MAYOR of Orihuela Emilio Bascuñana wants to resolve the coronavirus crisis with surplus council funds from local town halls.

However, he wants the funds to be controlled by the relevant municipalities, not the Spanish government.

Emilio Sanchez Collage
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION: Emilio Bascuñana and PM Pedro Sanchez

Austerity measures prior to the coronavirus lockdown have meant that many local councils have saved millions of euros which, protocol dictates, must be sidelined for national spending.

“We cannot consent [to this] in a crisis … as they steal our savings,” the mayor said.

Referring to September’s disastrous floods and similar damage caused in the new year, he added: “Orihuela is in a situation of greater disadvantage when, in just five months, we’ve suffered two serious crises, the DANA and COVID-19.” 

Controversially, Valencian authorities did not request a move into Phase 2 of de-escalation, with neighbouring Murcia now enjoying a freedom that won’t be seen by Oriolans until next week, at least.

He added: “The central government must enable town councils … instead of hindering a recovery that is already slowed down by not having requested the Generalitat to pass to Phase 2, condemning Orihuela to keep up with those who do advance.”

On the subject of tourism for the area, he said ‘we need to reactivate the economy and not lose the entire season, with thousands of jobs and business at stake.’

Bascuñana asked that regional and national governments ‘do not drown the municipalities any more, and that they provide us tools that help us overcome the economic crisis in which we find ourselves.’

READ MORE: Benidorm politician slams Spanish government for ‘scaring tourists away’ with two-week quarantine for international travellers

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