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Rajoy will “never” accept questioning of Spain’s unity and does not recognise a ‘de facto’ referendum in Catalonia

In the annual Debate on the State of the Union in the Spanish Parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy repeated that he will “never” accept putting Spain’s unity in question. He said that the next Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September, are not a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence, as pro-independence parties are claiming. However, Rajoy said he is willing to talk but only if “the law is always respected”. The Spokesperson of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, emphasised that “not making any proposal” to address Catalonia’s claims is “political negligence”. Furthermore, he regretted that the Spanish Government is not respecting the law when it is recentralising powers and not respecting Catalonia’s self-rule. The Spokesperson for the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, Alfred Bosch, told Rajoy that “the sooner he acknowledges” that there is an independence referendum in September, “the sooner we will find solutions”.

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24 February 2015 10:44 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- In the annual Debate on the State of the Union in the Spanish Parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy repeated once again that he will “never” accept putting Spain’s unity in question. In this vein, he said that the next Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September, are not a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence, as Catalan independence parties and many civil society organisations are claiming. However, Rajoy stated he is willing to talk with Catalan representatives but only if “the law is always respected”, which, according to him, excludes self-determination. This has been Rajoy’s stance since September 2012, when the first massive pro-independence demonstration was organised. Later on, in November 2012, a clear majority of pro-self-determination parties was elected to the Catalan Parliament, after elections with the highest turnout in decades and in which the organisation of an independence referendum was the paramount issue during the campaign. Rajoy has ignored this democratic mandate and has not changed his unilateral ‘no-to-everything’ attitude. As well as this, the Spanish PM also criticised the Catalan Government for having “allocated efforts and resources” into organising the symbolic vote on independence that took place on 9 November last, which could have been used “to overcome the financial difficulties”, he said.


During the parliamentary debate, Catalan parties insisted that Catalonia’s citizens have the right to decide on their own collective future and that without a binding self-determination vote, there will not be any solution. Furthermore, they spoke regretfully of Rajoy’s lack of dialogue for the last two-and-a-half years, despite the electoral mandate from Catalan citizens and the peaceful nature of the numerous demonstrations. In addition to this, they criticised the Spanish Government’s recentralisation of powers, which reduces Catalonia’s autonomy and go against the Constitutional consensus of 1978 and the last 35 years of Spain’s democratic history.

The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, and current leader of the opposition, criticised Rajoy’s “do-nothing” policy regarding Catalonia. However, he also stated that pro-independence supporters are “insulting” the memory of all those who fought for democracy in Spain since they want “to eliminate” the current Constitution. Sánchez ignored the fact that the main resistance to Franco’s dictatorship was set in Catalonia and carried out by some people that nowadays support independence or that were already supporting independence in the 1970s.

Catalan parties emphasise Catalonia’s self-determination right

The Spokesperson for the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, emphasised that “not making any proposal” to address Catalonia’s claims is “political negligence”. Duran i Lleida also recalled the 23-point document that the Catalan President gave Rajoy in July, with 23 proposals on economic and social issues besides the self-determination debate. However, Rajoy has not given any answer to the 23 suggestions proposed by Mas in almost 7 months. The CiU Spokesperson also criticised Rajoy for having pressured the Public Prosecution Office to press criminal charges against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, Catalonia’s Vice President, Joana Ortega, and Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, for having authorised November’s symbolic and non-binding vote on independence.

Furthermore, he regretted that the Spanish Government is not respecting the law when it is recentralising powers and not respecting Catalonia’s self-rule. Moreover, Duran I Lleida stated that the Spanish Government is also not respecting the law when it does not review the inter-territorial fiscal scheme which funds the Autonomous Community governments, including Catalonia’s, as they were legally obliged to do so before 1 January 2014. Instead, the Spanish Government is obliging regional governments to ask for loans and therefore increasing their debt and Madrid’s control over them.

The Spokesperson of the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, Alfred Bosch, told Rajoy that “the sooner he acknowledges” that there is an independence referendum in September, “the sooner we will find solutions” and “we will be able to seriously talk about it”. Bosch also stated that he was “happy” that Rajoy had finally admitted that there was “an independence referendum on 9 November in Catalonia”; when he backed the criminal complaints against members of the Catalan Government for the part which they played in the vote.

Finally, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition ICV-EUiA, Joan Coscubiela, criticised Rajoy for “denying” Catalan citizens their right to self-determination and the reality which exists in Catalonia. However, Coscubiela used most of his speech to criticise Rajoy’s social and economic policies, as well as the corruption scandals affecting the People’s Party (PP).

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  • Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday at the Spanish Parliament (by Congreso de los Diputados)

  • Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday at the Spanish Parliament (by Congreso de los Diputados)