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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.

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24 October 2012 10:41 PM

by

ACN

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\u2019s claims. On Wednesday Mas denied he was blackmailing Rajoy in last September\u2019s meeting, when the Catalan President \u2013 following a mandate of the Catalan Parliament \u2013 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 \u201Ceither [you agree on] the fiscal agreement or you accept the consequences\u201D. \u201CDemocracy is not this\u201D 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\u2019s accusations are \u201Cpoor excuses\u201D because the conclusion of that meeting was that the Spanish PM refused to negotiate. Rajoy refused to negotiate and asked Mas \u201Cto come back next year\u201D to discuss an improvement of the Catalan Government\u2019s funding scheme within the current formula, but never with its own specific formula \u2013 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\u2019s fiscal agreement because he did not agree that Spain is treating Catalonia badly. \u201CHe told me \u2018I do not want to negotiate the fiscal agreement because I think that Catalonia is not as badly treated as you say it is\u201D, 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\u2019s 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. \u201CWhat 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\u201D, lamented Mas.

\u201CIt\u2019s describing the reality\u201D

The Catalan President added: \u201CI told him that \u2018if all the answers to Catalan claims are always \u2018no\u2019, 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\u2019s self-determination process]\u201D. \u201CThis is not a threat; it\u2019s describing the reality. The President of the Catalan Government\u2019s duty is to inform [the Spanish PM] on Catalonia\u2019s situation\u201D, Mas insisted.

\u201CNobody has asked me for a referendum\u201D said Rajoy

The Spanish PM also offered \u201Ctalks within the Constitution\u201D and he emphasised he will not and cannot authorise a self-determination referendum for Catalonia. According to Rajoy, in order to celebrate such referendum \u201Cthe 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\u201D. 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 \u201Crespects\u201D the decision of the British Government to allow self-determination in Scotland but he \u201Cdoes not want to asses it\u201D. Furthermore, Rajoy said that \u201Cnobody has asked me for a referendum\u201D, 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\u2019s Party (PP) \u2013 which runs the Spanish Government \u2013 and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

Catalonia is \u201Csubordinated\u201D to Spain

The Catalan President also lamented that currently there is a situation based on Catalonia\u2019s \u201Csubordination\u201D to the Spanish State. Now, \u201Cthe State daddy orders and the others have to obey and bow their heads\u201D. According to Mas, the relationship between Catalonia and Spain would be better \u201Cif they talked one to one\u201D. However, if this is not possible, for the Catalan President, the next best thing is Catalonia\u2019s \u201Cemancipation\u201D. Mas emphasised that \u201Cthis does not mean breaking bonds\u201D, as \u201Cthere will still be all sorts of bonds, firstly affective and sentimental ones\u201D. \u201CCurrently many people [in Catalonia] have these bonds and it is normal, logical, human and even positive\u201D, Mas underlined. The Catalan President insisted that Catalonia\u2019s self-determination process is an inclusive project, which is based on \u201Cgreat social majorities\u201D, \u201Cformed by very diverse people, with diverse origins, different languages, born in Catalonia or abroad\u201D.

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  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in a lunch meeting with businesspeople (by P. Mateos)

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in a lunch meeting with businesspeople (by P. Mateos)