Spanish budget passes in Congress with support from pro-independence parties

The Spanish Congress has approved the 2022 budget. If the spending bill does not undergo any changes in the upper house they will be definitively approved, but if any changes are introduced they will have to return to Congress to be ratified before 31 December.

One of the largest hurdles the Spanish government had to overcome to see their planned disbursement approved was the agreement with the largest Catalan pro-independence party in the chamber, Esquerra Republicana.

Earlier this week the two sides formalised a deal that will see a 6% quota for Catalan, Basque and Galician language programming on streaming platforms such as Netflix. In addition, there will be an extra €10.5 million designated to promote the creation of audiovisual content in minority languages spoken in Spain: Catalan, Basque and Galician.

Specifically, the audiovisual law will force companies such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime to offer European productions in 30% of their content. Out of these, half of it has to be in languages spoken in Spain – this is 15% of the total, of which 40% has to be in Catalan, Basque or Galician. That is 6% of all films and series and 20% of the European content.

The agreement also includes other public investment, so that Catalonia sees its share in the overall expenditure raised from 17.2% to 19% (€2.23 bn), roughly its weight of Spanish GDP.

17.7% of the budget will go to Andalusia, a populous region in the south, followed by Catalonia, the second-most populous. 9.3% will go to the Valencia region while 8.9% to Madrid, less than in 2021.

In early October, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez announced the budget would include a €400 voucher for people turning 18 to spend in the culture industry, such as on books or tickets to concerts or the theatre.

Also included in the spending plan is a monthly housing grant of €250 per month for young people aged between 18 and 35 years with an annual income of less than €23,725.

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