The Catalan Parliament establishes the committee for self-determination with 80% support

July 5, 2013 12:44 AM | CNA

On Thursday, the Parliament of Catalonia set up the parliamentary committee for the right to self-determination with the support of all parties except the Spanish nationalists People’s Party – which runs the Spanish Government – and the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans. 80% of MPs support the creation of this commission, which will study legal ways to organise a self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert, will chair the committee due to its importance. De Gispert has guaranteed she will play the “neutral” role of “moderator”. On the same day, the youth of the parties supporting the creation of this committee signed a manifesto backing up Catalonia’s right to self-determination.

Massive concert supporting Catalonia’s self-determination is ignored by Spanish politicians

July 2, 2013 12:20 AM | CNA

On Saturday evening, 90,000 people gathered in FC Barcelona Camp Nou stadium to attend a concert backing Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The event, organised by a civil society entity – Òmnium Cultural – and without public funding, called for a self-determination referendum in 2014. The two largest political parties in Catalonia, which share a parliamentary stability pact, stated that a specific date for a self-determination vote should be fixed after December 2013. In addition, they insisted that the Catalan President will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister in July asking for this vote to be organised. However, in Madrid, the reactions have been almost non-existent. The Spanish Justice Minister insisted that a referendum would be illegal since sovereignty is rooted into the Spanish people as a whole.

The Catalan Ombudsman states its resolutions cost 14 times less than those of the Spanish Ombudsman

June 28, 2013 11:37 PM | CNA

The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, accused the Spanish Government of trying “to manipulate” data in its report last week, in order to push forward a recentralisation reform, which “goes against the self-government principle”. Ribó explained that the Spanish Ombudsman undertook 33,849 actions in 2012, which means each action cost an average of €428. In addition, it refused to accept 20,164 complaints. Meanwhile, the Catalan Ombudsman undertook 25,073 actions, with a cost of €279 each. The Catalan institution only rejected 267 complaints. Regarding resolutions and recommendations, the Spanish Ombudsman issued 548 while the Catalan body issued 3,635. This means that each resolution by the Spanish body cost €26,447 while the Catalan’s cost €1,925, which is 13.75 times less.

The Catalan President to formally ask Madrid for a vote after the first meeting of the Self-Determination Pact

June 27, 2013 12:24 AM | CNA

The participants to the so-called National Alliance for the Self-Determination Right have met for the first time, bringing together almost 50 entities, including political parties, business associations, trade unions, social organisations and cultural institutions. This transversal initiative gathering together a wide part of Catalan society aims to reach an internal consensus on how to proceed in order to allow Catalans to vote on their collective future. Attendees agreed to ask the former President of the Catalan Parliament, Joan Rigol, to draft a text expressing the “common denominators” of the participants. In addition, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, making a formal petition for the organisation of a self-determination vote in Catalonia.

55.6% of Catalans would support independence from Spain in a referendum while 23.4% would oppose it

June 21, 2013 01:43 AM | CNA

According to an opinion poll from the Catalan Polling Centre (CEO), the Catalan political landscape would change, since the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) would would become the largest force in the Catalan Parliament after doubling the number of its MPs compared to the electoral results from last November. Meanwhile, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which has been running the Catalan Government since 2010, would continue to lose support. However, parties supporting Catalonia’s independence increase their total support while the number of those defending Spain’s unity drops. The CEO thinks the data show that over the last 9 months, the support for independence remains “stable” in a hypothetical referendum, ranging between 54% and 57%. However, those opposing independence grew from 20.7% to 23.4%, while the number of undecided citizens decreased to 15%.

David Cameron: "let the people decide" and do not "ignore questions of nationality, independence, identity"

June 13, 2013 01:06 AM | CNA

The British Prime Minister David Cameron answered a question referring to Scotland’s self-determination process and he indirectly compared it to Catalonia’s situation. He stated that he “doesn’t believe” that trying “to ignore these questions of nationality, independence, identity” is the right way. Cameron thinks “it’s right to make your arguments, take them on and then you let the people decide”. However, without being asked about it, he linked it to the Catalan case by adding he “would never presume to tell people in Spain how to meet these challenges themselves”. He concluded by saying that “it’s a matter for the Spanish Government and the Spanish Prime Minister” to decide how to handle the situation.

The President of the Catalan Government aims to stay in office regardless of the self-determination vote

June 12, 2013 01:16 AM | CNA

Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government, presented the Government Plan for 2013-2016 on Tuesday, emphasising that he aims to complete the four-year office term regardless of whether Catalonia’s self-determination vote is finally held in 2014, as the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) planned with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). With the Plan, Mas has set 77 objectives in seven different areas, aiming to reaffirm political leadership and show the Catalan Government’s actions in a wide range of areas such as economic recovery, job creation, public services, environment protection, etc. Mas also asked the ERC and the Catalan Socialists (PSC) to sit in the Catalan Government. All the opposition parties except the ERC criticised the Plan.

Brussels' main think-tank CEPS recommends that Spain and Catalonia name "an external mediator"

June 11, 2013 12:51 AM | CNA

In an interview with ACN, the Head of the EU Foreign Policy Unit of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Steven Blockmans argued that “the European Union or the United Nations could play this role” if “both parties, including Madrid, voluntarily accept it”. Besides, Blockmans explained that Catalonia’s and Scotland’s self-determination processes and the possibility that they become independent states “is being debated” in Brussels circles, and it is even mentioned “often”. In addition, he also stated that if Madrid agrees, “a summit would be enough” to take “the political decision” to allow an independent Catalonia to become an EU Member State.

Catalonia will have its own representatives in UNESCO separate from the Spanish delegation in specific issues

June 4, 2013 12:38 AM | CNA

The agreement was previously discussed with the Spanish Executive and it respects the Catalan Government’s external action power as described in Catalonia’s main law. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, signed the agreement with UNESCO’s General Director, Irina Bokova. The new framework allows Catalonia to have its “singularity” represented in the international organisation, although not permanently. Catalan representatives will be present in specific meetings and projects, separate from the Spanish delegation. “It is more than what we already have”, stated Mas. The Catalan President was one of the speakers at the Opening Plenary Session of UNESCO’s Global Conference, which is being held in Paris from the 3rd to the 5th of June.

“No one” can simply ban a referendum on Catalan independence, says FT International Affairs Editor

May 31, 2013 03:16 AM | Maria Fernández / ACN

David Gardner argues in an interview with the CNA that politicians must find “political and legal ways for citizens to be able to express their will democratically”. The Financial Times International expert says that both Catalonia and Spain should agree to have a referendum and warns that “no one” can simply ban it. This journalist thinks it’s unlikely for Catalonia to become an independent country anytime soon but admits that most of the problems come from Madrid avoiding any kind of negotiation. “But they either negotiate or Spain will face a constitutional crisis”, he warns.

Catalonia contributed with 8.5% of its GDP to infrastructures and services in the rest of Spain in 2010

May 22, 2013 01:42 AM | CNA

On Tuesday, the Catalan Government posted the so-called fiscal balances for 2010, showing the difference between the money paid by Catalans in taxes and fees to the Spanish Government and what comes back in form of funds, services and infrastructure. Using the monetary flow formula, Catalonia had a fiscal deficit of €16.54 billion, representing 8.5% of its GDP. Using the benefit formula, the fiscal deficit represents 5.8% of the Catalan GDP (€11.26 billion). The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, stated that both formulas “are complementary” but he found the monetary flow one to be closer to the reality. The figures are similar to the results from previous years as well as to the study published in 2008 by the Spanish Finance Ministry with data from 2005. In the last 25 years, Catalonia has given away 8.1% of its GDP each year.

The Spanish Constitutional Court temporarily suspends the Catalan Parliament's Declaration of Sovereignty

May 9, 2013 01:47 AM | CNA

The Catalan Parliament replies by approving the creation of a parliamentary commission on Catalonia’s right to self-determination with 79.3% of yes votes. The commission will study ways to organise a vote on the hypothetical independence from Spain. It is the first time in Spain a court has suspended an entire declaration that has no legal value and has been approved by a parliament. The declaration has no direct legal effect, as it is only a political statement stating that the Catalan people are sovereign to decide on their own collective future. The Spanish Government firstly downplayed the text and later, following the advice of its legal services, decided to appeal against it. By admitting the Spanish Government’s appeal against the text, the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the Declaration until a sentence is issued.

The political summit for Catalonia's right to self-determination decided to include civil society

May 7, 2013 02:28 AM | CNA

However, the participating political parties could not agree on a plan to organise a self-determination vote: some would like to combine the organisation of the vote with the creation of state structures while others ask for neutrality and refuse to identify self-determination as a solution to Catalonia’s economic crisis. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, called for a summit to discuss ways to obtain the right to self-determination and be able to organise a referendum on this issue. All the parties supporting self-determination, including the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), participated in the meeting, as well as the Catalan Government, the four Provincial Councils and representatives from town halls.

33.7% of Catalan citizens support independence according to a Spanish Government survey

May 4, 2013 01:53 AM | CNA

The CIS – the Spanish Government’s public opinion survey institute – has indicated that 55.1% of Catalans would like a Catalan state, either independent from Spain (33.7%) or within a federal Spain (21.4%). 29.4% would like to keep the Autonomous Community model and 12.1% would back recentralisation and Catalonia being a Spanish “region”. The survey was taken between September and October but the results were only released recently in early May, more than half a year later. In addition, 65.1% of the interviewees said they wanted more power for the Catalan Government.

The Catalan Government attracted 37% more foreign investment in 2012 than in the previous year

April 23, 2013 09:03 PM | CNA

47 foreign investment industrial projects, bringing in €331.88 million, landed in Catalonia last year through ‘Invest in Catalonia’, a programme from the Catalan Government. This represents 37% more investments than in 2011. The projects created 2,324 new jobs and they also allowed companies to keep 2,566 positions. Besides, the Spanish Ministry for the Economy stated that foreign investment in Spain dropped by 43% in total and by 14% in Catalonia. The Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, explained that the Spanish Ministry data includes financial investments. However, Puig emphasised that the Spanish Ministry’s report also states that industrial and manufacturing investments in Catalonia increased by 6.2% and 11% respectively.