The distribution of covid funds sparked the first big fight between autonomies: “Please don’t look at self-interest…”

the consent between the government and the autonomous communities was about to derail for the first time in the pandemic just ten days after the first state of alert was declared. The reason was a first cash distribution so that the autonomies can start to face the additional expenses that the epidemic generated. The amount was less, compared to the 16,000 million that the Treasury distributed at the end of 2020 or the more than 13,000 with which it reissued the lust background in 2021. They were quite 300 million euros for some communities to rise up according to the criteria stipulated by the ministry which led to the Secretary General of Health, Faustin Whiteto ask the producers to forget their particular interests to allow the diffusion.

“It is not a question of looking after the personal interest of each community, but to see how to distribute 300,000,000 euros with homogeneous criteria. Please do an exercise from this perspective linked to the current health crisis,” Blanco asked advisers during an Inter-Territorial Health Council on March 25, according to one of the minutes of those meetings to which he had access. 20 minutes through the Transparency Portal.

That day there was a Monographic Council to approve a post of 300 million a provident fund of the Ministry of Health. The directors came to the meeting already knowing what the criteria for distributing that money would be, but they ran into the opposition from Galicia, Asturias and Castilla y León. Contrary to what would be more common as the pandemic progressed, on this occasion the Community of Madrid, Murcia or Andalusia (governed by the PP) or the Basque Country, which would then chain the abstentions, expressed their agreement with a distribution taking into account the population, the number of infections and intensive care admissions. The Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Aragon, Navarre or Extremadura, all governed by the PSOE, have also seen it well.

Galicia leading the opposition

On this occasion, the one who led the opposition to the distribution criteria was the Councilor of Galicia, Julio Garcia Comesana, who intervened in the first place to express his “disagreement” because, according to him, there was no taking into account that “older populations” they were “the most affected by the Covid”. In several other interventions, he asked for a correction to be made to reflect the people over 65, to which he estimated that 10% of these 300 million should be allocated, as he said in a third intervention, after having listened to the pleas of the representative of the ministry so that, “in the interest of consensus”, all the communities accept a “simpler solution” in the allocation to include factors other than those proposed by the government.

“The Secretary [general de Sanidad] please come to a consensus in this regard,” reflects the minutes long before unanimity ceased to be the guiding factor in Inter-Territorial Council decisions and majority voting began to carry more weight.

Two allies came out of Galicia, Asturias and Castilla y León, who also wanted the elderly population to have a specific weight in the distribution of the 300 million euros. Instead of the 10% proposed by Galicia, the Castilian-Leonese minister, Veronique Married, proposed that he be 25% of the fund. He adhered to what García Comesaña said, according to the minutes: “Given the structure of its population, as well as its dispersion and aging, they agree with what Galicia has mentioned .”

“Our view is that when funds are allocated to address the impact of this health crisis, the economic dependency ratio must be taken into account of the community”, launched the municipal councilor of Asturias, Pablo Fernández.

Hotels and infections

Without too much insistence, two other communities (from the PSOE) tried to introduce criteria that favored them. the Canary Islands said that “he would like to see the confinement what happened in your community thousand people in a hotel”which involved “an extraordinary expense in terms of hiring human resources, transport and other elements”. Castilla la Mancha believed that in “future distributions” of funds “the Number of cases should weigh something more,” a request the Treasury would listen to months later.

The “covid minutes” are revealed.

Despite the discrepancies, on March 25, 2020, the Ministry of Health succeeded in all councilors will eventually vote for distribution of 300 million euros. Not without the Galician adviser “suggesting” once again that if there were “a new review other funds, the factor of the population over 65 was taken into account”. The Secretary General thanked “the generosity in his position” and celebrated that “the desired consensus” had been reached.

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