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Basque Country and Catalonia to work together against Rajoy’s recentralisation

The Spanish Government is carrying out “increased recentralisation” of powers, according to the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and that of the Basque Country, Íñigo Urkullu. Catalonia and Euskadi are the main stateless nations within Spain, with most of their citizens calling for greater levels of autonomy or full independence. They are Spain’s main industrial centres and combined they represent 25% of its GDP (€270 billion) and 20.5% of its population (9.7 million people). The President of the Generalitat and the Basque Lehendakari met on Sunday in Vitoria and agreed on “working together” to face the centralist and homogenising policies of the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. In addition, they will also work to defend their nations’ right to self-determination.

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29 December 2014 08:43 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Government is carrying out “increased recentralisation” of powers, “breaking the basic political consensus achieved three decades ago”, according to the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and that of the Basque Country, Íñigo Urkullu. Catalonia and Euskadi are the main stateless nations within Spain, with most of its citizens calling for greater levels of autonomy or full independence. They are Spain’s main industrial centres and combined they represent 25% of its GDP (€270 billion) and 20.5% of its population (9.7 million people). The President of the Generalitat and the Basque Lehendakari met on Sunday in Vitoria and agreed on “working together” to face the centralist and homogenising policies of the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy from the Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP). Both Mas and Urkullu are said to be “worried” about the ongoing recentralisation of powers being carried out by Rajoy and the PP. The Catalan and Basque Presidents also agreed on working together to defend their nations’ right to self-determination. They both shared their ideas about how to handle the current political situation and re-adjust their levels of self-rule, which include the option of full independence from Spain. Furthermore, they talked about the overall economic situation and how to foster economic growth. As well as this, on Monday, the ‘number 2’ from each of their parties also met in the Basque Country to better coordinate their actions. The PNV has also expressed solidarity with the members of the Catalan Government who are being prosecuted for having authorised the symbolic and non-binding vote on independence on 9 November. “Giving the people the opportunity to make their voice heard can never be a reason to put somebody in a trial bench”, stated the PNV’s ‘number 2’. “Between democracy and law, we will always choose democracy”, he added.


Before the football friendly between the national teams of Catalonia and the Basque Country, which took place on Sunday evening and ended in a 1-1 draw, Urkullu welcomed Mas at the Ajuria Enea Palace, Vitoria’s office of the Lehendakari (the official name for the Basque President). Both leaders met for two hours and discussed the main political and economic issues, particularly focusing on the right to self-determination and the defence of their powers of autonomy in the face of Rajoy’s recentralisation.

They both agreed on “working together” to stop such a recentralisation process, which seriously affects both Catalonia’s and Euskadi’s self-rule. Furthermore, such recentralisation is “unilaterally” imposed by the PP and is “breaking the basic political consensus achieved three decades ago” among the main political parties during the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Furthermore, they compared their respective self-determination processes, stressing their differences and similarities. Both Mas and Urkullu insisted that “democracy is the only way to solve political conflicts”. Therefore, a citizen vote should be the only mechanism “to be used by civilised and modern societies”.

In addition, they warned against the demagogic use of dirty tricks and corruption scandals for political purposes made by “some parties”, who use them “against those who do not share their model of state and/or society”. In the same vein, Mas and Urkullu, warned against ever-increasing citizen mistrust in politics, which is also losing great prestige due to “the consequences of the economic crisis” and “the corruption cases and bad practices” carried out by some politicians. In order to address this worrying situation, they agreed on putting to the fore “transparency and permanent accountability”, as well as “highlighting the honesty of the wide majority of public servants”.

On Monday, another meeting is held between Basque and Catalan politicians

Following this meeting, on Monday, the ‘numbers 2’s from Mas’ and Urkullu’s parties also met in Bilbao. The General Coordinator of the Liberal CDC, Josep Rull, and the Board President of the Basque National Party (PNV), Andoni Ortuzar, stated that Rajoy must “recognise” Catalans’ and Basques’ “right to decide” on their own political future. Furthermore, they urged Rajoy to “solve” the “national conflicts” which exist in Spain, and which can only be solved by recognising the right to self-determination of Catalonia and the Basque Country and allowing citizens to freely and democratically decide through their vote. This is “the only way in democracy”, they emphasised.

As Mas and Urkullu did on Sunday, Rull and Ortuzar also criticised Rajoy’s Government for “unilaterally breaking the political consensus agreed on more than three decades ago” with its recentralisation agenda. “The institutional crisis” affecting “Spain’s state model” is “worrying” to both the CDC and the PNV, they added. Both ‘number 2’s insisted they will work “to defend the ways to update the self-rule levels that Catalonia and Euskadi are currently developing”. The Basque Country is starting to work on a revision of its political and legal status. Specific proposal are to be expected in 2015, presented by all the parties present in the Basque Parliament. Their objective is to reach a broad agreement to increase their self-rule, which would then be put to referendum in order to be ratified by Basque citizens. 

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  • Artur Mas (left) and Íñigo Urkullu (right) met in Vitoria (by J. Bedmar / ACN)

  • Artur Mas (left) and Íñigo Urkullu (right) met in Vitoria (by J. Bedmar / ACN)