josé manuel garcía-margallo

“The Catalan Government is older than the Spanish Constitution”, Mas replies to García-Margallo

February 13, 2014 10:01 PM | ACN

The Catalan Executive, chaired by Artur Mas, has published a 50-page memorandum in reply to the report issued by the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, in late December against Catalan independence. Margallo’s document claimed that independence was “immoral” and “not a democratic option”. The 200-page report was distributed to all Spain’s embassies as a list of arguments to be used to lobby against Catalan independence at international level. The memo was written in a condescending tone and included many judgemental opinions, half-truths, partial quotes and even lies. One of them was that Catalonia recovered its self-government institutions thanks to the Constitution, which is false. The Catalan Government has replied with its own memo and has asked the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry to distribute it to all the embassies as well.

Financial Times: Spain could “consider” Scotland’s EU admission if independence process is “legal”

February 3, 2014 08:16 PM | ACN

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, said that Spain could “consider” the admission of an independent Scotland within the EU. In a front-page article published this Monday in the Financial Times, Margallo argued that if the Scottish people gained independence through a “legal” process, Spain would not interfere. However, the Minister warned that the Scots would have to “join the waiting line and ask for admission” to enter the EU. The article underlined that “Margallo’s nuanced stance towards Scotland stood in marked contrast to his uncompromising rhetoric on Catalonia”, “two fundamentally different” cases according to him. The President of the Catalan People’s Party – Margallo’s party - reacted to the interview and stated that his words had been misinterpreted: Spain would assess Scotland’s admission but would not approve it.

“Spain is a great nation [...], worth fighting for” Madrid warns Catalonia

January 23, 2014 08:10 PM | ACN

Two Spanish Ministers have sent two warning messages on the same day. On the one hand, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, announced “a 25% or 30%” of “immediate” loss of wealth for an independent Catalonia “according to several studies”, which have not been mentioned by name. Margallo warned Catalans about the “harmful and lethal consequences” that independence would bring. He also stated that the self-determination process can also cause “an employment loss” since it is hurting Spain’s external image. On the other hand, the Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruíz Gallardón, guaranteed that “Spain has the necessary tools to defend […] the national sovereignty, which is in the hands of its citizens as a whole”. Furthermore, Gallardón emphasised that “Spain is a great nation that is worth living in and loving, and which is worth fighting for”.

Spain’s position regarding an independent Scotland “depends on the UK”

December 18, 2013 08:35 PM | ACN

The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, has stated that the Spanish Government's position regarding the independence of Scotland and its inclusion in the EU will depend on the British Government. The “crucial” point will be whether London considers the process to be legal or not. This statement was made after a Catalan MP accused the Spanish Government of being “allergic to ballot boxes”. Indeed, the Spanish Prime Minister had expressed quite a different opinion on the subject, in November. He had stated that if Scotland and Catalonia became independent, they would be excluded from the EU, and would have to re-apply for membership, also suggesting a possible veto from Madrid.

Spanish nationalists want to close an academic history symposium in Catalonia

December 11, 2013 05:33 PM | ACN

With the title ‘Spain against Catalonia: an historical overview (1714-2014)’, this academic symposium aims to discuss the political, economic, social and cultural repression the Spanish State has carried out against Catalan institutions and people throughout the last 300 years. The event will offer more than 20 lectures given by prestigious university chairs. It is organised by Catalonia’s Science and Language Academy (IEC) and by the Centre of Contemporary History of Catalonia, which is linked to the Catalan Government. The symposium has raised controversy with its title. The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, has made cancelling the event a condition for holding a dialogue with the Catalan Executive. Furthermore, the PP, the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (C’s) and the Spanish nationalist and populist UPyD have filed a complaint against the symposium for “spreading hate”. Paradoxically, UPyD compared the symposium with “Nazism”.

The Spanish Government vetoes the Catalan President in a Euro-Mediterranean forum in Barcelona

October 22, 2013 09:10 PM | ACN

The tension between the Spanish and the Catalan Executives is increasing. The Spanish Government refused to allow the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to deliver a short welcoming speech to the participants of the First Economic Forum of the Western Mediterranean. This event will take place in Barcelona on Wednesday, within the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat (UFM), a building owned by the Catalan Government. It will bring together 10 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and it will be part of the 5+5 Dialogue, which is formed by 5 EU Member States and 5 North African countries. The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, will chair the meeting and he only allowed Mas to come as a part of his delegation, Mas will be permitted to join the meeting but not to speak. In similar meetings, presidents of other Spanish Autonomous Communities, including Catalonia, have been allowed to address participants.

Latvia and Lithuania say the press offered a “biased” version of their Prime Ministers’ statements on Catalonia

September 16, 2013 10:36 PM | ACN

In two exclusive interviews with the Catalan News Agency, the Prime Ministers of Latvia and Lithuania answered questions on Catalonia’s independence and self-determination process. The statements were badly received by the Spanish Government. The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister summoned the Latvian and Lithuanian ambassadors in Madrid and met with them on Monday morning. Despite the video showing how the Lithuanian PM literally stated “each country has to find its own way” and “has the right to self-determination” referring to Catalonia, the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a note stating that the press had offered a “biased and wrong interpretation”. Additionally, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry also issued a note saying the interpretation was “biased”. However, at the same time, a Spokesperson of the Latvian PM stated he had nothing “to take back” from the interview, in which he was asked about recognising an independent Catalonia and stated “if there is legitimacy in their process, then I would say, theoretically, 'why not?'”.

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister summons Latvia’s ambassador over his Prime Minister’s statements about Catalonia

September 13, 2013 10:46 PM | ACN

In an exclusive interview with the CNA, the Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis, was asked if his country would recognise an independent Catalonia. Dombrovskis answered: “if there is legitimacy in their process, then I would say, theoretically, 'why not?'”, opening the door to  recognition. The statement has been badly received in Madrid and the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, requested an urgent meeting with Latvia’s Ambassador in Madrid in order to clarify the issue. The Spanish Deputy Minister for the European Union, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, will also be present at the meeting.

The Spanish Government states it “will never accept an agreed” self-determination referendum

September 10, 2013 10:00 PM | ACN

The day before the National Day of Catalonia and the ‘Catalan Way towards independence’ human chain, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, stated that the Spanish Government “will never accept an agreed” self-determination referendum with Catalonia. The statement comes a few days after it was revealed that the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Catalan President Artur Mas have been negotiating to find an agreed way to solve the current situation. He also stated that “any independence process would have to come from a unilateral declaration of independence”, which would have “catastrophic consequences” for Spain and “particularly for Catalonia”. However, Margallo added that a new territorial model and financial scheme should be negotiated to stop “the detachment” from Spain that exists in Catalonia.

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.

Barcelona-based Abertis believes Bolivia will pay “adequate compensation” after nationalising Sabsa

February 18, 2013 10:47 PM | CNA

The Catalan company Abertis, which owns 90% of Sabsa, denies the accusation stated by the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, that they made a poor investment. Abertis emphasised that between 2005 and 2012, Sabsa invested $12.6 million, and paid $38.6 million to hold the airports and $9.4 million in taxes. However, Abertis accepts the nationalisation of its subsidiary company, which manages the international airports of La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Two other Spanish companies have been nationalised by Morales in the last 10 months. The Barcelona-based multinational believes that the nationalisation process will be “based on international law” and therefore it will receive fair compensation. On Monday, Morales announced the immediate nationalisation of Sabsa. The Spanish Government will review its relations with Bolivia.

The Catalan Government announces it will increase its external relations action as it is “more needed than ever”

January 29, 2013 11:41 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government criticised the Spanish Executive’s obstacles to Catalonia’s own external relations action, as “in a globalised world” this “is not a caprice”, but essential to be recognised at an international level and to attract foreign investment. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, in charge of External Relations, Francesc Homs, criticised the Spanish Government’s “old-fashioned” way of understanding diplomacy and gave the example of spending in 2012 “€330,000 on cutlery and table cloths”. Homs emphasised the main commercial focus of Catalonia’s external offices and their “modesty”. The Catalan Government has a total of 5 political representation offices – including for the European Union – and 34 commercial offices.

The European Commission sends contradictory messages regarding hypothetical Catalan independence

October 30, 2012 11:07 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Commissioners Reding and Almunia have publicly said that, if there were a unilateral declaration of independence, Catalonia would not be automatically expelled from the EU. However, after being put under pressure by the Spanish Government, Reding sent a private letter stating she shared Madrid’s analysis that a unilateral independence would lead to exclusion from the EU and having to re-apply for accession, which would require a unanimous vote among the 27 Member States. After Madrid’s complaints about previous statements, the EC stated that it would not give its opinion on the issue if the Spanish Government does not explicitly ask for it “on the basis of a precise scenario”. The Catalan Government has noted that there is not a precise scenario as yet. None of the main parties propose a unilateral declaration of independence.

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.