The Spanish Socialist Party backs a constitutional reform but rejects allowing Catalonia’s self-determination vote

April 10, 2013 01:05 AM | CNA

The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, and the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, secretly met on Sunday in Madrid, along with the Secretary General of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Pere Navarro. Mas urged the PSOE to include the People’s Party (PP) in the debate on the reform of the Spanish Constitution and he warned that including the right to a self-determination vote is a “basic and essential condition” for a large majority of Catalans. The PSC, despite opposing Catalonia’s independence from Spain, backs its right to vote for self-determination, but Rubalcaba is completely opposed to it and considers it to be “impossible” to ever reach an agreement on such a vote. However, Rubalcaba insisted on the need to find a better relationship between Catalonia and Spain, in order to “remain together for centuries to come”.

The Catalan President insists on talking to the Spanish Government about the self-determination claims

April 4, 2013 01:20 AM | CNA

Artur Mas, the President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), is sceptical about the Spanish Executive’s desire to find a negotiated solution regarding Catalonia’s self-determination claims. Asked about the possibility of giving up the self-determination agenda in exchange for more economic resources for the Catalan Executive, Mas stated that “the Spanish Government will not exchange a better fiscal scheme for the self-determination vote”. However, he insisted that public finances are in “an emergency situation”. Therefore, he offered again for the Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) to sit in the Cabinet because “the situation requires adding strength” in order “to guarantee the survival of Catalonia’s self-government”.

Ban Ki-moon asks for talks regarding Catalonia’s self-determination claims

April 3, 2013 12:05 AM | CNA

“The United Nations respect self-determination processes” stated the Secretary General of the United Nations when he was asked about Catalonia’s and Scotland’s self-determination processes during his official visit to Andorra, a small independent country in the Pyrenees which has Catalan as its official language. Ban Ki-moon urged all the political leaders to talk and find a negotiated and peaceful solution. “All the pending issues among countries have to be solved via peaceful means and through dialogue, respecting the genuine will of the affected people”, he stated. As opposed to the United Kingdom’s Government, the Spanish Executive currently refuses to even talk about Catalonia’s self-determination claims, which are backed by November’s electoral results and recent opinion polls.

The Spanish Prime Minister and the Catalan President secretly met and agreed to relax the deficit targets

March 27, 2013 08:29 PM | CNA

According to Catalan and Spanish Government sources, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, secretly met this week in Madrid. They mainly talked about the deficit targets for 2013 and Catalonia’s self-determination process. It is the first time they have held a meeting in the last 6 months. On the first issue, they agreed on the need to relax the current 0.7% deficit objective, which would oblige the Catalan Government to carry out a budget adjustment of almost €4.5 billion. No specific figure has been decided on, but Mas said that it will be between 1.5% and 2%, depending on the European Union’s decision regarding Spain’s total deficit. Regarding the self-determination vote, they see things very differently and Rajoy continues to refuse to allow such a vote.

The Catalan Government posts a debt of €50.95 billion at the end of 2012

March 14, 2013 08:09 PM | CNA

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell has announced that the Catalan Government had a public debt of €50,948 million on the 31st of December, 2012. Catalonia’s debt has increased by €16 billion in only 2 years due to the financial crisis. Furthermore, in 2013, the Catalan Government will have to pay €2.2 billion in interest on the debts – equivalent to 8% of its budget and 1% of Catalonia’s annual GDP. Catalonia has been a net contributor to the European Union for decades and has been paying around 8.5% of its annual GDP – equivalent to €17 billion – every year for services and infrastructure in the rest of Spain. Despite this fact, the Catalan Government does not receive enough money from the Spanish Executive, which raises most of the taxes and distributes revenue among Autonomous Communities.

77% of the Catalan Parliament supports Catalonia’s right to self-determination through a legal citizen vote

March 13, 2013 11:05 PM | CNA

The Catalan Parliament has approved the same declaration that the Spanish Parliament rejected 2 weeks ago with 104 votes out of the 135 MPs. The text urges the Spanish and Catalan governments to talk and agree on the organisation of a legal self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) presented the proposal, which also received the votes from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Executive, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA). The radical left-wing and independence party (CUP) abstained. The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, and the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (C’s) opposed the vote.

The Spanish Government admits that the report accusing the Catalan President of corruption is not official

March 12, 2013 10:15 PM | CNA

A few hours earlier, the Swiss bank Lombard Odier stated that the Catalan presidents Artur Mas and Jordi Pujol do not have any relationship with the company. The Spanish nationalist newspaper ‘El Mundo’ published a report 9 days before the Catalan elections, with the official stamp of the Spanish Police on it, accusing the incumbent President of the Catalan Government, and candidate for re-election from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, of having secret accounts in Switzerland. The fake report also incriminated Mas’ family, the former Catalan President Jordi Pujol and two of Pujol’s sons. The report completely altered the election campaign. Now, four months after the report was issued, the Catalan Government has demanded a public rectification since some Spanish Ministers and leading members of the People’s Party validated the report at the time.

Euro MPs ask the European Commission about the respect for the independence of judicial power in Spain

March 7, 2013 09:30 PM | CNA

Earlier this week the Director of the Public Prosecution Office of Catalonia, Martín Rodríguez Sol, was pushed to resign by his boss at a Spanish level, who is directly appointed by Spain’s Government. Rodríguez Sol said in an interview that it was “legitimate” to “allow the people” to decide on their collective future regarding Catalonia’s self-determination process. However, he emphasised that he was not supporting an independence referendum as such because “it does not fit into the current legal framework”, but he suggested that a “legal vote” could be held with the appropriate question being asked. He also stated that legal frameworks should be connected to social realities and should have the option to be changed. On Thursday six members of the European Parliament, representing four Catalan parties, filed a question to the European Commission about the case.

The Director of the Public Prosecution Office in Catalonia will be fired for supporting a legal self-determination vote

March 4, 2013 11:46 PM | CNA

The boss of all public prosecutors in Spain, Eduardo Torres-Dulce – appointed by the Spanish Government – announced on Monday that he is starting the process to dismiss his subordinate, Martín Rodríguez Sol, for having said in an interview on Sunday it was “legitimate” that a majority of citizens ask to vote on Catalonia’s political future, although “within the legal framework”. Rodríguez Sol believes that it is not possible to organise an independence referendum as such although he said that with the appropriate question, a legal self-determination vote could be held. He also stated that the legal framework should be adapted to social changes. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, has accused the Spanish Government “of having little democratic sensibility”. In addition, Mas reminded everybody that last week another army general threatened with a military intervention in Catalonia “and nothing happened” but if an attorney general says that people should “express themselves within the legal framework”, he is fired.

The Spanish Government aims to “centralise” the external action services of the Autonomous Communities

March 1, 2013 10:36 PM | CNA

The Spanish Government has presented its project to approve an External Action Law aiming to “centralise services” and to have the Autonomous Communities’ external action “coordinated and subordinated” to the principles and objectives of the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry. The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has “invited” the Autonomous Communities to integrate their teams into those of the Spanish embassies. However, he also recognised that many Spanish embassies and consulates lack business services to assist companies and attract foreign investment. The Catalan Government’s offices abroad are mostly focused on these economic objectives.

The Spanish Government challenges the Catalan declaration of sovereignty before the Constitutional Court

March 1, 2013 09:49 PM | CNA

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, accused the Spanish Government of “not having the true will to talk” about Catalonia’s self-determination claims, backed by democratically-expressed ballots. After the weekly Cabinet Meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, confirmed that the Spanish Government will take the Catalan Parliament’s declaration, which states that the Catalan people are sovereign to freely and democratically decide on their collective future and therefore organise a self-determination vote, to the Constitutional Court. The Spanish Government justified its decision by stating that the declaration – with no direct legal impact – might have legal consequences and wants the Court to “clarify that the Catalan people are not sovereign”.

The Spanish Parliament rejects two petitions to negotiate for allowing a self-determination referendum in Catalonia

February 26, 2013 11:15 PM | CNA

For the first time since 1982, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) has voted differently to the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), to which is federated. The PSOE is opposing Catalonia’s self-determination right and voted against the petitions urging the Spanish Government to engage in talks with the Catalan Executive in order to allow the organisation of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. The Catalan Socialists oppose Catalonia’s independence from Spain but they back Catalonia’s right to self-determination and thus they supported the petitions. As an anecdote, the PSC MP Carme Chacón refused to back the petitions, as she is in the running as a candidate to lead the PSOE. The petitions were finally rejected by 78% of the Spanish Parliament, mostly from the People’s Party – which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Chamber – and the PSOE, apart from the PSC.

54.7% of Catalans would support independence from Spain in a referendum according to a poll

February 21, 2013 11:41 PM | CNA

The latest political poll issued by the Catalan Survey Centre (CEO), published every three months, shows that 54.7% of those interviewed would vote “yes” in an independence referendum, while 20.7% would vote “no” and 17.0% would abstain. Three months ago, the “yes” option was backed by 57% of the interviewees while in February 2012 it was only backed by 44%. Besides, 46.4% of citizens would support an independent Catalan state as their first choice, which represents an increase of 2.1 percentage points in three months and a 17.4 point increase in one year. 22.4% would prefer a federal Spain, 20.7% the current situation and 4.4% Catalonia being a region within a more centralised Spain.

The Spanish Government is considering taking the Catalan declaration of sovereignty to the Constitutional Court

February 8, 2013 11:34 PM | CNA

Following a report by its own legal services, the Spanish Government is considering appealing against the ‘Declaration of sovereignty and the right to self-determination by the people of Catalonia’, approved by the Catalan Parliament two weeks ago. This declaration states that, following the historical rights and the free self-determination of the people, the people of Catalonia are sovereign and therefore able decide on their own future and organise a self-determination vote to decide on Catalonia’s hypothetical independence from Spain. The Catalan President stated that, before the self-determination right of the people, “there are no rules, laws, constitutions or possible interpretations”.

Catalan economists want the Spanish Government “to talk without prejudgements” on Catalonia’s self-determination

February 5, 2013 10:52 PM | CNA

The Cercle d’Economia, the main Catalan economic forum open to businesspeople and academics, has published an opinion note on the political context following the last Catalan elections. In the note, the Cercle asks the Spanish Government “to talk” about the Catalan self-determination and “to reform” the Constitution accordingly. The Cercle does not explicitly back an independent Catalonia but it supports a deep reform of Spain’s territorial organisation and the finding of a negotiated solution for both parties, which may be reached through a legal referendum. In addition, the Cercle asks for a review of Spain’s internal distribution of the deficit targets among government levels and to increase those of the Autonomous Communities.