Employers show “unconditional” support for Catalonia’s right to vote
All Catalonia’s employers’ associations, with the exception of ‘Foment del Treball’, and every chamber of commerce have united behind Catalonia’s right to vote and expressed on Thursday their wish to “unconditionally support” the result of the upcoming elections on the 27th of September. The president of the employers’ association CECOT, Antoni Abad, said that “the right to decide is a structural element of a democracy”, adding that “we must re-establish Spain or found a new state”. The businessmen handed a copy of ‘Manifest del Far’ - a document signed in 2014, in which they expressed their commitment to Catalonia’s process of sovereignty - to the President of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert. She thanked the employers for “such a necessary” event and emphasised that “the time of ambiguity is over”.
Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia’s employers and chambers of commerce have reinforced their commitment to Catalonia’s right to vote and expressed their wish to give “unconditional” support whatever the result of the upcoming Catalan elections on the 27th of September. The president of the employers’ association CECOT, Antoni Abad, said that "the right to decide is a structural element of a democracy", adding that “we must re-establish Spain or found a new state”. The 17 employers’ associations and the 13 chambers of commerce already showed their support for Catalonia’s process of sovereignty in the ‘Manifest del Far’, a document signed in 2014 and that was the basis of this Thursday’s public event. The businessmen handed a copy of this document to the President of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert, who stated that such an event was “necessary” and added that “the time of ambiguity is over”. The employers showed their commitment at a public function at ‘La Pedrera’, one of Gaudí’s most iconic buildings in Barcelona, and the event was attended by both internationally renowned economists and members of civil society.
All the Catalan employers’ associations, except for ‘Foment del Treball’, and every chamber of commerce renewed their signatures from ‘Manifest del Far’ (the Lighthouse Manifesto), which was introduced in May 2014 to demonstrate the support of Catalan businesspeople for the 9-N consultation. On the other hand, ‘Foment del Treball’, which represents the biggest companies in Catalonia, sent a document to those political parties who are running in the upcoming Catalan elections. They warned them of the “logical uncertainty of the business sector”, especially regarding Catalonia remaining within the EU, keeping the Euro and “the consequences of not doing so”. The association also denied the plebiscitary nature of the 27-S elections and stated that the new government should be formed within the law.
The employers’ association CECOT, PIMEC, the small and medium-sized enterprises association, and the FemCAT foundation were amongst the thirty employers’ associations who pledged their full support to the 27-S election result.
The president of CECOT, Antoni Abad, said that employers have examined many studies which show that the quality of democracy contributes to “the development of a good economy” and emphasised that the right of people to decide their own future is a “structural element of a democracy.” He made it clear that “businessmen are not afraid of democracy, but of ignorance and intolerance” and recalled that there has been no dialogue in Spain “since the transition” which has “severely impaired” the functioning of the economy. “For decades, businessmen in Catalonia have considered the need to count on a comparable state. We must re-establish Spain or found a new state,” he declared.
The president of PIMEC, Josep González, said that he hoped for “peaceful elections on the 27th of September”. Referring to recent comments against independence made by certain members of the People’s Party, González described “fears and historical comparisons” as “lamentable”.
Economists defend an independent Catalonia within the EU
The ceremony was opened by journalist José Antich who pointed out that it was necessary to claim the right to self-govern and the right to decide. Antich used the latest PP proposal of reforming the Constitutional Court (TC) as an example. The reform would allow the TC to fine and even suspent from office all those civil servants and politicians who won't adhere to the Court's rulings. The PP's candidate to run for President of the Generalitat, Xavier García Albiol, admitted that the modification was especially designed to stop Mas' push to independence, which unionist say is unconstitutional.
Internationally renowned economists, such as Columbia University Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin, made several presentations to demonstrate the economic viability of an independent Catalonia and the costs associated with staying in Spain. Sala-i-Martin recalled the biblical story of David and Goliath, but pointed out that in this case, the giant is not so strong and the young pastor is not so weak. "The Spanish government is acting extremely weakly because of its rulers, who falsify documents and change laws for their own interests. Meanwhile, the Catalan economy is strong and vital, as demonstrated by its exports, its universities and its companies” he concluded. However, “the great strength of Catalonia is its high hopes”.
Economist Joan B. Casas emphasised the issue of fiscal deficit and showed how Catalonia’s budget suffers chronically from its relationship with the Government of Spain.
Miquel Puig also presented at the event, defending the process of self-determination for Scotland and the democratic debate in the UK as an example to Catalonia. The economist affirmed that Catalonia would remain within the EU and maintain the euro, “there are so many industrial and financial interests behind it, that Catalonia would not be able to leave the EU and the euro even if we wanted to” he said.