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President calls for unity among institutions, parties and society for independence referendum

Pere Aragonès evoked Scotland’s agreed binding vote in National Day speech that also touched on pandemic recovery and climate crisis

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10 September 2021 09:03 PM

by

ACN|Barcelona

On the eve of Catalonia’s National Day, president Pere Aragonès has reaffirmed his “commitment” to carrying out a referendum on independence, and called for "an alliance between institutions, parties, civil society and citizens" to make the vote “inevitable."

Aragonès also highlighted the situation of Scotland, which held a binding independence referendum agreed with Westminster, and which could hold a second vote in the not too distant future. 

The Catalan leader gave his institutional address from the iconic modernist Sant Pau hospital, a location chosen as a form of recognition of the sacrifices and tireless work of essential and public workers throughout the past 18 months. 

On Saturday, another mass pro-independence demonstration is organized to take place in the Catalan capital, with tens of thousands of protesters expected to show up. 

In his institutional address ahead of the September 11 celebrations, Aragonès focussed on the future of the independence movement, Catalonia’s recovery from the pandemic, and the climate crisis. 

The ERC leader explained that he “will not rest” until he makes a vote on Catalan independence happen, adding that the referendum is the “most inclusive proposal to resolve conflicts such as the one we are experiencing" as "it allows all options to have a chance to win." 

“Today, the Catalan parliament reflects a large pro-independence majority and an even wider majority in favour of the end of repression and a referendum.” 

Aragonès wants to bring the “strength” shown “by filling the squares and streets of the country” during Saturday’s rallies to the negotiating table with Spain, as talks on the conflict are set to resume in next week, negotiations that he says must be gone into with “ambition.” 

The head of the Catalan executive recalled that, until recently, "it was completely unthinkable for the Spanish state to recognize the very existence of the political conflict."

Pandemic recovery: social and economic transition

Pere Aragonès also touched on the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessary social and economic transitions during his address. 

"The pandemic conditions and will continue to condition our lives," he stated, adding it "has caused a deep social, economic and emotional crisis that aggravates pre-existing difficulties and mixes with the political conflict with Spain.”

Aragonès showed confidence in the country bouncing back from the crises and hailed the vaccination programme and the Next Generation European funds as key for this transformative process. 

For the president, Catalonia needs a social and economic transformation that has the “ambition to make Catalonia a country of reference for its progress.” 

He added that the country needs a “feminist transformation that eradicates all forms of violence and discrimination and frees us from the old masculinity”, a democratic transformation driven by the goal toward self-determination and an amnesty law, and a green transformation to manage the climate crisis. 

Aragonès’ vision of these transitions must also be done "keeping in mind the legacy we want to leave to future generations," he said.

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  • Catalan president Pere Aragonès during his institutional address ahead of the 2021 National Day celebrations (by Jordi Bedmar)

  • Catalan president Pere Aragonès during his institutional address ahead of the 2021 National Day celebrations (by Jordi Bedmar)

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