catalonia-spain relations

German employers warn against Catalan independence’s “dreadful consequences”

February 11, 2014 09:27 PM | ACN

Around 60 German businesspeople working in Catalonia have issued a manifesto against independence from Spain. They warn against “the dreadful consequences” that independence would bring for the Catalan economy. The manifesto signers, who work in companies that invested millions in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, state that independence would represent the automatic expulsion from the European Union. They also add that “it is doubtful” it could still use the Euro. Furthermore, they “warn about the dangers of a nationalist fervour, which in the last century, has brought immeasurable suffering to Europe and which will neither bring anything good to Catalonia”. Besides, on the same day, the President of Spain’s main employer association, Juan Rosell, stated that independence would be “disastrous” for human relations. The Catalan Government respects their opinion but has refused to comment on the manifesto.

63% to back independence if Catalonia does not have greater self-government within Spain

February 10, 2014 07:37 PM | ACN

The Catalan Centre for Polling (CEO), linked to the Catalan Government, published “an experimental poll” based on 1,830 interviews on 10 different future scenarios, such as an independent Catalonia within the European Union, an independent Catalonia being expelled from the EU and independence bringing a positive economic impact. In the event that the Spanish Government insists in not changing anything regarding the current relationship between Catalonia and Spain, 62.7% of Catalans would vote “yes” in an independence referendum while 22.5% would oppose it and 7.8% would abstain. It is the highest-ever support to independence registered in an opinion poll. On the other hand, if the EU automatically expelled Catalonia if its citizens were to vote for independence, 45.4% would still vote “yes”, 37.6% would vote “no” and 12.7% would abstain. For all scenarios independence is the clear winner.

Spanish Parliament to debate Catalonia’s bill requesting the transfer of referendum powers

January 21, 2014 04:50 PM | ACN

The Bureau of the Spanish Parliament has accepted a debate on the Catalan Parliament’s bill requesting the transfer to the Catalan Executive of the powers to organise referendums, using Article 150.2 of the Spanish Constitution. The Bureau, totally controlled by the People’s Party (PP), has not discussed the contents and has only approved requesting the Catalan Parliament to send the bill’s full dossier, the step before putting the bill on the agenda. The motion would be debated in September, although there is a chance it could be rescheduled for June. However, Catalan parties will register an identical bill at the Spanish Parliament to discuss it even earlier, probably in March. The bill was approved by the Catalan Parliament with 87 ‘yes’ votes, 43 ‘no’ votes and 3 abstentions that considered the request was slowing down self-determination.

Rajoy rejects Catalonia’s self-determination vote once again

January 21, 2014 04:36 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated in a TV interview on Monday evening that he has “a plan” to prevent Catalonia’s self-determination and “guaranteed” that “the independence of any Spanish territory will not happen while [he is] in office”. Rajoy emphasised that his plan’s guidelines are, firstly, “implementing the law”. The Spanish PM said he is “ready for any scenario that might happen”, but refused to disclose any measure. Secondly, he would be “working on increasing the bonds that have always united the whole Catalan people and the people living in Catalonia that are not born in Catalonia with the whole Spanish people”. Thirdly, “working to solve the problems of the Spanish and Catalan economies”, as well as the funding of the Catalan Government. However, Rajoy stated he “will not call” the Catalan President, Artur Mas, despite the offers to talk.

Spanish Government defends teaching a single history of Spain

January 17, 2014 03:32 PM | ACN

The Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, emphasised the need to have a common and single history of Spain taught in all the Autonomous Communities. With the Education Reform he is currently proposing, the history curriculum will be imposed by Madrid and the Autonomous Communities will only be able to add a small portion referring to their own history. However, such additional contentswill be excluded from the final exams and therefore pupils will tend to ignorethem. With this initiative, Wert aims to impose a single interpretation of the historic facts affecting Spain’s history and nation-building. Lately, the Spanish Government, run by the People’s Party (PP), has repeatedly stated that Spain is “the oldest nation in Europe” and is now focusing on the education system to spread this idea.

Catalonia’s independence would have “a major adverse impact on Spain’s economy” warns Moody’s

January 16, 2014 07:47 PM | ACN

Rating agency Moody’s warns that Catalan independence from Spain might have “a major adverse impact on Spain’s economy” but also that “Catalonia itself could also suffer” if the break–up is not friendly. In a forecast about the Spanish economy published this week, the New York-based company analyses potential risks that might damage the expected economic recovery. Moody’s praise the high level of exports, based on a higher competitiveness reached by lowering salaries. However, the report, signed by Zach Witton, highlights that “debt reduction by households and businesses, elevated unemployment, the housing market correction, and tight credit will drag on growth”.

Spanish Government “will appeal against” the self-determination call “the very next minute”

January 14, 2014 09:28 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government accuses Madrid of continued “prejudices” since “appealing against” a measure “the very next minute” after it is announced “does not leave time to fully analyse it” and therefore “does not respect the rule of law”. A majority of Catalan parties is proposing a self-determination vote for the 9th of November in accordance with the legal framework. There are 5 different ways to legally organise such a vote according to Constitutional experts. However, the Spanish Government is insisting that such a vote is illegal. The Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón stated on Tuesday: “if Mas [the Catalan President] signs a decree calling the consultation vote instead of [only] resigning himself to giving a statement, the very next minute, this decree will be taken to the Constitutional Court”. Furthermore, he added that “there is no doubt” that the vote “will be suspended” by the Court.

People’s Party rejects the Socialists’ territorial reform to better fit Catalonia

January 14, 2014 08:38 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Parliament and Senate, closed the door on launching a broad debate on Spain’s territorial organisation and on reforming the Constitution accordingly. The objective of this reform would be to keep Catalonia within Spain by answering some of the Catalan claims and working towards an improved relationship. “We are not willing to open debates that divide the Spaniards”, stated Alfonso Alonso, the PP Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament. The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, had sent a letter to the President of the Spanish Parliament, asking him to create “a body” to debate on a broad territorial reform.

Grassroots platform collects signatures for Catalonia’s independence

January 13, 2014 07:50 PM | ACN

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grassroots organisation that organised the two massive demonstrations for Catalonia’s independence in 2012 and 2013, is working on another initiative to allow Catalan citizens to hold a self-determination vote. This past weekend it installed 700 stands throughout Catalonia with 3,000 attorneys-in-fact to collect signatures for an independence referendum and, if this is deemed impossible, the unilateral declaration of independence, in accordance with international law. The ‘Sign a Vote for Independence’ initiative started last June and will continue during the upcoming months, but on Saturday and Sunday, a special push was given to boost the process. The ANC said the massive signature collecting had been “a success”. Figures will be provided next week although the campaign is still ongoing.

Spanish Socialists propose a “territorial reform” to better fit Catalonia

January 13, 2014 07:13 PM | ACN

The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, sent a letter to the President of the Spanish Parliament, Jesús Posada, asking him to create “a parliamentary body to talk about the renovation of the territorial model”. This was one of the conclusions of last week’s meeting between Rubalcaba and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of the PSOE. The final objective is to push for a broad Constitutional reform to create a true federal Spain and better fit Catalonia, providing an alternative from the current status quo or independence. However, the initiative faces a negative answer from the People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Parliament and Senate.

French study backs EU membership of independent Catalonia and Scotland

January 9, 2014 07:31 PM | ACN

The former Chief of Staff of the French Minister for European Affairs and current member of the Conseil d’État, Yves Gounin, argues that the independence of Catalonia, Scotland or Flanders would not cause their immediate expulsion from the European Union but neither would it result in their automatic inclusion. Gounin states that a political negotiation should be undertaken; it would be “the most realistic” approach, he says. Therefore, according to this study published in the journal Politique Étrangère, independence and EU membership should be negotiated at the same time and therefore the implementation of EU Treaties would not be interrupted at any moment. Gounin underlines that there are legal and political arguments to defend that an independent Catalonia or Scotland would not be expelled from the EU. It is in “everybody’s” interest, he highlighted.

Experts suggest increasing cooperation between an independent Catalonia and Spain

December 20, 2013 09:21 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government’s Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of renowned independent experts, emphasised that Catalonia’s independence from Spain would not represent breaking their affective and historical bounds. Furthermore, they insisted on the need to continue and even to increase cooperation “based on a new principle of equality and mutual respect between both parties”. They have suggested different ways to cooperate, through different structures. For instance, they proposed the creation of the ‘Iberian Council’ bringing together Catalonia and Spain, as well as Portugal and Andorra if they wished to, which would mirror the Nordic Council or the Benelux. Furthermore, the CATN issued three other reports, including a detailed analysis of Catalonia’s tax agency.

‘Catalan Way towards independence’ is Wall Street Journal’s photo of the year

December 19, 2013 08:15 PM | ACN

The readers of the Wall Street Journal have deemed best photograph of the year a picture of the ‘Catalan Way towards independence’, a 400-kilometre-long human chain which crossed the whole of Catalonia on the 11th of September 2013. 1.6 million Catalans took part in the demonstration, asking for independence from Spain. The winning photograph was taken by Raymond Roig and portrays participants on the heights of Pertús village (located near the French border, in the Pyrenees). It was chosen amongst the 364 pictures selected by ‘Wall Street Journal’ editors as the best photos of the year.