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Catalan Government foresees second referendum among all Spaniards to modify Constitution

The Spokesperson of the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, stated that the opinion of the Catalan citizens, in the first place, had to be known through a consultation vote. After having achieved this and according to its outcome, negotiations between Catalan and Spanish authorities should take place in order to change the current status quo. The results of such negotiations, which would very likely lead to a reform of Spain’s Constitution, would then have to be voted by all Spaniards through a second referendum, according to Homs’ hypothesis. In an interview with the Spanish nationalist radio station COPE, owned by the Spanish Catholic Church, Homs wondered if “an Autonomous Community has the capacity to propose the start of a Constitution reform-process?”

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06 February 2014 03:28 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spokesperson of the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, stated on Thursday that the opinion of the Catalan citizens, in the first place, had to be known through a consultation vote. After having achieved this and according to its outcome, negotiations between Catalan and Spanish authorities should take place in order to change the current status quo. The results of such negotiations, which would very likely lead to a reform of Spain’s Constitution, would then have to be voted by all Spaniards through a second referendum, according to Homs’ hypothesis. Furthermore, the Catalan Government’s Spokesperson criticised the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, for trying to hide the fiscal balances between Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Ironically, Homs said Montoro was “a machine to produce independence supporters”.


In an interview with the Spanish nationalist radio station COPE, owned by the Spanish Catholic Church, Homs insisted that the consultation vote scheduled by a majority of Catalan parties for the 9th of November, 2014 “does not generate a new political situation” but is “aimed at knowing the Catalans’ opinion”. Once the opinion of the majority of Catalans is revealed, politicians should negotiate accordingly and propose the required changes in the current legal framework. The Catalan Minister explained that the negotiation “will very likely lead to a change in several laws, including the Constitution”. Therefore, “its is likely that another vote should be held by everybody”, referring to all Spanish citizens.

Homs refuted the argument which states that the Catalan Government does not have jurisdiction to ask the Catalan people about their relation with Spain. He stressed that the consultation vote is aimed at knowing “the opinion” of the citizens and this is within the Catalan Government’s jurisdiction since, based on this opinion, they will propose a change of the current status quo and the Constitution. Homs wondered if “an Autonomous Community has the capacity to propose the start of a Constitution reform-process?” “We want to ask the Catalan people how the future should be and, then, to negotiate accordingly”, he summed it up.

Montoro is “a machine to create independence supporters”

The Catalan Minister for the Presidency also criticised the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, for the latest news regarding the fiscal balances. Two weeks ago, Montoro refused to publish such information because “they are wrongly used”, he said. According to the Spanish Minister, this information on inter-territorial fiscal solidarity is used “to foster independence claims” in Catalonia. Studies - including the one published by the Spanish Government in 2008 - show that Catalan citizens and companies give away an average of around 8% of Catalonia’s GDP each year to pay for infrastructure and services in other parts of Spain. This represents almost 6 Marshall Plans between 1986 and 2010, while the Spanish Government’s investment in Catalonia is below the average, damaging the economy’s competitiveness and the quality of public services compared to other areas of Spain. Referring to Montoro, Homs said he was “a machine to create independence supporters”, “even more than ERC”, which is the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party.

The Catalan Government is asking for loans, as all governments do

In addition, the Catalan Minister pointed out that the financial assistance given by the Spanish Government to the Catalan Executive through the Spanish Liquidity Fund (FLA) “is not a gift”. Homs emphasised that this money is given as “loans”, since the Spanish Government does not allow the Catalan Executive to turn towards the financial markets to ask for money like all governments do. Therefore, the Spanish Government is the only source of liquidity and the Catalan Executive is paying interest money to receive such loans. In addition, Homs highlighted that the money borrowed “belongs to all the citizens”, “including the Catalans”, who contribute much more than the average to the Spanish Government’s finances.

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  • Francesc Homs in last Tuesday's press conference at the Generalitat Palace, the Catalan Government's headquarters (by R. Garrido)

  • Francesc Homs in last Tuesday's press conference at the Generalitat Palace, the Catalan Government's headquarters (by R. Garrido)