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Self-determination process is not affecting Catalonia’s economy, states Catalan President

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, was responding to the recent concerns raised by the President of Spain’s main employers’ association CEOE and by a group of 60 German businesspeople. Mas praised the “strength” of Catalonia’s economy, being “the most dynamic in southern Europe”. He stressed that Catalonia is leading the attraction of foreign investment in the whole of southern Europe. Furthermore, in the first 6 weeks of the current year, German companies have already announced €131 million of direct investment in Catalonia. Spanish nationalist parties have stated that the self-determination claims create instability and companies do not like this. Mas replied that Catalonia “has already tried out absolutely everything [to better fit within Spain] and the answer has always been the same: ‘no, no and no, and ten thousand times no’”.

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12 February 2014 07:45 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, responded on Wednesday to the concerns raised on the previous day by the President of Spain’s main employers’ association CEOE, Juan Rosell, and by a group of 60 German businesspeople regarding independence and its consequences on the economy. During the biweekly Government control session at the Catalan Parliament, Mas praised the “strength” of Catalonia’s economy, since it is “the most dynamic in southern Europe”, he said. The President stressed that Catalonia is leading the attraction of foreign investment in the whole of southern Europe, excluding financial investment (excluding stock exchange investments). Furthermore, in a clear reference to the manifesto signed by 60 German professionals Mas said that in the first 6 weeks of the current year German companies had already announced €131 million of direct investment in Catalonia. Spanish nationalist parties, particularly the Conservative People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the populist Ciutadans (C’s), have stated that the self-determination claims create “instability”. “Companies need stability” added the C’s spokesperson. Mas offered a large series of figures showing Catalonia’s leadership in different economic sectors. Furthermore, he pointed out that Catalonia “has already tried out absolutely everything [to better fit within Spain] and the answer has always been the same: ‘no, no and no, and ten thousand times no’”.


On Tuesday, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government said he “respected” the opinion of the 60 German businesspeople and the President of the CEOE. In addition, he added he would not comment on those statements. However, this Wednesday, a day after the manifesto was issued, the Catalan President was directly asked about it during the Government’s control session and decided to answer such questions.

Companies need “stability”

Both the President of the anti-Catalan nationalism party C’s, Albert Rivera, and the Spokesperson of the Conservative PP, Santi Rodríguez, referred to yesterday’s statements against Catalonia’s independence and the “dreadful” consequences on the economy. Furthermore, they have stressed the importance of a stable environment for economic recovery. “Without companies there are no new or old countries, because there are neither jobs nor wealth”, stated Rivera. “Companies need stability to invest and [Catalonia’s self-determination process] generates instability”, he added. “Listen up and do not abandon those you have applauded for many years”, concluded Rivera referring to Mas’ party, which has traditionally been perceived as the party representing the interests’ of businesspeople in Catalonia. Artur Mas lead the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU), which runs the Catalan Government.

Catalonia is “the most dynamic economy in southern Europe”

Mas answered Rivera and provided several economic figures from 2013, when the self-determination debate was already a top priority of the political agenda. Catalonia is Spain’s “tourist leader”, receiving the highest number of foreign tourists with more than 15 million visitors. Furthermore, it also leads the export sector and it is the territory that has created the largest amount of jobs in the whole of Spain. In fact, Catalonia ended 2013 with 64,700 fewer unemployed people; in the whole of Spain – including Catalonia – 2013 ended with 69,100 fewer unemployed.

German companies have invested €131 million in Catalonia during the first 40 days of the year

In addition, Catalonia is the region in southern Europe with the highest amount of foreign investment, excluding the stock-exchange financial investments. Mas stressed that Catalonia’s economy “is dynamic, the most dynamic in southern Europe”. He mentioned some millionaire investments, such as those of the Chinese company Hutchinson in Barcelona’s Port or those of Tarragona’s chemical industry. “Strength is here, expectations are here, the economy has been running, we shall all profit from this”, he asked.

On top of this, Mas wanted to stress that since the 1st of January 2014, German companies have already announced direct investments in Catalonia worth €131 million so far. In this vein, he said he “respected” everybody’s opinion, referring to the German businesspeople. However he asked “not to mix everything”, especially from “self-interested stances”.

Catalonia “has already tried out absolutely everything”

Finally, Mas insisted in the legitimacy of Catalonia’s self-determination claims, supported by a majority of Catalans, according to the recent polls. He explained that Catalan society has already been trying to transform Spain for decades and has sent many offers to find a better relationship with Spain, such as the 2006 Statute of Autonomy or the Fiscal Agreement. Catalonia “has already tried out absolutely everything [to better fit within Spain] and the answer has always been the same: ‘no, no and no, and ten thousand times no’”, he concluded.

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  • Artur Mas, on Wednesday in the Catalan Parliament (by A. Moldes)

  • Artur Mas, on Wednesday in the Catalan Parliament (by A. Moldes)