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Catalan President in the New York Times: “In Europe conflicts are resolved democratically, and that is all we ask”

This Tuesday, ‘The New York Times’ published an opinion article by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in which he shed light on the reasons for carrying out a self-determination vote that would ask Catalans if they want to become independent from Spain. “We have been willing to pay more than our fair share to the central government to support poorer regions of Spain, but it has gone too far” Mas stated. “We want to be Spain’s brother, as equal partners” he added. Wednesday is the National Day of Catalonia and independence supporters have organised a human chain that will link 400 kilometres of Catalonia from north to south, building on the 1.5 million strong demonstration from a year ago.

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10 September 2013 10:03 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- This Tuesday, ‘The New York Times’ published an opinion article by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in which he revealed the background of the growing independence movement that exists in Catalonia and the increasing calls for separation from Spain. Mas shed light on the reasons for carrying out a self-determination vote that would to ask Catalans if they want to become independent from Spain. “In Europe conflicts are resolved democratically, and that is all we ask”, he concluded his text. The Catalan President explained that there have been “countless proposals from Catalonia to Madrid that have been rejected out of hand or subverted by court rulings”. “We have been willing to pay more than our fair share to the central government to support poorer regions of Spain, but it has gone too far”, he continued, as “Catalonia now receives less public expenditure per capita than more half the other regions of Spain though we contribute far more than average”. “I appealed to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for his assistance on the referendum in March 2013 with the support of 80 percent of the Catalan parliament. The request was rebuffed. In July, I made a formal written request to hold a referendum. We are still waiting for a reply”, the Catalan President stated. This Wednesday is the National Day of Catalonia and independence supporters have organised a human chain that will link 400 kilometres of Catalonia from north to south, the ‘Catalan Way towards independence’. This initiative, which mirrors the ‘Baltic Way’ from 1989, goes one step further than the 1.5 million strong demonstration from a year ago, which had the banner “Catalonia, Europe’s Next State”. According to latest opinion polls, it is estimated that if an independence vote were to take place around half of the Catalan population would vote for separation from Spain.


An independent Catalonia would have the 8th largest economy in the EU

The Catalan President detailed how “Catalans do not seek to isolate” themselves and reminds that “Catalans are deeply pro-European” and “do not imagine a future outside the European Union”. Mas explained that “a new Catalonia would have the 8th largest economy in the Union and would be a net contributor to the EU budgets”, being “a solid EU partner for strengthened political unity, security strength and economic growth”.

“We also seek no harm to Spain”

The Catalan President also emphasised that “we also seek no harm to Spain”. He added that “we are bound together by geography, history and our people, as more than 40 percent of Catalonia’s population came from other parts of Spain or has close family ties. We want to be Spain’s brother, as equal partners”. Mas, who has held office since 2010, highlighted how Catalans do not want independence for simply “money or cultural differences”. Instead “we seek the right to have more control over our economy, out politics, our social services”.

A legal referendum is possible

Mas detailed that in total there “are five different legal ways within Spanish law that a referendum could be authorized”. He also drew attention to other international examples of states allowing countries to decide upon their own future through a referendum. “Canada granted Quebec the right to hold two separate referendums and has protections within Canada because of this”. Furthermore, he highlighted the more recent example of Scotland which has been given “the right to decide their future in an independence referendum next year.” While “despite all our efforts to seek this basic civil right Spain refuses”. He concluded by noting that “In Europe conflicts are resolved democratically, and that is all we ask”.

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  • Artur Mas' article published on the NYT website (by ACN / The New York Times)

  • Artur Mas' article published on the NYT website (by ACN / The New York Times)