even in the knowledge that in some instances they do respond neither to Basque legalities nor governmental competence.” “It is easy to launch destructive criticisms while being well aware that what is being proposed is already being carried out,” he criticized.

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