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German employers warn against Catalan independence’s “dreadful consequences”

Around 60 German businesspeople working in Catalonia have issued a manifesto against independence from Spain. They warn against “the dreadful consequences” that independence would bring for the Catalan economy. The manifesto signers, who work in companies that invested millions in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, state that independence would represent the automatic expulsion from the European Union. They also add that “it is doubtful” it could still use the Euro. Furthermore, they “warn about the dangers of a nationalist fervour, which in the last century, has brought immeasurable suffering to Europe and which will neither bring anything good to Catalonia”. Besides, on the same day, the President of Spain’s main employer association, Juan Rosell, stated that independence would be “disastrous” for human relations. The Catalan Government respects their opinion but has refused to comment on the manifesto.

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11 February 2014 09:27 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Around 60 German businesspeople working in Catalonia have issued a manifesto against independence from Spain. They warn against “the dreadful consequences” that independence would bring for the Catalan economy in a document entitled ‘The Barcelona Declaration’. The signers, who work in companies that invested millions in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, state that independence would represent the automatic expulsion from the European Union. They also add that “it is doubtful” it could still use the Euro. Furthermore, they “warn about the dangers of a nationalist fervour, which in the last century, has brought immeasurable suffering to Europe and which will neither bring anything good to Catalonia”. In a press conference organised in Barcelona on Tuesday morning, the manifesto signers have presented the platform that groups them, called ‘Catalunya sense Europa? No!’ (‘Catalonia without Europe? No!’). They insisted that the group would gladly welcome new people. Besides, on the same day but in Madrid, the President of Spain’s main employer association CEOE, Juan Rosell, stated that Catalonia’s independence would be “disastrous” for human relations. In addition, Barcelona-born Rosell rejected there being a pro-independence majority in Catalonia. Asked about both statements, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, stated he “respects” their opinion but he has refused to comment on them. In addition, Homs said that the Spanish Government’s “constant” refusal to discuss Catalonia’s self-determination claims is “a mistake”.


The statements come one day after an experimental poll indicated that 62.7% of Catalans would vote ‘yes’ to independence if the Spanish Government insists on not changing anything regarding the current relationship between Catalonia and Spain. In this scenario, only 22.5% would oppose independence and 7.8% would abstain. At the same time, this poll also showed that if the EU automatically expelled Catalonia if its citizens were to vote for independence, 45.4% would still vote “yes”, 37.6% would vote “no” and 12.7% would abstain.

German businesspeople pressure against independence

On Tuesday morning, at the headquarters of Catalonia’s Professional Association of Journalists, the platform ‘Catalunya sense Europa? No!’ presented their ‘Declaration of Barcelona’. The group of 60 businesspeople is formed by employers and liberal professionals, living in Catalonia and most of them from German origins or working for German companies. They signed the manifesto at personal level, although some of them work for companies that have invested hundreds of millions in Catalonia and the rest of Spain. The platform Spokesperson is Albert Peters, who has been living in Catalonia for the last 17 years. Other manifesto signers are Erwin Rahue, CEO of BASF-España – which runs very important petro-chemical facilities in Tarragona – and Gerhard Esser, the former CEO of Thyssen Group Materials.

They say they “observe with great concern the pro-independence tendencies, which have the aim of separating Catalonia from Spain”. Furthermore, they state without any nuance that an independent Catalonia would automatically be excluded from the EU. “If Catalonia separates itself from Spain, it will no longer belong to the European Union”, they vouch. “The membership negotiations to be reincorporated again last for years and require unanimity” they immediately add.

Furthermore, they state that: “if Catalonia remains outside of the European Union, it is doubtful that the Euro will continue being its official currency. There will be no such thing as funding through the European Central Bank. Nor will there be any free circulation of workers, goods, services, and capital. All the agreements to avoid double taxation and regarding Social Security will have to be renegotiated through a lengthy process”.

Finally they conclude that “all of this will imply dreadful consequences for the economy in Catalonia”. In addition, they send a final warning: “we warn about the dangers of nationalist fervour, which has brought immeasurable suffering on Europe in the last century, and which will neither bring anything good to Catalonia”.

In the last few months, the European Union institutions have indirectly backed the Spanish Government’s argument that an independence Catalonia would be out of the EU by insisting on “the general principle” that a “region that secedes” would become “a third state” and would have to re-apply for membership. However, the EU institutions also stated they will only talk about the exact consequences “on the basis of a precise scenario” given at the request of a Member State government. No Member State has asked for such an analysis.

Spain’s main employer association is also against independence

The President of the CEOE, Juan Rosell, warned on Tuesday that Catalonia’s independence would be “disastrous” for human relations in Spain. In addition, “in an even more significant manner”, it would represent a “destruction” of the economic sphere, he stated. Rosell made it clear that he does not “see anywhere” the possibility of Catalonia becoming independent from Spain. Furthermore, he has denied there being a majority in favour of independence in Catalonia. “I believe that the majority of Catalans neither want to leave nor will ever leave, and I believe that we have to prioritise the ‘better together’ [idea]” he said at an event in Madrid. In addition, he also regretted that “the only ones who appear in the media” were “the ones who yell the most, the ones who shout the most”.

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  • Juan Rosell, Chairman of the CEOE, a few months ago in Barcelona (by ACN)

  • Juan Rosell, Chairman of the CEOE, a few months ago in Barcelona (by ACN)