They collect signatures in support of the proEMD platform of the Guardia dels Prats
The nucleus of the Guardia dels Prats, a district of Montblanc, is taking the first steps to become, if the neighbors so wish, a Decentralized Municipal Entity (EMD).
They feel neglected by the capital of the Conca de Barberà. They assure that they have made "many and varied" requests to the City Council to improve the situation "and many of them have not been taken into consideration."
Faced with this situation, a proEMD commission has been created to collect support for a manifesto that ends by saying: «We express the will to initiate the process for the request for the constitution of a Decentralized Municipal Entity in the Guardia de Els Prats» .
Both those who are registered in the nucleus – some 220 people – and also those who only have a second residence can join. From the City Council, the mayor, Josep Andreu, recalls that since 2013 the law does not allow the creation of new EMDs.
The manifesto ensures that the district "is not in the state of maintenance and care that corresponds to it", all the efforts made by the Residents' Association of Sant Pere Ermengol, by the Board of the Association and by the municipal mayor.
The Guardia de Els Prats had 371 inhabitants in 1860. Nineteen years later it lost its status as a municipality and became a Montblanc attaché.
At the end of last year, a protest movement began to emerge. So they did not consider the EMD but they did want another type of relationship with the Montblanc City Council to have more voice when deciding certain issues that affected the Guard.
But commission sources have told the Daily that “nothing has changed. We keep making requests and asking for what we think is up to us. There are no movements by the City Council that make us see that something has changed ».
Until 1879, this population center had its own town hall, with about 370 inhabitants
An EMD is a public administration lower than the City Council. It is given the powers of the services linked to the day-to-day life of the town and the financing for its execution.
Faced with this situation that they believe is unfair, they have taken another step and go to the EMD if the neighbors so wish. The commission's manifesto ensures that the Guardia dels Prats "is very neglected" by the Montblanc City Council.
And they give examples of that state of abandonment. They say that the main streets are in a deplorable state, full of holes and cracks where it is difficult to navigate. "Few actions are carried out and those that are carried out do not reach the threshold of acceptable."
With regard to street cleaning and the maintenance of trees and gardens, the actions carried out by the City Council are insufficient, they comment, as well as public lighting is deficient.
«The difference between Montblanc and the Guardia de Els Prats is abysmal. Nothing is invested. Everything is done with a hammer. They come here to give patches. They complain, for example, that in the summer the sports court collapsed and the problem has not yet been fixed.
They assure that in the cultural, social and festive sphere, we receive little help from the City Council. The neighborhood association is the organizer of all festive events. The subsidy granted by the City Council "is a clearly derisory amount."
Currently, in Catalonia there are 63 MDTs (in Spain there are 3,723), which bring together some 700,000 people). The powers they have are: the surveillance of public and communal use assets, heritage conservation, public lighting, street cleaning, traffic management, maintenance of public spaces such as streets, parks and gardens, and the promotion of cultural and sporting events in their community.
The collection of signatures now is to support the commission that wants to manage the start of the EMD, "it is not a referendum", they say.
No deadline has been set for this procedure, but they believe that it could end after the Christmas holidays, “we do not want to rush, we are not in a hurry. We have been waiting for each other for many years. It also depends on the political reaction, both from those in the municipal government and those who are in the opposition, because it is a step that we must all take."
“Since 2013 no new entities can be constituted”
The mayor of Montblanc, Josep Andreu, does not see the initiative as feasible, mainly because the regulations do not allow it. He recalls that in 2013, the government of Mariano Rajoy passed a law that left the new EMDs without a legal basis.
The Local Administration Rationalization and Sustainability Law was created to increase control over municipal spending. Initially, he wanted to abolish all the EMDs in Spain and return the powers to the respective City Councils. But eventually he backed down.
The existing minor local entities would maintain their legal status at that time and new ones could only be created if they had started the procedure before January 1, 2013.
"The new EMDs have less power than a neighborhood association, they can't even hire an orchestra for the festival, because they can't issue bills," says Andreu. He adds that in the case of the Els Prats Guard, in its field, it only has one industry.
Andreu emphasizes that neither in Catalonia nor in Spain has any been established since 2013. For all these reasons, he assures that "it makes no sense" to go ahead with this initiative.