The Spanish Government’s disloyalty towards Catalonia cost €9.38 billion according to the Catalan Executive

October 15, 2013 10:40 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has published a report listing all the Spanish Executive’s disloyalties towards Catalonia including not respecting legislation, devolved powers and cultural aspects. The 50-page document has a chapter quantifying the costs of such disloyalty, which totals €9.375 billion, according to the Catalan Government. €5.748 billion correspond to infrastructure which has not been built; €672 million to a reduction in institutional transfers; €1.715 billion to spending increases due to the Spanish Government’s unilateral decisions; and €1.239 to revenue reductions due to similar unilateral decisions which have never been compensated. The report does not take into account the so-called fiscal deficit – the €16.5 billion that each year Catalan tax-payers transfer to the rest of Spain. The Catalan Government emphasised that there has been “a permanent disloyal activity” since 2000.

The Spanish Government announces in October that €1.7 billion will not be transferred to the Catalan Executive this year

October 15, 2013 09:50 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government will receive €1.7 billion less from the Spanish Liquidity Fund (FLA) in 2013 than had been previously foreseen. The news was announced by the Spanish Government in mid-October, with only 10 weeks left before the end of the year. Madrid has justified the decision by linking the FLA to the plan to lend money to public bodies in order to enable them to pay suppliers. The money to pay suppliers will now be deducted from the FLA, changing the previous conditions. As a consequence, the Catalan Government will not be able to fund the 1.58% deficit it had allowed, since the FLA is its only access to liquidity. Now, Catalonia will only have money for the previously-foreseen 0.7% deficit. The Catalan Executive feels “tricked” as “it is not understandable that the Spanish Government agrees to a greater deficit and later cannot fund this deficit”.

Large demonstration in Barcelona organised by Spain’s unity supporters, but smaller than the independence march

October 12, 2013 09:47 PM | ACN

On Saturday, Spain’s National Day, those opposing Catalan independence and defending Spain’s unity organised a large-scale demonstration in Barcelona. In absolute terms, the demonstration was far from gathering as many people as the Catalan independence demonstration a month ago or that of 2012. However, it was still a massive concentration of people, gathering around 30,000 people according to the local police, 105,000 according to the Spanish Government and 160,000 according to the organisers. The People’s Party and the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s) attended the demonstration. The organisers had been received on Thursday by the Presidents of the Catalan Government and Parliament.

Commissioner Hahn on Catalonia's EU membership: “the question can be resolved in a more relaxed way”

October 8, 2013 10:50 PM | ACN

In an interview with the Catalan News Agency, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, the Austrian Johannes Hahn, nuanced previous statements made by other Commissioners and opened the door to debating Catalonia’s EU membership “in a more relaxed way”. Hahn “rejected” the idea that the Commission “is ignoring Catalonia’s independence movement”; “we are watching it carefully”, he said. On the question of automatic expulsion from the EU in the event of becoming independent, the Commissioner emphasised that “of course there is no provision in the Treaty and that’s why legal experts have the opinion that then Catalonia should ask for membership”. However he immediately added that “we should resolve this issue in a more relaxed way”, since “if there is independence, it would not happen from one day to the next”.

Baden-Württemberg Vice President: “It’s up to the Catalans to decide if they feel better in Spain or on a stand-alone basis”

October 1, 2013 09:52 PM | Laura Pous / Albert Segura

Nils Schmid, Vice President of Baden-Württemberg and regional Minister for Finance and the Economy, said in an exclusive interview with the CNA that Catalans are the ones who have to decide whether they want to remain within Spain or to become independent. This process should “of course […] be based on a referendum”. The Leader of the Social-Democrats (SPD) in this state also added that his party is proposing to include the possibility of holding referendums at national level in Germany, which is currently not envisaged by the German Constitution. However, he “cannot imagine” an independence referendum for Baden-Württemberg. On other issues, Schmid pointed out that “fiscal consolidation is not enough” and has to come with “structural reforms” and policies to stimulate growth. He also welcomed Catalans who are going to Germany to find job opportunities.

The Catalan President in Brussels: “The EU solution will not be to kick out 7.5 million Europeans”

September 30, 2013 09:38 PM | ACN

In his seventh official visit to the European Union institutions as President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, met with three European Commissioners on Monday, including Vice President for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn. Mas acknowledged that they had not asked him about Catalonia’s independence process – an attitude that does not surprise him, he said. Mas explained that neither had he brought it up, since his visit was to discuss specific policies and issues. “If they do not ask me about it [Catalonia’s self-determination process], I do not talk about it”, he said. However, when addressing the press, the Catalan President emphasised that the EU should have “the political honesty to acknowledge there are no precedents” regarding the secession of a part of a Member State, and no path is set in the EU Treaties for this eventuality.

The Catalan Parliament approves requesting the Spanish Parliament to authorise a self-determination vote

September 27, 2013 10:08 PM | ACN

In addition, the Catalan Chamber has also approved setting up the exact date, question and legal process for the self-determination vote before the end of the year. The resolution was approved with 65% of the Catalan Parliament’s members voting in favour. However, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – finally decided to vote against the text. The request was approved with the votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) and the radical left wing and independence party CUP. The PSC, the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the anti-Catalan nationalist and populist party Ciutadans (C’s) voted against.

A self-determination vote without a ‘third way’ and a more social budget for 2014

September 26, 2013 11:46 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) agreed on speeding up the process of building “state structures” and drafting the “most social budget” in Catalonia’s recent history. In addition, Mas criticised the ‘third way’ between independence from Spain and the current situation proposed by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and CiU’s ‘number 2’, saying that Catalans “have been trying” this way “for the last 100 years” and “it has never worked”. Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C’s) called on Mas to stop the self-determination process. However, the main Catalan parties, from left to right and representing 77% of the parliamentary seats, presented a common text supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination through a legal vote.

The Catalan President asks for a broad agreement to define the legal framework for a self-determination vote in 2014

September 25, 2013 10:47 PM | ACN

On the occasion of the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, called the Debate on General Policy, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked the political parties to work on a broad “triple agreement” on the exact date, question and legal framework for holding a self-determination vote. Furthermore, Mas stated that he wanted this agreement to be reached before the end of the year, in order to have the road paved for holding the vote in 2014. However, he did not say whether the question will be exclusively about Catalonia’s independence from Spain or whether a third way will also be included as an option. Besides, Mas re-affirmed his will to negotiate with the Spanish Government on the legal formula for organising a referendum. However, he also stressed that if Madrid completely rejects talks on holding a self-determination vote, there is nothing to negotiate on.

IAG CEO: Vueling would still be based in Barcelona even if an independent Catalonia was not in the EU

September 25, 2013 08:19 PM | ACN

Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG – the group formed by British Airways and Iberia, guaranteed that its subsidiary airline Vueling will continue having Barcelona El Prat Airport as its main base if Catalonia becomes an independent country and even if it is forced to abandon the European Union. “We will continue in Barcelona”, he emphasised on Tuesday in a meeting with press reporters from the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to an article published by Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia. Walsh was in China as British Airways was unveiling a new route linking this city with London.

The Christian-Democrats within the governing CiU propose a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation

September 23, 2013 09:51 PM | ACN

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) – which is the Christian-Democrat party and smaller force within the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – insisted that he does not want independence from Spain, but a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation. Duran – who is also CiU’s ‘number 2’ – has been proposing this formula for years. However, in the last few months and particularly on the occasion of the 400-kilometre human chain, Duran has emphasised his stance, while the larger party within CiU – the Liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) – was increasingly supporting independence. Nevertheless, Duran insisted that Catalonia must vote in a self-determination referendum, where he will defend a third way “between independence and submission”.

The European Commission: “there are territories that are not EU Member States but use the Euro”

September 20, 2013 10:27 PM | ACN

Brussels confirmed on Friday the possibility of continuing to have the Euro as currency while not being part of the European Union. On Thursday the Catalan President, Artur Mas, emphasised that “Catalonia will have the Euro as its currency” whatever happens regarding its independence from Spain. Mas’ statement was immediately criticised by Madrid-based media, which are completely opposed to Catalonia’s self-determination and are arguing against it. In the last few days, a debate has been launched about whether an independent Catalonia would still be part of the EU. The Commission Spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Simon O’Connor, emphasised that it is possible for a state to use the Euro as its currency independently of its EU membership. He named the examples of Monaco, Andorra and Montenegro, among others.

The Catalan President guarantees that Catalonia “will have the euro as its currency whatever happens”

September 19, 2013 10:07 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, wanted to clarify some doubts about Catalonia’s EU membership in the event of becoming an independent state, specifically regarding economic issues. The Catalan Government is insisting that the treaties do not say that a separated part would automatically be expelled from the EU and that the issue would require a political negotiation. However, the Catalan President emphasised on Thursday that what is crystal clear is that “whatever Catalonia decides [regarding its independence from Spain], it will have the Euro as its currency”. Mas was answering the international investors behind BCN World, a €4.5 billion leisure resort. On Wednesday they stated that they do not care whether Catalonia remains in Spain or not, but they do care whether it has the euro and remains within the EU internal market.

The European Commission will only give a definitive answer on Catalonia’s EU membership on the basis of “a precise scenario”

September 18, 2013 09:29 PM | ACN

The European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, repeated on Wednesday the answer given by Romano Prodi on a question about Algeria and its hypothetical EU membership on the basis of its French past: “if a region separates itself from a Member State, it quits de facto the European Union”. Barnier emphasised that this is a “general” opinion. However, he added that the European Commission will only issue its definitive opinion about an independent Catalonia on the basis of “a precise scenario” and refuses to “speculate” about the Catalan case. Besides, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, affirmed that questioning Catalonia’s “economic integration within the EU” follows “controversies stirred up by interested parties”.

The Constitutional Court rejects the exclusion of its President requested by the Catalan Government

September 17, 2013 10:51 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court has decided not to exclude its President, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, from cases directly affecting Catalonia’s self-government institutions despite his anti-Catalan statements and being a member of the People’s Party (PP) until 2011. Among many statements, in 2005 he made one of the most controversial ones when he said that “Catalans are educated to hate Spanish culture”. The Catalan Government asked him at least to apologise publicly for those words, made at a public event, and to take them back. Furthermore, all the Catalan parties except the Spanish nationalist ones rejected the Court’s decision since the institution loses even more credibility. The anti-Catalan nationalist party Ciutadans (C’s) warns that keeping Pérez de los Cobos in position will allow Catalan independence supporters to take legitimacy away from the Court.