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“Unity is a greater value” than “dialogue”, states Rajoy on Catalonia’s claims

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, did not announce any new plan to handle Catalonia’s self-determination claims during the State of the Nation Debate at the Spanish Parliament. On the contrary, Rajoy stiffened his stance on the issue and talked with a stronger tone than usual, saying that he “will not remain indifferent” to the self-determination process. The Spanish PM added he “will fight for Catalans and their progress”, as he will do for “all the Spaniards”. Rajoy repeated once again that Catalonia’s self-determination vote “cannot take place”. He said he is “always open to talk” but “always within the Constitution and the Law”, which are unquestionable red-lines. Two days ago, the European Commission had asked for a “dialogue” without red-lines “to keep Catalonia within Spain”. “Unity is a greater value” than “dialogue”, answered Rajoy. In addition, he pointed out that the Constitution can be modified following the foreseen procedures, although three months ago he completely opposed any modifications.

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25 February 2014 07:47 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, did not announce any new plan to handle Catalonia’s self-determination claims during the State of the Nation Debate, which started on Tuesday at the Spanish Parliament. On the contrary, Rajoy dug his heels in his stance on the issue and he even talked with a stronger tone than usual, saying that he “will not remain indifferent” to the self-determination process and will frontally oppose it. The Spanish PM added he “will fight for Catalans and their progress”, as he will do for “all the Spaniards”. Rajoy repeated once again that Catalonia’s self-determination vote “cannot take place” since, according to him, it does not fit into the Constitution. He urged those supporting self-determination to start by reforming the Constitution, but he did not mention that he is absolutely blocking such a reform. Despite his reluctance to make any concessions and changes, Rajoy said he is “always open to talk” but “always within the Constitution and the Law”, which are unquestionable red-lines. Two days ago, the European Commission had asked for a “dialogue” without red-lines “to keep Catalonia within Spain”. “Unity is a greater value” than “dialogue”, answered Rajoy on Tuesday before the Spanish Parliament.


The Spanish PM pointed out in his speech that “the Constitution can be modified” following the foreseen procedures and urged those supporting the Catalan self-determination claims to work on reforming Spain’s main law. It seemed that Rajoy presented such a reform as being possible and as if it had never been put on the table before. However, he forgot to mention that Catalan parties have already tried to proceed to institutional reforms on many occasions. In addition, in January the Socialist Party asked to start debating on a Constitutional change. In November, Rajoy himself announced he would block any proposal to modify the Constitution and since that moment he has closed all the doors to such a reform. In fact, the People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and is chaired by Rajoy, holds an absolute majority at the Spanish Parliament and can block any legal initiative, including a reform of the Constitution. And this is precisely what Rajoy is doing.

Rajoy blocks the Constitution reform, but he had modified it without any referendum in 2011

Despite Rajoy’s apparent reluctance to change the Constitution, Spain’s main law was reformed in an express way in the summer of 2011 to include a limitation to public deficit, with only the votes from the PP and Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE); a reform done with almost no debate and without any citizen referendum. Back then, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, warned that the Constitutional consensus had been broken, an idea also certified by a Catalan Parliament's motion, approved by an absolute majority. However, Rajoy tends to ignore this Constitutional Amendment and presents the Constitution as an obstacle not to allow a vote on Catalonia’s political future.

Rajoy “will fight for Catalans”

The Spanish Prime Minister kept the Catalan issue for the very last part of his speech. Rajoy spoke in a harsher tone than usual and he ensured he “will not remain indifferent” in front of Catalonia’s self-determination process, using an ambiguous wording since he did not announced any measure, plan or initiative. Some people could even consider the words as a veiled threat, taking into account the tone and what followed. “I will fight for Catalans and their progress, as well as for their welfare as I have been doing since I took office” he said. Rajoy underlined that his “duty” is “to take care of all the Spaniards”, because he is “worried, very worried, about what happens to people living in Catalonia”.

The Spanish PM glosses “unity”

At this point, Rajoy praised once again the concept of “unity”, presenting it as “a greater value” than “dialogue”. According to him, unity is in line with “a tradition, a memory and a shared heritage”. “We have not invented unity last week”, since “Spaniards have been part of the same nation for centuries, during which we have shared the same history, the same fortunes and the same calamities, mixing our blood and crossing our families”, he said. “Spanish society does not want to split up, and it is not in its benefit either”, he added. “Advanced countries do not privilege unity, but unity makes countries be advanced”, said Rajoy, “and it is not prosperity that unites us, but the other way round; it is unity that makes us prosperous”.

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  • Mariano Rajoy addressing the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday (by Álvaro Hurtado)

  • Mariano Rajoy addressing the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday (by Álvaro Hurtado)