eu membership

“Every nation seeks a friendly State”, states Catalan Minister in a self-determination debate at Geneva University

June 6, 2014 10:24 PM | ACN

The University of Geneva hosted on Friday a debate on the future of Catalonia and the question of self-determination, in the first activity of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) in Switzerland. The event, organised by the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva in collaboration with the Swiss daily newspaper 'Le Temps', was attended by more than 150 people, who actively participated in the debate. Guest speakers included Francesc Homs, Catalan Minister for the Presidency Office and Spokesperson for the Government of Catalonia, Mercè Barceló, Chair of Constitutional Law at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (UAB), and the Director of the Global Studies Institute, Nicolas Levrat.

Catalonia's independence and EU membership, feature in the EU Presidential debate

May 16, 2014 09:39 PM | ACN

In the first debate ever among the official candidates to chair the European Commission, Catalonia's self-determination process, the referendum and the EU membership of a hypothetical Catalan independent state was discussed. After a question from the debate's host, Italian journalist Monica Maggioni, about Scotland and Catalonia, each of the five candidates shared their views on the issue. Juncker (People's Party) and Schultz (Socialist) called for respect for constitutional frameworks and insisted that Scotland and Catalonia are internal matters for the UK and Spain. Verhofstadt (Liberals) emphasised that the EU has to listen to the citizens and that it cannot intervene in a negative way, as it has done so far in this issue. Keller (Greens) promised that if Scots and Catalans vote for independence, she will work for an automatic membership. Tsipras (Alternative Left) recognised the right to self-determination but suggested greater autonomy within their respective countries as the best solution for Catalonia and Scotland.

Catalan human towers to be built in 7 European capitals for self-determination

April 29, 2014 05:22 PM | ACN

On 8th of June, thousands of Catalans will simultaneously build their traditional human towers – called castells – in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Paris and Barcelona, carrying a banner reading "Catalans want to vote". This festive demonstration aims to raise international awareness about the aspiration shared by more than 75% of Catalonia's population: to be able to hold a self-determination vote to decide on its independence from Spain. The project 'Catalans want to vote – Human towers for democracy' is a privately-funded initiative organised by the civil society organisation Òmnium Cultural. In fact, this Tuesday it was announced that the project has reached its objective of raising 120,000 euros through Verkami's crowd-funding web site. The money will be used to pay for the trip costs of the castellers, those building the human towers (called castells).

The International Liberal Congress backs Catalans' right to self-determination and to stay within the EU

April 28, 2014 08:23 PM | ACN

The alliance of Liberal parties from throughout the world included a motion supporting Catalans' right to self-determination and to stay within the European Union in its main resolution approved at their international congress that took place in Rotterdam last weekend. "Liberal International will support any decision taken by the Catalan people on their future" reads the text, which also "expresses concern over the lack of real dialogue" between Spanish and Catalan authorities "to discuss a negotiated roadmap over the future of Catalonia". Among the parties backing this statement are the UK's Lib-Dems, the Dutch VVD and Germany's FDP. The resolution also states that "the European Union has to be flexible and strong to offer a viable alternative for those people that want to democratically express themselves within it".

Norwegian and Catalan experts discuss Catalonia’s right to self-determination at Oslo University

April 24, 2014 10:23 PM | ACN

On Thursday Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) hosted a round table debate with Norwegian and Catalan academics, journalists and economists to discuss the economic viability of an independent Catalonia and how it would fit into the European framework, whether in the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). This debate was part of the conference 'Self-Determination Processes in the EU: the case of Catalonia', organised by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) together with the University of Oslo. The Diplocat – an organisation backed by the Catalan Government, universities, business associations, trade unions, FC Barcelona and other public and private institutions – is organising a series of debates in European and Spanish universities on Catalonia's self-determination demands.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister accuses the Catalan Government of lying about independent Catalonia's EU membership

April 16, 2014 09:41 PM | ACN

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has accused the Catalan Government of "not telling the whole truth" regarding the EU membership of an independent Catalonia. García-Margallo stated a month ago that an independent Catalonia would "roam across space" and would be "excluded from the European Union for centuries of centuries". On Wednesday he referred to an expert report issued this week by the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of prestigious academics. The CATN stated that EU Treaties do not include provisions for automatic expulsion nor for automatic admission. Therefore, the final decision would be reached in a negotiation with political and economic interests at play. For them, the most likely scenario is one with transition measures to guarantee the continuity of EU Law, the Schengen Area and the Euro, while waiting for the official admission of Catalonia to be accepted.

Catalan Government's Advisory Council: an independent Catalonia would not be excluded from the EU

April 14, 2014 09:46 PM | ACN

An independent Catalonia would benefit from transition measures that would guarantee the continuity of European Union agreements, thus staying within the Schengen Area and the Euro Zone. This is the most likely scenario in the event of independence, according to the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which is a body formed of independent and prestigious academics. The CATN is issuing a series of reports on different aspects related to a hypothetical independent Catalan state. This expert group emphasises that there is "no legal basis" to conclude that Catalonia would be automatically expelled from the EU the moment it became independent, or to state that it would automatically join the Union as a new Member State. There is no provision in the Treaties and there are no precedents. The report concludes that Catalonia's EU membership will be decided in a negotiation process where political and economic interests will be at play.

Rajoy gives another “no” to Catalonia and offers a banned Constitutional reform

April 8, 2014 11:56 PM | ACN

On Tuesday evening the Spanish Parliament rejected a motion to transfer to the Catalan Government the power to organise a specific non-binding self-determination referendum, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. 86% of all Spanish MPs rejected a motion presented by the Catalan Parliament to this effect, which was backed by some two-thirds of Barcelona’s Chamber. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected the petition using his own interpretation of the Constitution, stating that Catalans could not possibly hold a vote on this issue within the current legal framework and therefore he could not authorise it. However, he pointed out that the Constitution could be reformed, although at the same time he has been blocking this way in recent years and has refused to talk about it. The Catalan representatives argued that allowing a self-determination vote was only a matter of political will.

60% to support Catalonia becoming a new European independent state

March 18, 2014 08:13 PM | ACN

According to a poll issued by the Centre of Opinion Studies (CEO), run by the Catalan Government, 59.7% of Catalans would agree with Catalonia becoming "a new European State". Specifically, 40.2% of the interviewees "totally agree" with the idea, 19.5% of the interviewees tend to agree, 10.8% tend to disagree and 18.9% are "totally against" it. Furthermore, 87.3% of the interviewees affirm they would accept the result of a self-determination referendum while 9.3% state they would not accept it. Furthermore, 74% of Catalans believe that the best way to decide on Catalonia's political future and its relationship with Spain is through a referendum, while 21.7% think the opposite.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry report: independent Catalonia’s GDP would drop by 20%

March 13, 2014 09:06 PM | ACN

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry has drafted a new report on the consequences of an independent Catalonia, which predicts a 20% drop of the Catalan GDP. According to ‘El Periódico’ newspaper, the document - which will be sent to embassies throughout the world - foresees a fall in exports towards Europe and Spain, a decrease in foreign investments, a flight of talent, less tourism revenues because of the “lack of a common currency”, and a soar in Catalan debt which would reach 78.4% of the Catalan GDP since it would have to assume 18.9% of the Spanish Government's debt. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency and Government Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, said the report was merely “speculative”, adding that the Spanish Ministry was actually “campaigning” against self-determination. The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs has asked Catalan authorities to back such claims with “empirical evidence”.

‘The New York Times’ editorial: Catalan secession claims are

March 12, 2014 08:04 PM | ACN

In its editorial on Wednesday, the prestigious ‘The New York Times’ has dissociated the current situation in Crimea and its secession from Ukraine from the independence processes in Catalonia, Scotland and Quebec. The editorial article, which demands European Union countries to impose economic sanctions on Vladimir Putin's Russia, states that the Catalans, Scots and Quebecers “have shown there are legitimate ways to raise” the secession issue. The American newspaper criticized Crimea for its “phony referendum” with a “foreordained” outcome, organised in an express way just as Russian soldiers were being deployed in the peninsula. The newspaper admits secession is a “difficult” matter but recalled that the invasion of Crimea is “illegal”, calling on the international community to react to Putin’s actions.

European Greens' Leader, Ska Keller, supports Catalonia's self-determination

March 10, 2014 08:44 PM | ACN

The Greens' candidate to chair the European Commission in next May’s elections, Ska Keller, committed herself to working for Catalonia's right to self-determination. The German politician said on Monday in Barcelona that "the Greens defend radical democracy and in Catalonia there is a citizen demand in favour of a [self-determination] referendum". "For this reason I want to make the personal commitment that, if I am elected Commission President, I will support Catalonia in allowing a consultation vote on its political future and its relationship with Spain", promised the European Greens' top candidate. Keller, who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009, urged the Spanish Government to launch a negotiation process to make this vote possible.

Spanish Government: Independent Catalonia to "roam across space […] excluded from the EU for the centuries of the centuries"

March 10, 2014 07:43 PM | ACN

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, stated that a unilateral declaration of independence would condemn Catalonia "to roam across space" and that it would be "excluded from the European Union for the centuries of the centuries". García-Margallo, who is one of the most vocal members of the Spanish Executive against Catalonia's independence, stated that such a scenario is "a high risk operation". He criticised the politicians supporting independence, who "put at risk a population that is essentially European", which goes against the will of a majority of Catalans "who want to be part of the European area". "Secession is extremely harmful for Spain but particularly harmful for Catalonia", he insisted. On the same day, the Candidate of the Greens to chair the European Commission, German Ska Keller, stated she was supporting Catalonia's right to self-determination.

Spanish Deputy Minister for the EU told Commissioner Reding “what is going on in this country”

February 26, 2014 08:56 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy disclosed on Tuesday evening that the Spanish Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo had travelled to Barcelona on Sunday “to talk with” Viviane Reding and tell her “what is going on in this country”. Méndez de Vigo’s trip was decided after the European Commission Vice President had publicly called on Catalan and Spanish authorities to negotiate “without red-lines” to solve the conflict. Rajoy also said that he had spoken about Catalonia with the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, “and many other political leaders”. The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, ironically stated that  the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry is putting “so much pressure […] for us not to be received anywhere [to talk about self-determination] that in the end [this attitude] opens doors for us”.

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

February 25, 2014 07:47 PM | 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 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.