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Spanish govt resolves budget roadblock with broadcast quotas

Spanish govt resolves budget roadblock with broadcast quotas

MADRID (AP) — A Catalan pro-independence party is announcing plans to back Spain's national budget for next year, a move that cements the immediate future of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing coalition.

ERC, a left-wing pro-republic Catalan separatist party, said Tuesday that its 13 lawmakers in the national parliament's Lower House will vote in favor of Sánchez’s 2022 spending proposal after the government agreed to pass a new broadcast law that encourages content production and exhibition in three official minority languages.

The deal means that Spain will impose a 5% tax on broadcast production that will be partially used to boost content in Catalan, Galician and Basque languages, ERC spokesman Gabriel Rufián told reporters. He said that one-fifth of the European production quota in streaming platforms will also be offered in one of the official languages other than Spanish.

The approval of the government’s spending plan is regarded as a crucial test of the government’s support and gives Sánchez's coalition fresh air in plans to see out his term, which ends in 2023.

The prime minister's Socialists entered a coalition with the anti-austerity United We Can party in early 2020. The minority government controls 155 of the 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies.

With ERC’s support, the government has so far guaranteed 181 votes, including those of left-wing Basque nationalists and smaller parties, more than the simple majority needed to approve the annual budget.

The conservative opposition, led by Pablo Casado’s Popular Party, and Vox, a far-right party that has become the third political force in the national parliament, have announced they will vote against the spending plan.

Failure to pass the bill would have meant pressure on the prime minister to call an early election.