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‘Sciences Po’ Professor: “transition” solution needed so “Catalans are not excluded from the EU”

A Professor at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), Jean-Bernard Auby, has advocated for a temporary solution to keep Catalonia within the European Union if it reaches independence from Spain. This agreement should guarantee that Catalonia will not be excluded from the EU even if it does not immediately become a full-member. During a conference in Sciences Po Toulouse organised alongside the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Auby insisted that “Catalonia and the Catalans are part of the EU” and for this reason, if they become independent “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”. The conference ‘The right to self-determination of Catalonia. Legality and democratic legitimacy’ is part of a series of debates on the right to self-determination, organised by the Diplocat and scheduled in prestigious universities throughout Europe.

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31 January 2014 07:49 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- A Professor at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), Jean-Bernard Auby, has advocated for a temporary solution to keep Catalonia within the European Union if it reaches independence from Spain. This agreement should guarantee that Catalonia will not be excluded from the EU even if it does not immediately become a full-member. On Friday, during a conference in Sciences Po Toulouse by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Auby insisted that “Catalonia and the Catalans are part of the EU” and for this reason, according to him, if the country becomes independent “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”. This conference entitled ‘The right to self-determination of Catalonia. Legality and democratic legitimacy’ is part of a series of debates on the right to self-determination organised by the Diplocat and scheduled in prestigious universities throughout Spain and Europe. The first cycle was set in Science Po in Paris, before moving to London, Seville and Uppsala (Sweden). The series will continue in Lisbon next February.In the opening speech, Francesc Homs, the Catalan Government Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, presented the political process to a foreign audience, stressing the Catalans’ “utmost desire for dialogue” with Spain and his awareness that it “is necessary to explain [the situation] to the world first hand” in order to achieve maximum involvement.


Professor Jean-Bernard Auby believes that when dealing with the question of a hypothetical independent Catalonia within the EU, one has to be more “more nuanced” than “certain individuals, notably in the European institutions” have been. The Sciences Po Professor argued that “Catalonia and the Catalans are subjects of the EU”. And for this reason he said that if the country becomes independent, “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”.

“We should find a way to keep an independent Catalonia linked with Europe even if it doesn’t immediately have the status of a full-member” Auby added that it would be a “transition” solution so that “Catalans are not excluded from Europe, from its mechanisms, from its laws, and from European citizenship in particular”.

A lengthy process following failed agreements with the Spanish authorities

The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, also attended the conference, explaining the ongoing self-determination process and the independence claims to a foreign audience dominated by students. 

Homs chronologically referred to events of the past 10 years that have led to the current situation in Catalonia. Thus, he made it clear that “Catalonia has always tried to develop its autonomy and its institutions under framework agreements with Spain”.  He mentioned the 2010 Constitutional Court ruling which challenged the Catalan Statute of Autonomy approved via a binding referendum in 2006. He also referred to the tradition of the Catalan institutions, to the use of the Catalan language, or to the numerous demonstrations in favour of self-determination, claiming that there was more than one nation in Spain. He argued Spain was a pluri-national state and Catalonia was an old European nation within this state.

“It should be noted that the intention to hold a referendum reflects the explicit mandate of the Catalan people who voted in the last elections in 2012. And that this option does not come suddenly, but is the consequence of a long and patient process including attempted agreements with various Spanish institutions that have not given the results established and agreed upon”, said Homs.

The referendum is a “democratic instrument” to know “the will of the Catalan people”

Regarding the self-determination consultation vote, Homs said “is not an end in itself but a democratic instrument to find out what the citizens, the people of Catalonia think”. In this regard, he pointed out that “the consultation vote is not equivalent to independence, like the Spanish Government is intentionally confused about.”

The process “is not against anyone”

Homs said that “the process Catalonia is currently following is nothing else but the answer to the will of the people to democratically decide on their future”. He added it was not the result of “the obsession of a few politicians and not a temporary issue”. Homs insisted that “the process was not against anyone”. “It does not want to break thing but to build” a new political framework. He emphasised that Catalonia’s self-determination process intends to “peacefully and democratically” take its course.

Homs insisted that “we also make and defend our founding principles of the European Union, particularly the fundamental rights of citizens, democracy, commitment to the Welfare State, solidarity among different peoples in Europe and the commitment to economic social and cultural progress”. In this respect, he refereed to the Scottish case, recalling that within the European Union “there was an example showing that democracy is the solution, not the problem”.

An independent Catalonia will have the “utmost will to cooperate with Spain”

Finally, regarding the relationship of a hypothetical independent Catalonia with Spain, Homs said they intended to have “a close and constructive relation, with the utmost will to cooperate” because “the individual, affective, cultural and economic bonds between the two parties are very significant”.

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  • ‘Sciences Po’ Professor Jean-Bernard Auby in Toulouse (by A. Recolons)

  • ‘Sciences Po’ Professor Jean-Bernard Auby in Toulouse (by A. Recolons)