An independent Catalonia would improve quality of life, says study from Credit Suisse

August 5, 2014 10:20 PM | ACN

An independent Catalonia would be totally viable, according to a report conducted by the research institute from the bank, Credit Suisse. In addition it would improve its ranking on the United Nation's Human Development Index (HDI) and reach the 20th position while Spain would drop by three places and reach the 26th position. The report claims that small countries tend to have a higher standard of living due to a number of factors, such as more efficient services, a higher chance of benefitting from globalisation and a more homogenous population. It uses these findings to predict the HDI of territories seeking independence, such as Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders and Quebec.

Catalan President accepts to meet with Rajoy this July in public, but would prefer a discrete meeting

July 15, 2014 06:31 PM | ACN

The Catalan Minister for the Presidency and Government Spokesperson Francesc Homs, said on Tuesday that the President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, is willing to accept the meeting formula proposed by the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. Spain's PM rejected a discrete meeting and insisted it should be public, despite the fact the Catalan President had requested a private interview. Nonetheless, Homs said it would be better, "and overwhelming common sense", to hold the meeting in private, without the media focus on it, because that would allow it to be  "more productive." "But if it cannot be this way, we will do as they want," Homs said at a press conference, and insisted that the interview format will pose “no problems.”

Juncker warns Catalonia: “One does not become an EU member state by sending a letter”

July 9, 2014 07:48 PM | ACN

The future president of the European Commission said during a meeting with the EFA/Greens Group in the European Parliament that he does not want to interfere in the political process started in Scotland or Catalonia. “I greatly respect democratic expressions in European territories, but I do not have the arrogance nor the wish to try to get involved in a debate that affects the territorial and political organization of member states”, said Juncker. The PPC candidate to the top job of the EU added that the Catalan situation “should be solved in Spain” and not in Brussels.

Catalan human towers demand a self-determination vote in London, Berlin, Paris, Geneva, Rome, Lisbon and Brussels

June 8, 2014 01:08 PM | ACN

Civil-society organisations from Catalonia have simultaneously built a traditional human tower, on Sunday 8 June at 12 o'clock (CET), in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, London, Lisbon, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, as well as in 41 additional Catalan towns, to claim for the right of self-determination. "Catalans want to vote. Human towers for democracy" is the banner shown at the action, which ended with a manifesto read by famous personalities such as Paul Preston, Jordi  Savall and Pep Guardiola. This large-scale action taking place in almost 50 different locations  throughout Catalonia and the rest of Europe has been organised by the civil-society association Òmnium Cultural and has been exclusively funded via private donations and membership fees. 71 'castellers' groups, who are those building the traditional human towers (called 'castells' in Catalan) have participated in the action, which represent 85% of the existing 'castellers' associations.

Desmond Tutu urges Spanish authorities to engage in Catalan self-determination debate "like adults"

June 3, 2014 07:27 PM | ACN

The South-African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has travelled to Barcelona to receive the XXVI Premi Internacional Catalunya, the highest tribute the Catalan Government accords following an independent jury's decision. The award recognises people who have made significant contributions to Humankind. Addressing journalists on Tuesday morning, ahead of the evening award ceremony in Barcelona, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke of the Spanish authorities' necessity of an open dialogue about Catalan independence. Tutu was surprised that such a vote could take place in Scotland but not in Catalonia. He stated that Spain's denial of the strong support for self-rule only exacerbates the problem. At the press conference, the Archbishop also touched upon the subject of King Juan Carlos' abdication, saying he believed a monarchy could be a force for good when "it helps draw people together", although he also underlined that all human beings are equal.

Catalonia's independence and EU membership, feature in the EU Presidential debate

May 16, 2014 09:39 PM | ACN

In the first debate ever among the official candidates to chair the European Commission, Catalonia's self-determination process, the referendum and the EU membership of a hypothetical Catalan independent state was discussed. After a question from the debate's host, Italian journalist Monica Maggioni, about Scotland and Catalonia, each of the five candidates shared their views on the issue. Juncker (People's Party) and Schultz (Socialist) called for respect for constitutional frameworks and insisted that Scotland and Catalonia are internal matters for the UK and Spain. Verhofstadt (Liberals) emphasised that the EU has to listen to the citizens and that it cannot intervene in a negative way, as it has done so far in this issue. Keller (Greens) promised that if Scots and Catalans vote for independence, she will work for an automatic membership. Tsipras (Alternative Left) recognised the right to self-determination but suggested greater autonomy within their respective countries as the best solution for Catalonia and Scotland.

The International Liberal Congress backs Catalans' right to self-determination and to stay within the EU

April 28, 2014 08:23 PM | ACN

The alliance of Liberal parties from throughout the world included a motion supporting Catalans' right to self-determination and to stay within the European Union in its main resolution approved at their international congress that took place in Rotterdam last weekend. "Liberal International will support any decision taken by the Catalan people on their future" reads the text, which also "expresses concern over the lack of real dialogue" between Spanish and Catalan authorities "to discuss a negotiated roadmap over the future of Catalonia". Among the parties backing this statement are the UK's Lib-Dems, the Dutch VVD and Germany's FDP. The resolution also states that "the European Union has to be flexible and strong to offer a viable alternative for those people that want to democratically express themselves within it".

Catalan Government's Advisory Council: an independent Catalonia would not be excluded from the EU

April 14, 2014 09:46 PM | ACN

An independent Catalonia would benefit from transition measures that would guarantee the continuity of European Union agreements, thus staying within the Schengen Area and the Euro Zone. This is the most likely scenario in the event of independence, according to the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which is a body formed of independent and prestigious academics. The CATN is issuing a series of reports on different aspects related to a hypothetical independent Catalan state. This expert group emphasises that there is "no legal basis" to conclude that Catalonia would be automatically expelled from the EU the moment it became independent, or to state that it would automatically join the Union as a new Member State. There is no provision in the Treaties and there are no precedents. The report concludes that Catalonia's EU membership will be decided in a negotiation process where political and economic interests will be at play.

‘The New York Times’ editorial: Catalan secession claims are

March 12, 2014 08:04 PM | ACN

In its editorial on Wednesday, the prestigious ‘The New York Times’ has dissociated the current situation in Crimea and its secession from Ukraine from the independence processes in Catalonia, Scotland and Quebec. The editorial article, which demands European Union countries to impose economic sanctions on Vladimir Putin's Russia, states that the Catalans, Scots and Quebecers “have shown there are legitimate ways to raise” the secession issue. The American newspaper criticized Crimea for its “phony referendum” with a “foreordained” outcome, organised in an express way just as Russian soldiers were being deployed in the peninsula. The newspaper admits secession is a “difficult” matter but recalled that the invasion of Crimea is “illegal”, calling on the international community to react to Putin’s actions.

The European Commission asks for dialogue to keep Catalonia within Spain

February 24, 2014 09:10 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government replies that dialogue can only take place “within the law” and respecting “the national sovereignty”, “two red-lines” that cannot be questioned. The Catalan Government said the Commission should consider Catalonia as “a very good ally to build Europe’s future”. The day before, in Barcelona, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, had asked the Spanish and Catalan authorities “to talk” with “an open attitude” and “without red-lines” in order to remain “united”. The European Commission broke its supposed neutrality in the political conflict regarding Catalonia’s future within Spain, despite it officially considers the issue to be Spain’s internal affair. The Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights acknowledged “to understand” the Catalan claims, but she refused to say whether citizens should be allowed to hold a self-determination vote. However, she stated that if independence was declared, Catalonia would no longer be part of the EU.

Two experts state the EU will not block admission of independent Scotland

February 21, 2014 08:51 PM | ACN

“An independent Scotland would have a right to become a Member of the EU” as “territorially [it] is part of the EU […] and the Scots are European citizens”. Such were the words of Jim Currie, the former European Commission’s Director General for Environment, before a Scottish Parliament Committee on European and External Relations on Thursday. Currie also said that the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, had given “extremely unwise” and “inaccurate” comments last Sunday, by claiming that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for a hypothetical independent Scotland to join the EU. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre, Fabian Zuleeg, stated it was “very difficult” to see EU Member States vetoing the application of an independent Scotland to join the Union.

‘The Economist’: “it is wrong to insinuate” that Scotland and Catalonia “could never join the EU”

February 21, 2014 07:17 PM | ACN

The prestigious publication reacted to the speculations on the inclusion of independent Catalonia and Scotland in the EU. “It is wrong to insinuate that newly independent states could never join the EU”, stated ‘The Economist’ in its latest edition. However, the British magazine also stressed that these two cases have no precedents in Europe and therefore warned that it would be “dishonest to pretend that accession would be quick or easy” for the two nations. Indeed, according to the EU officials quoted in the article, “it would take at least four to five years to negotiate and ratify” Catalonia and Scotland’s EU full-right membership. ‘The Economist’ also scolds the President of the European Commission for having compared the “peaceful referendums in western Europe” to the “violent break-up of a Balkan country”.

Financial Times’ international editor criticises Spain’s stands on Catalonia’s separatism “in democratic Europe”

February 18, 2014 08:14 PM | ACN

In an article published on Tuesday in the prestigious ‘Financial Times’, the newspaper’s chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, deplored Madrid’s attitude towards Catalan independence claims, opposing it to the “peaceful” and “consensual” Scottish referendum process enabled by the British Government. The journalist underlined that “there are remarkably few examples of nations breaking up in a civilised way”, mentioning China’s relations with Taiwan, or Turkey’s attitude towards Kurdistan. “Even in democratic Europe, Spain is refusing to contemplate the idea of an independence referendum for Catalonia”, he added. London’s attitude regarding the Scottish case, on the other hand, should be viewed as “a model” for other separatist cases, recognising the UK as a union of nations and stressing the people’s right to decide.

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.

Rajoy: it’s “impossible” to talk with Catalonia due to “unilateral decisions”

January 17, 2014 07:32 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy also said that an independent Scotland would be “out of the European Union, the United Nations and all the applicable international treaties for being part of the UK”. Regarding the Catalan Parliament’s bill to formally request the transfer of the powers to organise referendums to the Catalan Executive, based on Article 150.2 of the Constitution, Rajoy has categorically rejected the idea. He stated that his stance on Catalonia’s self-determination “is clear” and “does not include nuances”. In addition, Rajoy said that he is “always open to dialogue” but that “it is impossible to talk” with Catalonia because of “a continuous process of unilateral decisions”. Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted that a self-determination vote “cannot take place” and “goes against the Constitution”.