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The Catalan President warns Spain that without an agreement “Catalonia’s way to freedom is open”

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), sent a warning message to the rest of Spain and in particular to the Spanish Government. “If there is not an agreement on the economic bases”, “Catalonia’s way to freedom is open”. The Spanish Prime Minister and leader of the People’s Party (PP), Mariano Rajoy, stated on Tuesday morning that Spain and Catalonia should have other priorities. The Spanish Government and most of the rest of Spain are against a new fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain, reducing the Catalan solidarity contribution, which represents some €17 billion per year. Furthermore, the Catalan PP has stated it will stop giving its parliamentary support to CiU.

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11 September 2012 09:57 PM

by

ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).- During the main institutional ceremony of Catalonia\u2019s National Day, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, sent a warning message to Spain, only a few hours before the start of the massive demonstration in Barcelona supporting independence. Mas, who is also the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), addressed international media in English. He stated that \u201Cif there is not an agreement on the economic bases\u201D, \u201CCatalonia\u2019s way to freedom is open\u201D. The Catalan President was answering Spanish Prime Minister and leader of the People\u2019s Party (PP), Mariano Rajoy, who is refusing to negotiate a new fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain, reducing the Catalan solidarity contribution. Official studies made by the Spanish Finance Ministry in 2005 stated that Catalonia was contributing between 6.4% and 8.7% (depending on the formula used) of its annual GDP to pay for services and investments in the rest of Spain and the European Union. However the Catalan Government has calculated that Catalonia has been giving away each year 8.5% of its GDP during the last 20 years, the equivalent of \u20AC17 billion per year with figures from 2011. Last year, the Catalan Government had a 3.7% deficit, the equivalent of \u20AC7 billion, despite making drastic budget cuts in the public services, administration and investments. Furthermore, this year, Catalonia will have to adjust its budget by \u20AC4 billion to meet the 1.5% deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government. Given the situation, the Catalan Government maintains that Spain\u2019s current fiscal scheme asphyxiates Catalonia\u2019s economy and public services. In fact, the Catalan parties and civil society organisations, and in particular business associations, have been blaming the Spanish Government\u2019s lack of investment in infrastructure in Catalonia. Since the Spanish Government and the rest of Spain seem indifferent or directly oppose this claim, many Catalan citizens are now supporting independence from Spain for economic reasons, which are added to cultural and historical aspects. The Catalan President will meet with Rajoy on September 20th and has asked Catalan citizens to back him with this Tuesday\u2019s demonstration to make Rajoy understand the need for such a fiscal agreement.


\u201CIf there is not an agreement on the economic bases\u201D, \u201CCatalonia\u2019s way to freedom is open\u201D

After the main institutional event of Catalonia\u2019s National Day, Artur Mas, addressed international press. He stated the following: \u201CIt won\u2019t be an easy deal with the Central Government but my goal is to try to reach an agreement with the Central Government on the economic area. And to try to protect Catalunya and to give our country the tools we need to build our future, our national future. If there is not an agreement on the economic bases, you know that Catalunya\u2019s way for freedom is open. And we will have a clear proof this evening in the capital city of our country\u201D.

The PP refuses to negotiate a new fiscal agreement

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated this morning that Catalonia should now have other priorities, such as creating jobs, ensuring the recovery from the economic crisis and meeting the fiscal obligations. \u201CIt\u2019s not time for mess and controversies\u201D he said referring to the new fiscal agreement and Barcelona\u2019s massive demonstration for independence.

Furthermore, the PP\u2019s Secretary General, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, who is also the President of Castilla-la-Mancha, said on Monday that this Tuesday\u2019s demonstration supporting Catalonia\u2019s independence \u201Cgoes against the Constitution\u201D. Therefore, according to Cospedal, Tuesday\u2019s peaceful demonstration \u201Cis unconstitutional\u201D and therefore is \u201Cillegal\u201D. In the same press conference, Cospedal criticised the President of Extremadura, José Antonio Monago, who is a member of the PP, for saying he would reduce VAT in this Autonomous Community. However, Cospedal did not comment on Monago\u2019s words denouncing Catalonia for asking for more money. The President of Extremadura, which receives between 14% and 17.5% of its GDP in subsidies according to the Spanish Finance Ministry\u2019s data, stated last weekend \u201CCatalonia asks for money and Extremadura pays\u201D. In fact, similar statements were made by the Presidents of Galicia and La Rioja, also from the PP.

The Catalan PP warns it will stop giving parliamentary support to CiU

The President of the Catalan People\u2019s Party, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, stated this Tuesday morning they will stop giving their parliamentary support to the Catalan Government. Sánchez-Camacho criticised the Catalan President for taking the side of independence supporters. She also said they can no longer negotiate with a government that \u201Cpushes for and legitimises\u201D a demonstration supporting independence from Spain.

 

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  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, at one of Catalonia's National Day ceremonies (by O. Campuzano)

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, at one of Catalonia's National Day ceremonies (by O. Campuzano)
The Catalan President warns Spain that if an agreement is not reached, "the way to freedom is open"