The Catalan President accuses the Spanish Prime Minister of imposing his views instead of negotiating

October 24, 2012 10:41 PM | CNA

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, had previously accused the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, of having blackmailed him by trying to “impose the fiscal agreement or accept the consequences” in last September’s meeting, when Mas proposed a specific fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain. The Catalan President denied having blackmailed the Spanish PM. According to Mas, Rajoy “did not want to negotiate a fiscal agreement” as he considered that “Catalonia is not as badly treated” as Catalans say. The Catalan President said he explained to Rajoy what would happen “if the answer to all Catalan claims is always ‘no’”. “It is not a threat, it is describing the reality. The President of the Catalan Government’s duty is to inform [the Spanish PM] about Catalonia’s situation” Mas added.

Catalan Euro MPs ask the EU to intervene if there is “a clear risk” of a military threat against Catalonia

October 23, 2012 01:17 AM | CNA

They say that European legislation foresees the cancellation of the voting rights of an EU Member State if there is “a clear risk of serious […] and persistent breach” of the common values. The four MEPs denounce “the military threats” and “the tone used by the People’s Party and the Spanish Government”. They have sent a formal letter to the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding. They ask the EU to be vigilant and “to evaluate the real risks of a potential military intervention” by Spanish forces against Catalonia. If such a risk existed, the EU should suspend Spain’s voting rights in the European Council.

The PP excludes any referendum and one of its leaders proposes “facing” Catalan independence as ETA

October 16, 2012 12:58 AM | CNA

The day the United Kingdom and Scotland signed the agreement to organise the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, states that the Spanish Government will not agree to organise or even negotiate on a referendum on Catalonia’s independence. Furthermore, the same day, Jaime Mayor Oreja, the leader of the Spanish Euro MPs from the People’s Party (PP), proposed “facing” the Catalan independence movement as was done earlier with ETA’s terrorism. Two weeks ago, Mayor Oreja had already linked the Catalan independence movement with the Basque terrorist group ETA. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, said that if Madrid does not authorise the referendum, Catalonia will appeal to European and international institutions.

Catalonia had a €25 billion Social Security surplus between 1995 and 2010

October 11, 2012 11:42 PM | CNA

An official study issued by the Catalan Finance Ministry shows that Catalan citizens have given €24.77 billion more to the Spanish pension and unemployment funds than they have received back from it. The study takes into account the contributions of Catalan citizens and companies between 1995 and 2010. Without the Catalan contributions, the Spanish Social Security system would have had a €86.33 billion deficit in the same period. The Catalan contribution to the Social Security system was negative in 1995-1996 and 2009-2010, while between 1997 and 2008 it showed a budget surplus. Without Catalonia, Spain’s Social Security would have only had a budget surplus between 2003 and 2007.

74% of Catalan citizens are in favour of holding an independence referendum in Catalonia

October 11, 2012 01:29 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

A poll taken by the Catalan Survey Institute points out that only 19.9% of Catalans would be against organising a referendum asking if Catalonia should be a new independent European state. 6% would be undecided. The poll also reflects electoral preferences in the next Catalan elections, scheduled on 25th November. 26.3% of citizens would vote for the ruling Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which would clearly win the elections. However, those undecided represent 34.6% of the people interviewed. The votes for the main opposition party in Catalonia, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), would plummet to only 3.1%. The parties clearly supporting the self-determination (CiU, ERC and ICV-EUiA) would become Catalonia’s first, second and third parties.

The massive presence of Catalan independence flags at FC Barcelona’s stadium annoys Spanish nationalists

October 9, 2012 12:54 AM | CNA

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, states that the claim for Catalonia’s independence during the last FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid Clásico football game “damages Spain’s brand”. On the contrary, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, praised the demonstration for its peaceful and democratic nature, and for “projecting our identity to the world”. Furthermore, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, considered García-Margallo’s statements to be “undemocratic” for not accepting “the free and democratic expression of the people at Camp Nou”. Thousands of Catalan independence flags were shown at the match – many more than in any other game ever. Furthermore, on several occasions, a large part of the stadium shouted pro-independence chants.

European Parliament VP’s words asking for a military intervention in Catalonia “scandalise” the Greens and Liberals

October 5, 2012 01:28 AM | CNA

The ALDE and the Greens/EFA consider the statements made by Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice-President of the European Parliament and member of the People’s Party (PP), to be “a scandal”. Last week, three Catalan MEPs asked the EP President, Martin Schulz, either to push Vidal-Quadras to apologise or to adopt disciplinary measures against him. Schulz appealed to freedom of expression and said that Catalan voters should judge Vidal-Quadras, elected from a closed party list in a single Spanish constituency. Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Greens/EFA) reject Schulz’s cold answer and ask for “a formal debate” on the issue. Now, Vidal-Quadras says he was being “ironical”.

The Catalan President: “No one can use weapons to go against the will of a people”

October 2, 2012 01:34 AM | CNA

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, signed the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament calling for early elections on Monday. He stated that Catalans have “to vote without fear”, referring to Spain’s threats to veto Catalonia’s access to the EU or even with a military intervention. Mas sent a warning to Spain: “act as a mature and sensible state” and “watch out” as the world is looking. Furthermore, Mas guaranteed that Catalonia’s self-determination will be “a totally democratic and peaceful process”. Besides, European Commission’s Vice President Reding stated that Catalonia’s independence from Spain does not mean its exclusion from the EU. “International legislation does not say” that Catalonia would be excluded, she said in an interview with a newspaper from Seville.

Catalan Euro MPs ask the European Commission to give an opinion on recent military threats by Spanish nationalism

September 29, 2012 02:31 PM | CNA

Members of the European Parliament from Catalan parties have asked the European Commission “if it would suspend Spain’s rights as a Member State of the European Council in the case that force was used against the decisions of the Catalan Parliament”. They have also asked the President of the European Parliament (EP) “to adopt measures if Vidal-Quadras does not publicly apologise”. The Vice-President of the EP, the Catalan Alejo Vidal-Quadras, famous for his Spanish nationalist stance, said yesterday that the Spanish Government should “suspend Catalonia’s autonomy” and “send a general to lead the Guardia Civil” in order to take control. In the past few days, Spanish nationalists and retired army members have threatened a military intervention if Catalonia insists in its self-determination process.

Two thirds of the Catalan Parliament approve organising a self-determination citizen vote within the next 4 years

September 28, 2012 01:51 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

15% of the MPs oppose the decision, all members of Spanish nationalist parties. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) abstains, although one of its veteran MPs backs the citizen consultation. This was the last vote of the Catalan Parliament this term, as early elections have been called, on 25th November, which may turn into a plebiscite on the right to self-determination. The Spanish Government has stated it would immediately block such citizen vote by bringing it to the Constitutional Court, since it has to authorise any referendum in Spain. Furthermore, the day before it stated it will “calmly and firmly” oppose Catalonia’s independence process.

The Catalan President will organise a vote for self determination even if the Spanish Government bans it

September 27, 2012 02:35 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, the parties assessed the current situation and the Catalan President’s speech from yesterday. The parties that openly support Catalonia’s independence backed the Catalan President and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) but asked to rush proceedings. Those supporting the right to self-determination but not necessarily independence and those directly opposing independence criticised CiU’s policies for fighting the crisis and its focus on the process to create a state. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, offered a detailed reply to each intervention. However, he also made an announcement: if he is re-elected President, he will organise a referendum on self-rule, even if the Spanish Government bans it.

Catalan President calls for earlier elections on 25th November, which may turn into a plebiscite

September 26, 2012 02:33 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

“In exceptional times, exceptional decisions are needed”, stated the Catalan President, Artur Mas. After the 1.5 million strong independence demonstration on September 11th, the Spanish PM’s refusal to negotiate a fiscal agreement for Catalonia, and days of speculation, Mas called for elections. He announced the decision in the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, in which he stated that budget cuts will continue, although “austerity cannot be the only value”. He also accused the Spanish Government of being “disloyal” and imposing stricter deficit targets on the Autonomous Communities. Catalan nationalist parties are celebrating the call for elections for giving the people a say, while the rest accuse Mas of putting his party’s interest first by deviating attention away from the dramatic economic situation.

The Spanish Government closes the door on negotiating a new fiscal agreement with Catalonia

September 21, 2012 12:55 PM | CNA

The Catalan President states that, “if the Constitution is always interpreted from a centralist point of view”, “Catalonia will have to quietly and democratically reflect on its own future” as “no legal framework can be eternally used to annul the majority, democratic, and peaceful will of a people”. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, and the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, met in Madrid 9 days after the 1.5 million strong demonstration for Catalonia’s independence. Rajoy categorically refused to negotiate a specific fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain because he said it does not fit into the Constitution. No one from the Spanish Government addressed the press after the meeting.

Spanish King states that “it is not the time [...] to divide forces” and “chase pipe dreams”

September 19, 2012 01:58 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In a very unusual movement, Juan Carlos I has issued a short but clear letter one week after the massive demonstration for Catalonia’s independence. The King emphasised the need to remain “united” and asked the people to retake the “values” of the “Democratic Transition”, such as “dialogue” and “the sacrifice of particular interests for the general good”. The Catalan Government does not feel “concerned” by the King’s letter. However, it states that Catalonia “offers solutions” and “does not chase pipe dreams”. Spanish nationalists celebrate the King’s words while PM Mariano Rajoy still remains silent. Catalan and Basque nationalists criticise the King for taking sides and not emphasising values such as “pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and respect for discrepancies”.

The Catalan Socialists propose an “asymmetrical federalism” for Spain

September 18, 2012 01:41 PM | CNA / Rafa Garrido / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) is against independence but supports claims for greater self-government and fiscal autonomy for Catalonia. The PSC’s Secretary General, Pere Navarro, proposes a “preferential bilateral relationship” between Catalonia and the Spanish Government, within an “asymmetrical” federal Spain. However, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which is formed by federated territorial parties such as the PSC, seems to evade the question, at least for the time being. The PSOE’s Secretary General visited Catalonia for the first time after the 1.5 million strong demonstration for independence and did not mention the word “federalism” a single time.