The lower house of the Spanish Parliament (Congreso de los Diputados) gave the green light on Thursday to the draft state budget for 2022 with 188 votes in favor, out of a total of 350 MPs. Now, the bill will still go to the upper house (Senado), where it will be processed and it is foreseeable that it will also pass without amendments.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez thus achieved the approval of his cabinet's second state budget since he came to power in 2018. And he has done so thanks to the political support of the nationalist parliamentary groups of Catalonia (ERC, PDeCAT) and the Basque Country (PNV and Bildu).
The only MP of the Galician nationalist formation (BNG) abstained.
This support from the Catalan and Basque nationalists has generated much criticism from the right-wing opposition parties (PP, Vox and Ciudadanos), who accuse Sanchez of satisfying "those who want to break Spain" for his sole personal interest in staying in power.
However, contrary to what may appear at first glance, the negotiation has not been conditioned by hard national identity issues, nor by demands for independence or referendums, but by issues of a marked economic and cultural nature.
Two days earlier, the center-left coalition government PSOE-Unidas Podemos, headed by Sanchez, managed to clear the way towards the approval of the bill with an agreement with the Catalan nationalists of ERC on the future audiovisual law, which the Parliament should pass before the end of this year.
Netflix, HBO were the key
And what does that have to do with anything?
Very simply, the nationalist parties have promised to support the executive whenever in the future audiovisual streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO - the most popular in Spain - are forced to offer a minimum level of content in the minority languages of the state, Catalan, Galician and Basque.
It's all about promoting the consumption of movies and series in the co-official languages.
From now on, the platforms operating in Spain will have to meet a 6% quota of content production in the co-official languages. The European legislation establishes that 30% of their catalog must be reserved for production in European languages, and of that percentage, 20% will be for the co-official languages of Spain, that is, 6% of the total.