catalan statute of autonomy

Spanish Government threatens to suspend Catalonia's self-rule to stop independence vote

September 16, 2014 09:14 PM | ACN

Catalonia's self-government might be suspended in the coming weeks if the Catalan authorities organise the self-determination consultation vote on the 9th of November, suggested the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo. The week after 1.8 million Catalans formed an 11km-long mosaic to support November's non-binding vote, García-Margallo stated that the Spanish Executive will use "all the means at its disposal" to stop such a vote from happening; all the means "within the Law, but using all the Law", he added. A few hours later, before the Spanish Parliament, García-Margallo was asked about this statement, which he confirmed. He also dared to talk about an armed intervention but ruled out the possibility of "putting out the tanks", because "that does not seem to be within the Constitution". Catalonia's autonomy was restored in Autumn 1977 and it was one of the most essential pillars of Spain's democratic transition and of the Constitution approved in December 1978.

Extreme-right organisation sues President of main pro-independence grass-roots organisation

August 21, 2014 07:13 PM | ACN

Manos Limpias, an extreme-right and Spanish nationalist trade union, will file a judicial complaint against Carme Forcadell, President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grass-roots NGO that is organising the main campaign for independence from Spain. The far-right organisation will sue Forcadell for "provoking sedition", as they consider she is "the driving force" and "the leader of Catalan civil society", and the main promoter of "a road map" towards independence. In addition, Manos Limpias' Secretary General, Miguel Bernad, said they have "data" showing that "the consultation vote will take place" on the 9th of November, even if the Spanish authorities ban it. The extreme-right organisation does not rule out the possibility of presenting similar complaints against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the President of the left-wing independence party ERC, Oriol Junqueras.

Self-determination forces clash over possibility to postpone 9th November vote if Spain blocks it

August 12, 2014 09:04 PM | ACN

In the last few days, the centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, has sent several messages suggesting that the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November would not take place on that day if the Spanish authorities managed to declare it illegal, despite that fact that it would be backed by Catalan legislation. At first it was the President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, who stated that "the only plan is to vote", being on the 9th of November consultation or later through plebiscite elections. The last message was sent this Tuesday by the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, who said that "if the [Spanish] State puts obstacles in front of the vote on the 9th of November" the vote will be postponed. The rest of parties that support the self-determination vote – ERC, ICV-EUiA and CUP – replied to Ortega, saying that Catalans have to vote on that day. In addition, the two grass-roots organisations behind the pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 have stressed that they "will not give up on voting on the 9th of November".

Spanish Government cuts infrastructure investment by 50% in Catalonia and only 25% in the rest of Spain

July 24, 2014 09:33 PM | ACN

According to a report published on Thursday by Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish Government's investment in infrastructure in Catalonia has dropped by 50% in the last 10 years, while it has been reduced by 25% throughout the rest of Spain in the same period. The President of the business association, Miquel Valls, stated that this reduction represents "a break"in the Catalan economy's growth, which could be in a better position to speed up the economic recovery. The report takes into account the executed investment made by the Spanish Government and its public companies in areas such as airports, high-speed railway or harbours. In 2006, the Spanish Parliament recognised "a historical" lack of investment in Catalonia when it approved the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and set a minimum investment percentage share to be made in Catalonia to compensate this in the next 7 years. This share was never respected.

The King's succession process will not have the explicit support from Catalan nationalists

June 4, 2014 08:41 PM | ACN

The Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU), which runs the Catalan Government and was an essential part of Spain's Transition from dictatorship to democracy, will not vote in favour of the law regulating the King's abdication. The CiU, which has played a crucial role in Spanish politics, has decided to abstain in the Spanish Parliament's vote, in line with its support of Catalonia's self-determination process. All other Catalan parties are expected to oppose the succession process, with the exception of the Catalan socialist Party (PSC) –part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – and the Catalan branch of the People's Party (PP). In his first speech after his father's abdication announcement, the soon-to-be Felipe VI promised "to serve […] our beloved Spain", "a nation, a political and social community, united, diverse, which deepens its root in a millenary history".

Catalonia is not "a sovereign political and legal subject" states the Constitutional Court

March 25, 2014 10:15 PM | ACN

Spain's Constitutional Court has reached a unanimous decision against the Catalan Parliament's 'Declaration of Sovereignty', approved in January 2013 and appealed by the Spanish Government. In May 2013 the Constitutional Court put the Declaration on hold, temporarily stopping its implementation while it was reaching a definitive decision, which has happened this Tuesday evening. In the end the Court has declared the first part of the text, which stated that "the people of Catalonia is, for reasons of democratic legitimacy, a sovereign political and legal subject", "unconstitutional and void". However, it adds that the people of Catalonia have "the right to decide" but not "to self-determination", and it points out that the Constitution can be reformed. After months of internal debate and previous failed attempts to reach a consensus, the decision arrived a few hours after the Catalan Parliament had approved a motion to disqualify 3 of the 12 members of the Constitutional Court of not being impartial on this issue.

Spanish Parliament rejects motions urging Rajoy to stop his no-to-everything stance on Catalan claims

February 27, 2014 03:06 PM | ACN

Catalan parties have filed several motions requesting the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to make a move regarding Catalonia’s self-determination and abandon his frontal opposition attitude. “React now before it’s too late”, the Spokesperson of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which runs the Catalan Government told Rajoy. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) was asking the Spanish Government to negotiate the terms for holding a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. The Catalan Green Socialist and Post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) was asking Rajoy to transfer the powers to organise referendums to the Catalan Government, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Spanish and Catalan Socialists are proposing a revision of Spain’s territorial model. Rajoy rejected all the motions.

“The Europe of integration” would end if the EU expels an independent Catalonia, states the Catalan Government

February 25, 2014 03:01 PM | ACN

The Catalan Minister for the Presidency and Spokesperson for the Executive, Francesc Homs, warned that “if a political solution cannot be reached” to keep Catalonia within the EU if it becomes independent from Spain, it would be “the end of Europe as a model for democratic and peaceful integration of the different peoples that form it”. On Monday, in a debate on ‘Catalonia’s political process’ held at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Law, Homs highlighted the fact that if EU Treaties had been interpreted “literally”, the financial bailouts for Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece would not have been possible. However, in this case, the EU reacted “with common sense” and for “the general interest”. Therefore, “since the EU is a project of peace and democracy, a political solution [for Catalonia] will be found, as the EU has ever done in all situations”, he stated.

Spain’s Supreme Court insists on making Spanish a language of instruction in Catalonia

February 18, 2014 07:52 PM | ACN

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled against the Catalan school model again. The model, which is based on the linguistic immersion principle, has been in place since the mid-1980s and totally guarantees the pupils’ knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan at the end of their schooling period. On Monday the Court rejected an appeal lodged last year by the Catalan Government against a previous judgement that obliged a school to go against Catalonia’s Education Law and teach the entire class in Spanish following a single request from a little girl’s family, irrespective of the opinion of the other pupils’ families. This is another episode in a long series of judicial rulings, appeals and judgements against Catalonia’s school model and the Catalan language since 2010. Spanish nationalists, particularly Madrid-based media and the People’s Party (PP), have been attacking this model and the Catalan language for the last decade and a half, but recently they have managed to get the centralist judicial authorities to back them.

Judges say that Catalonia’s self-determination fits within the Spanish Constitution

February 14, 2014 03:33 PM | ACN

33 Catalan judges have signed a manifesto supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The judges emphasise that such a right fits into the current constitutional framework and is in line with international law. Some of the signatories work in provincial High Courts and have been members of the body governing judicial power in Spain (CGPJ). It is the first time that Spanish State civil servants have made such a clear statement supporting the right of the Catalan people to decide freely on their collective future and their relation to Spain. Judicial power in Spain is totally centralised and has a deep centralist tradition. According to these law experts, “Catalonia is a nation”, “without discussion”, and therefore has “full sovereignty to decide on its own future”.

Catalan school system against Hispanicisation and the Spanish Government’s Education Reform

February 11, 2014 04:04 PM | ACN

On Tuesday Catalonia’s education stakeholders – including unions, pedagogic organisations and parent associations – asked the Catalan Executive and Parliament to lead “the boycott” of the Spanish Government’s Education Reform, known as LOMQE. This reform aims to recentralise education powers, foster religion and impose Spanish as a language of instruction in Catalonia. Furthermore, on Monday evening thousands of people demonstrated in front of Catalonia’s High Court (TSJC) in support of the current school model in Catalonia, which is based on the linguistic immersion principle that guarantees the knowledge of both Spanish and Catalan. Political parties, trade unions, cultural associations and teaching organisations were protesting against the TSJC’s recent ruling that imposed a requirement that 25% of a school’s curriculum be taught in Spanish if a single pupil asks for it. The TSJC was interpreting a judgement by the Spanish Supreme Court, framed in a broader offensive against Catalan language.

Courts request Catalan schools to teach “at least 25%" of the mandatory subjects in Spanish

January 31, 2014 08:44 PM | ACN

Catalonia’s High Court has interpreted the last sentence of the Spanish Supreme Court and forces the Catalan Government to offer “at least” 25% of the mandatory school curricula in Spanish in the schools where pupils ask for it. A dozen of parents had complained in the last few years, filing several appeals and stating they wanted their children to be taught in Spanish in Catalonia’s public schools. The Catalan school model is based on the linguistic immersion principle and almost all the subjects are taught in Catalan except Spanish which is taught as a language. However, the system includes many flexibility measures for new-comers and individualised attention in Spanish. The Spanish Supreme Court considered this was insufficient and sentenced that a class had to be taught in Spanish if the family of a single pupil asked for it and even if the other children’s families had not requested it.

‘Sciences Po’ Professor: “transition” solution needed so “Catalans are not excluded from the EU”

January 31, 2014 07:49 PM | ACN

A Professor at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), Jean-Bernard Auby, has advocated for a temporary solution to keep Catalonia within the European Union if it reaches independence from Spain. This agreement should guarantee that Catalonia will not be excluded from the EU even if it does not immediately become a full-member. During a conference in Sciences Po Toulouse organised alongside the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Auby insisted that “Catalonia and the Catalans are part of the EU” and for this reason, if they become independent “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”. The conference ‘The right to self-determination of Catalonia. Legality and democratic legitimacy’ is part of a series of debates on the right to self-determination, organised by the Diplocat and scheduled in prestigious universities throughout Europe.

Catalan Government to require Madrid to pay the €2 billion owed

January 8, 2014 08:31 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government will file several formal demands for payment of the €2.02 billion the Spanish Government legally owes Catalonia from the 2008-2013 period. The money represents 1% of Catalonia’s GDP or 7% of the Catalan Government’s budget. According to the Statute of Autonomy, which was approved by the Spanish Parliament and came into force in 2006, the Spanish Government was obliged to invest a percentage equal to or higher than Catalonia’s share of Spain’s GDP between 2007 and 2013 in order to compensate for an historical lack of infrastructure investment. If it was not doing so, the Spanish Executive had to compensate Catalonia financially. The measure was adopted after exhaustive negotiations and was essential to the approval of this law by the Catalan people through a binding referendum. However, the Spanish Government never honoured it. Madrid compensated Catalonia for the lack of investment in 2007, but not for the remaining years.

The ‘father of the Constitution’ Miquel Roca states that the text does not ban a self-determination referendum

October 15, 2013 11:24 PM | ACN

One of the six ‘fathers’ of the Spanish Constitution, Miquel Roca, who currently leads one of the largest law firms in Spain, stated that the Constitution does not ban a referendum on Catalonia’s self-determination. “It is a matter of political will”, since Catalonia is recognised “as a nationality” by Spain’s main law, stated the respected lawyer, who also used to be a leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). In front of a committee of the Catalan Parliament, Roca remarked that it would be “absurd” to call for a referendum at Spanish level, as it would only be binding in Catalonia. In the rest of Spain it would not be binding, emphasised Roca, as “it is said in Article 92”. This article reads that non-binding referendums can be called regarding issues of extreme importance.