spanish nationalism

Catalan businesspeople annoyed with Spanish Government for not issuing fiscal balances

January 28, 2014 01:43 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan business community is deeply annoyed with the Spanish Government for not publishing transparent data on Catalonia’s fiscal contribution to the rest of Spain and therefore not recognising the fiscal deficit. The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, was supposed to issue the so-called fiscal balances last December but their publication was inexplicably delayed. Last Friday, in late January, Montoro announced the fiscal balances would no longer be calculated and published in the present form; instead, he would publish in March the “regionalised public figures” stating the costs of public services per citizen because the fiscal balances were “incomplete and incoherent”. However, on Tuesday, the Minister recognised that they were “correct” but “wrongly used” to support Catalan independence claims.

Supreme Court insists Spanish must be teaching language if requested by one pupil

January 27, 2014 09:14 PM | ACN

In appeal, the Spanish Supreme Court has sided with the family who requested their son to be taught in Spanish in school, alongside Catalan. Despite the Constitution not advocating pupils had “the right to be taught in Spanish”, but only stating they had “the right and duty to know Spanish”, a dozen families have requested their children to be taught in this language, turning to the judicial system. Whilst the Constitutional Court has validated on two occasions the Catalan schooling system, based on Catalan as first language of instruction, the Supreme Court ruled against it. The Catalan Government was offering individualised attention to these children, but the judicial decision states that Spanish has to be used for “the entire class of the pupil”, even though the rest of the pupils have not requested to be taught in this language.

European Parliament Vice-president quits People’s Party and joins ultra-nationalist force

January 27, 2014 07:13 PM | ACN

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice-president of the European Parliament and famous for his strong Spanish nationalist stances, has quitted the People’s Party (PP) after 30 years of membership. Vidal-Quadras has joined the newly-created VOX party, a populist ultra-nationalist force defending a total recentralisation of Spain. The Europarliament’s VP criticises the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s “diagnosis” and “solutions” for the “economic, institutional, moral and national unity” crisis the country is going through. However, after 15 years of being Euro MP for the PP, a few weeks ago it was revealed that the party did not want him on the list for the next European elections. Vidal-Quadras might lead VOX in the next electoral race.

Catalan Finance Minister accuses Rajoy of sidelining and homogenising the Autonomous Communities

January 24, 2014 02:57 PM | ACN

Andreu Mas-Colell, Catalan Finance Minister, accused the Spanish Government of aiming “to undo” the system of Autonomous Communities. He also expressed his fear that the so-called ‘coffee for all’ system [the generalised devolution of the early 1980s that shaped the 17 Autonomous Communities] will become a ‘decaffeinated coffee’ system, implemented ‘in depth’. With this play on words, Mas-Colell was referring to a deep recentralisation and homogenisation process. Furthermore, the former professor of Economics at Harvard and Berkley, denounced “the budget treatment” that the Spanish Government gives to Catalonia as “totally unfair”. In this vein, he proposed that an international and independent body should calculate the fiscal balances between Catalonia and the Spanish State.

“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”.

Rajoy rejects Catalonia’s self-determination vote once again

January 21, 2014 04:36 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated in a TV interview on Monday evening that he has “a plan” to prevent Catalonia’s self-determination and “guaranteed” that “the independence of any Spanish territory will not happen while [he is] in office”. Rajoy emphasised that his plan’s guidelines are, firstly, “implementing the law”. The Spanish PM said he is “ready for any scenario that might happen”, but refused to disclose any measure. Secondly, he would be “working on increasing the bonds that have always united the whole Catalan people and the people living in Catalonia that are not born in Catalonia with the whole Spanish people”. Thirdly, “working to solve the problems of the Spanish and Catalan economies”, as well as the funding of the Catalan Government. However, Rajoy stated he “will not call” the Catalan President, Artur Mas, despite the offers to talk.

Spanish Government defends teaching a single history of Spain

January 17, 2014 03:32 PM | ACN

The Spanish Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, emphasised the need to have a common and single history of Spain taught in all the Autonomous Communities. With the Education Reform he is currently proposing, the history curriculum will be imposed by Madrid and the Autonomous Communities will only be able to add a small portion referring to their own history. However, such additional contentswill be excluded from the final exams and therefore pupils will tend to ignorethem. With this initiative, Wert aims to impose a single interpretation of the historic facts affecting Spain’s history and nation-building. Lately, the Spanish Government, run by the People’s Party (PP), has repeatedly stated that Spain is “the oldest nation in Europe” and is now focusing on the education system to spread this idea.

Spanish Government “will appeal against” the self-determination call “the very next minute”

January 14, 2014 09:28 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government accuses Madrid of continued “prejudices” since “appealing against” a measure “the very next minute” after it is announced “does not leave time to fully analyse it” and therefore “does not respect the rule of law”. A majority of Catalan parties is proposing a self-determination vote for the 9th of November in accordance with the legal framework. There are 5 different ways to legally organise such a vote according to Constitutional experts. However, the Spanish Government is insisting that such a vote is illegal. The Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón stated on Tuesday: “if Mas [the Catalan President] signs a decree calling the consultation vote instead of [only] resigning himself to giving a statement, the very next minute, this decree will be taken to the Constitutional Court”. Furthermore, he added that “there is no doubt” that the vote “will be suspended” by the Court.

People’s Party rejects the Socialists’ territorial reform to better fit Catalonia

January 14, 2014 08:38 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Parliament and Senate, closed the door on launching a broad debate on Spain’s territorial organisation and on reforming the Constitution accordingly. The objective of this reform would be to keep Catalonia within Spain by answering some of the Catalan claims and working towards an improved relationship. “We are not willing to open debates that divide the Spaniards”, stated Alfonso Alonso, the PP Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament. The Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, had sent a letter to the President of the Spanish Parliament, asking him to create “a body” to debate on a broad territorial reform.

Experts suggest increasing cooperation between an independent Catalonia and Spain

December 20, 2013 09:21 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government’s Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of renowned independent experts, emphasised that Catalonia’s independence from Spain would not represent breaking their affective and historical bounds. Furthermore, they insisted on the need to continue and even to increase cooperation “based on a new principle of equality and mutual respect between both parties”. They have suggested different ways to cooperate, through different structures. For instance, they proposed the creation of the ‘Iberian Council’ bringing together Catalonia and Spain, as well as Portugal and Andorra if they wished to, which would mirror the Nordic Council or the Benelux. Furthermore, the CATN issued three other reports, including a detailed analysis of Catalonia’s tax agency.

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.

Fascist attack against a pro-independence event in Greater Barcelona

December 18, 2013 06:40 PM | ACN

The civil society organisation Súmate, bringing together Spanish-speaking Catalans who support independence from Spain, presented its local branch in Mataró, a coastal city in Greater Barcelona. On Tuesday evening, half an hour after the event’s kick off, a group of about six Fascists carrying Spanish flags interrupted the presentation and tried to stop it. They shouted insults against participants and carried banners against the association. “You are a submarine” of pro-independence parties and “You are sold to the ‘nazionalist’ tyranny” were some of the slogans. Ironically, these Fascists called the attendees of a democratic debate on Catalan nationalism ‘Nazis’. Spanish nationalism has compared Catalonia’s claims to Nazism on several occasions, while Madrid’s establishment and intellectuals have barely protested. 

Chairman of Spanish Employers: Catalan business-owners are shifting towards self-determination

December 17, 2013 08:43 PM | ACN

Juan Rosell, the current Chairman of Spain’s main association of employers (CEOE), and who used to chair the main Catalan employers association, stated that Catalan businesspeople are shifting towards pro-self-determination stands. Rosell, who is openly against Catalonia’s independence, stated that “business people are not aliens” and “if society has changed its views in the last few years, so have businesspeople”. The top representative of Spanish business-owners stated that the current moment is “extremely serious”. Rosell demanded to “bridge the gap, put all the economic data on the table and analyse the pros and cons for one side and the other one” regarding Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Rosell asserted that companies have not left Catalonia due to the self-determination process.

The PP to finally block the Catalan Government’s budget

December 17, 2013 08:27 PM | ACN

On Monday the People’s Party (PP) announced they were considering freezing the 2014 Catalan Government’s budget of €29.31 billion. The reason is that they include €5 million (0.017% of the total spending) to fund “electoral processes and citizen consultations”, which they fear could fund a self-determination vote. The Catalan Government has the power to organise a consultation process, as well as to modify small items once the budget is approved. The PP was waiting for the Spanish Finance Minister’s green light, since blocking the budget’s approval could have consequences on the objective to reduce public deficit and on meeting the targets imposed by the EU. Cristóbal Montoro argued that, since the blocking would “only last some 30 days”, there is no such danger.

Rajoy insists he will not negotiate on Catalonia’s self-determination

December 17, 2013 08:17 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister replied on Tuesday to the President of the Catalan Government’s proposal to discuss in a private meeting the question wording, date, and procedure of Catalonia’s self-determination vote. The Financial Times had also urged the Spanish Government to negotiate and make an offer to Catalans, while adding that “the ingredients” for a solution can be found in Catalonia’s question. While Mariano Rajoy answered he was open to meet with Artur Mas, he added he has nothing to negotiate on and nothing new to say. “The [Spanish] Government will not make any concession” regarding Catalonia’s self-determination. In addition, Rajoy insisted the vote “will not take place”. Furthermore, he added that Catalonia will not have a special funding scheme.