Mas calls on EU leaders for support of the 2014 referendum on independence
The Catalan President has sent a letter to the international leaders, detailing the agreement to hold a referendum in Catalonia, and urging them to encourage this “peaceful, democratic, transparent and democratic process”. In the letter, Mas explains that he is seeking to reach an agreement with the Spanish Government so the consultation can take place. He also states that there are five “legal and constitutional options” to authorize it.
Barcelona (ACN).- There has been a new move by the Catalan Government to internationalize the political process initiated in Catalonia. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, has sent a letter to the 28 EU leaders to explain the latest developments in the country and defend the right of Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on the 9thof November 2014. “I am confident that I can rely on you to encourage the peaceful, democratic, transparent and European process to which I and a vast majority of the Catalan people are fully committed”, states Mas in the letter.
In the missive, which was notably sent to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande or to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mas explains that there are five “legal and constitutional options” to authorize a referendum in Catalonia.
“Contrary to some reports, there are a number of legal and constitutional options which allow this referendum to take place in Catalonia. We have identified five of these ways at least, and I have written to the government of Spain, outlining them”, Mas argues.
The Government of Catalonia has confirmed in a press release that the letter was sent on the 20th of December to the EU leaders and to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso. The aim of the letter was to explain the agreement reached between parties representing 65% of the Catalan Parliament (CiU, ERC, ICV-EUia and CUP) to hold a referendum on the 9th of November 2014.
In the letter, Mas argues that the referendum “is the demand of the Catalan people, expressed in the mandate given at the last elections on the 25th of November 2012 and demonstrated repeatedly by popular action”.
Mas refers to the large demonstrations held on the11th of September 2012, when 1.5 million Catalans took to the streets in Barcelona to ask for independence, as well as to the 400-km-long human chain of the 11th of September 2013, when people united hands from the north to the south of the country.
Mas explains in his letter to the EU leaders that he is seeking “dialogue and an agreement with the Government of Spain on the future” of Catalonia.
A memo for 45 countries
Besides the letter, the Government has also sent a memorandum to the Foreign Affairs Ministries of 45 countries from all around the world. The document explains the wishes of the Catalan Government to hold a referendum and to remain part of the European Union if they become independent from Spain. According to the text, the people who have repeatedly stated that an independent Catalonia would be expelled from the EU are trying to “scare” the Catalans.
The Government says that the EU treaties do not indicate what would happen if a territory from a member state became independent. It considers it would be “false” to say that Catalonia would be expelled, and argues that the situation would depend on a political decision by the Governments of the EU member states. According to the memo, even Spain should have an interest in keeping Catalonia within the EU framework. The text also says that if Catalonia was independent it would be the seventh EU economy and would continue to be a net contributor to the Union.
The memo also recalls that according to the polls, up to 82% of Catalans are in favour of holding the referendum and therefore, Spain should be able to authorize it. “This is clearly a political rather than a legal problem”, says the document sent to the Foreign Affairs Ministries. “All we need is political will”, continues the text, which admits that until now, leaders in Madrid “have not made any compromise” to facilitate the holding of the referendum.