The Catalan President accuses the Spanish Prime Minister of imposing his views instead of negotiating

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, had previously accused the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, of having blackmailed him by trying to “impose the fiscal agreement or accept the consequences” in last September’s meeting, when Mas proposed a specific fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain. The Catalan President denied having blackmailed the Spanish PM. According to Mas, Rajoy “did not want to negotiate a fiscal agreement” as he considered that “Catalonia is not as badly treated” as Catalans say. The Catalan President said he explained to Rajoy what would happen “if the answer to all Catalan claims is always ‘no’”. “It is not a threat, it is describing the reality. The President of the Catalan Government’s duty is to inform [the Spanish PM] about Catalonia’s situation” Mas added.


October 24, 2012 10:41 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, accused the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, of trying to impose his views and refusing to hold talks on Catalonia’s claims. On Wednesday Mas denied he was blackmailing Rajoy in last September’s meeting, when the Catalan President – following a mandate of the Catalan Parliament – presented Rajoy with a specific fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain, which was totally turned down by the Spanish PM. On Tuesday, Rajoy had accused Mas of having blackmailed him by saying in the 20th September meeting “either [you agree on] the fiscal agreement or you accept the consequences”. “Democracy is not this” stated Rajoy before the Spanish Senate, four weeks before the Catalan elections. In fact, it was the first time Rajoy had given his personal view on the meeting held more than a month ago. It was also the first time Rajoy used a hard tone regarding the current Catalan situation, once the Basque and Galician elections are over and the next electoral contest is Catalonia.

On Wednesday Mas replied to Rajoy and offered his views on the 20th September meeting once again, as he had already done the same day (nobody from the Spanish Government addressed the press that day). In a radio interview, the Catalan President denied he was blackmailing Rajoy, as the Spanish PM said yesterday. According to Mas, Rajoy’s accusations are “poor excuses” because the conclusion of that meeting was that the Spanish PM refused to negotiate. Rajoy refused to negotiate and asked Mas “to come back next year” to discuss an improvement of the Catalan Government’s funding scheme within the current formula, but never with its own specific formula – which was the nutshell of the Catalan proposal: having a specific fiscal agreement as Navarra and the Basque Country already have.

The Catalan President explained that Rajoy refused to negotiate Catalonia’s fiscal agreement because he did not agree that Spain is treating Catalonia badly. “He told me ‘I do not want to negotiate the fiscal agreement because I think that Catalonia is not as badly treated as you say it is”, explained Mas.

Mas accused Rajoy of imposing his own views

Furthermore, Mas accused Rajoy of imposing his own views and closing the door on further bilateral talks. Mas, who was proposing a bilateral relationship in fiscal terms, did not accept Rajoy’s offer to keep the situation as it is, refusing to negotiate the Catalan proposal and promising to start negotiating a common formula with all the Autonomous Communities in 2013, except Navarra and the Basque Country. “What Rajoy did not want to understand is that one thing is being open to talk and the other is accepting to eat everything. In Madrid they believe that negotiation means that what they want is what counts”, lamented Mas.

“It’s describing the reality”

The Catalan President added: “I told him that ‘if all the answers to Catalan claims are always ‘no’, you do not pay the debts and you invade competences, do not be surprised that afterwards the Catalan society evolves in a transversal way towards what scares you so much [referring to Catalonia’s self-determination process]”. “This is not a threat; it’s describing the reality. The President of the Catalan Government’s duty is to inform [the Spanish PM] on Catalonia’s situation”, Mas insisted.

“Nobody has asked me for a referendum” said Rajoy

The Spanish PM also offered “talks within the Constitution” and he emphasised he will not and cannot authorise a self-determination referendum for Catalonia. According to Rajoy, in order to celebrate such referendum “the Constitution needs to be reformed, the Congress [the Spanish Parliament and Senate] needs to be reformed, elections have to be called [at Spanish level], the new Congress would have to ratify the reform and afterwards the referendum could be held”. Rajoy did not mention that between August and September 2011 the Constitution was reformed to include a public deficit limitation with only a parliamentary vote.

In addition, before the Spanish Senate, Rajoy said he “respects” the decision of the British Government to allow self-determination in Scotland but he “does not want to asses it”. Furthermore, Rajoy said that “nobody has asked me for a referendum”, despite the fact that last week the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) presented a proposal to organise a self-determination referendum in Catalonia in the Spanish Parliament, which was refused by the votes of the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

Catalonia is “subordinated” to Spain

The Catalan President also lamented that currently there is a situation based on Catalonia’s “subordination” to the Spanish State. Now, “the State daddy orders and the others have to obey and bow their heads”. According to Mas, the relationship between Catalonia and Spain would be better “if they talked one to one”. However, if this is not possible, for the Catalan President, the next best thing is Catalonia’s “emancipation”. Mas emphasised that “this does not mean breaking bonds”, as “there will still be all sorts of bonds, firstly affective and sentimental ones”. “Currently many people [in Catalonia] have these bonds and it is normal, logical, human and even positive”, Mas underlined. The Catalan President insisted that Catalonia’s self-determination process is an inclusive project, which is based on “great social majorities”, “formed by very diverse people, with diverse origins, different languages, born in Catalonia or abroad”.