The Catalan President: “No one can use weapons to go against the will of a people”

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, signed the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament calling for early elections on Monday. He stated that Catalans have “to vote without fear”, referring to Spain’s threats to veto Catalonia’s access to the EU or even with a military intervention. Mas sent a warning to Spain: “act as a mature and sensible state” and “watch out” as the world is looking. Furthermore, Mas guaranteed that Catalonia’s self-determination will be “a totally democratic and peaceful process”. Besides, European Commission’s Vice President Reding stated that Catalonia’s independence from Spain does not mean its exclusion from the EU. “International legislation does not say” that Catalonia would be excluded, she said in an interview with a newspaper from Seville.


October 2, 2012 01:34 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, signed the dissolution of the current Catalan Parliament on Monday, putting an end to the legislative term and calling for early elections. Mas stated that Catalan citizens have “to vote without fear” on 25th November, as “no one can use weapons to go against the will of a people”. The Catalan President was referring to the recent threats sent by Spanish nationalists, threatening Catalonia with a military intervention to take control and block any self-determination process, or with access to the European Union vetoed in case of independence. Mas sent a warning message to Spain: “act as a mature and sensible state” and “watch out” as the world is not only looking at the Catalan side, but also at Spain. Furthermore, Mas underlined that Catalonia’s self-determination is “a process with absolute democratic respect and a peaceful and constructive attitude”, and he guaranteed it will remain so as “Catalonia’s self-determination process is not going against anyone”. Mas emphasised that Catalonia’s self-determination process is not “a secession, a separation or a breakdown” but the “natural evolution” of a nation with 1,000 years of shared history. Regarding the speculation of Catalonia being out of the EU, Mas referred to the recent statement of Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Justice and Citizenship affairs. In an interview with the Diario de Sevilla, from southern Spain, Reding categorically stated that the “international legislation does not say” that Catalonia would be automatically expelled from the EU. Furthermore, Reding praised “Catalan citizens’ deep European feelings”. The Catalan President emphasised that Catalonia’s will is clearly to be part of the EU. He added that there is no precedent and the legislation does not specify what the process would be, and therefore in the coming months there will be opinions from all directions and the solution will be negotiated. Mas stated that he will work to have the guarantee that Catalan citizens will not be expelled from the EU.

“No one can shut the voice of a people up by inferring fear. There are already many generations of Catalans who have had to go through the shame of being under the rule of a dictatorial state”, stated the Catalan President on Monday, when he attended a press conference after signing the dissolution of the current Catalan Parliament, a necessary step to organise the elections. Mas tried to send a calm message to the Catalan population after many statements made by the Spanish nationalist media and politicians, threatening Catalonia with being expelled from the Euro, the EU and even to suffer a military intervention. He also sent a message to the business people and investors. “No one has to be afraid of this process, because being afraid of this means being afraid of democracy and the majority. And who is afraid of this?” he stated.

Mas denounced Spain’s use of threats to infer fear in Catalonia and downgrade its will to start a self-determination process. However, the Catalan President underlined that Spain and therefore Catalonia are part of the European Union, where “democracy is a holy principle”. “Within this democratic framework, everything can be put on the table and be decided with [the backing] of a sufficient majority”, he stressed.

Furthermore, he reaffirmed that Catalonia will begin “a process with absolute democratic respect and a peaceful and constructive attitude”. In addition, the Catalan President asked for the same from Spain, and asked Spain to not use fear or threaten to go against the large democratic majority. He also warned Spain that the international community is not only looking at Catalonia, but also at Spain and how it reacts before a democratic process such as a large majority of Catalans are advocating for.

Message to the markets

Answering the question from a Swiss journalist, Mas sent also a message to the markets. He asked them to analyse Catalonia’s economic history, with a strong business, entrepreneurial, industrial and trading tradition. “This people [the Catalan], without having State tools, without being able to legislate on their own, without having enough economic resources, have become the most dynamic tourist and scientific pole in Southern Europe. They should analyse the universities we have, our business schools, etc. Catalonia has done all this without having State tools and with an unprecedented fiscal deficit within the EU”, he explained.