Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A row has erupted in the Spanish lower house of parliament, Congress, over the money to finance the royal household and the supposed wealth of the monarch – King Juan Carlos.

It took place during the debate to approve the State Budget for 2011. The MP for Esquerra Republicana, Joan Tardá (Joan is a male name in Catalan by the way), wants the monarch to have his funding allocation reduced by 15 per cent in line with government cuts and for the monarch to receive the same salary as the Spanish premier, José Luis Rodrízguez Zapatero. In addition any short fall in the monies required by the royal household says Tardá should come from the monarch’s own wealth.

The Republican left would always dispute the need to fund the monarch and the royal family but the issue takes on an added bite at this time of economic crisis when millions of Spaniards are on the dole queue. Shouldn’t the king and his family be setting an example to the nation the ER would ask?

The socialist PSOE government and the centre right Partido Popular opposition – the latter being staunch monarchists – dismiss the ER’s arguments. They say if the party is not happy with the way the royal household is paid or its standing in the country then it should seek to change the Spanish Constitution but adds – it would be outvoted.

The two main parties also point out that the allocation of funding in the State budget is for the financing of the overall Royal Household and not money given to the king.

In addition PSOE and the PP point out that the Spanish monarch comes cheap at the price. The cost of maintaining the nation’s head of state and the Casa Real costs each Spaniard just 18 céntimos a year. In contrast each German pays 35 céntimos to pay for its president, the Greek head of State comes at the cost of 52 céntimos, Sarkozy costs every French person 1.64 euros to maintain the Elysée Palace and the Italian president chews up 1.80 euros of the people’s pasta.

That may be so but the Esquerra Republicana is angry that the Spanish Parliament refuses to control the spending of the Casa Real. In addition it begs the question what has happened to the Borbón millions? According to Forbes magazine Juan Carlos de Borbón has a personal wealth of 1,790 million euros, which if that is true, should be more than enough to keep him and his family in the manner to which they are accustomed without the 18 céntimos from each of his fellow country people.

Of course the same argument could be used in the case of the British Royal Family. However until that nation gets the celebrations for William and Kate’s wedding out of its system it will be a question that no loyal subject would dare ask.

(Joan Tardá was in trouble in December 2008 when he called out “¡Viva la Republica, muerte al Borbón!” – “death to the Borbón”. The ERC later explained he was not calling for the death of the king but it was a traditional phrase dating back to the War of Succession against Felipe V.)

1 comment:

Tom said...

I'll sound very nit-picky but Esquerra Republicana's standard short form is ERC, not just ER. Which I think you know already, but you used ER a couple of times in your post.