spanish nationalism

The ‘father of the Constitution’ Miquel Roca states that the text does not ban a self-determination referendum

October 15, 2013 11:24 PM | ACN

One of the six ‘fathers’ of the Spanish Constitution, Miquel Roca, who currently leads one of the largest law firms in Spain, stated that the Constitution does not ban a referendum on Catalonia’s self-determination. “It is a matter of political will”, since Catalonia is recognised “as a nationality” by Spain’s main law, stated the respected lawyer, who also used to be a leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). In front of a committee of the Catalan Parliament, Roca remarked that it would be “absurd” to call for a referendum at Spanish level, as it would only be binding in Catalonia. In the rest of Spain it would not be binding, emphasised Roca, as “it is said in Article 92”. This article reads that non-binding referendums can be called regarding issues of extreme importance.

The Spanish Government’s disloyalty towards Catalonia cost €9.38 billion according to the Catalan Executive

October 15, 2013 10:40 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has published a report listing all the Spanish Executive’s disloyalties towards Catalonia including not respecting legislation, devolved powers and cultural aspects. The 50-page document has a chapter quantifying the costs of such disloyalty, which totals €9.375 billion, according to the Catalan Government. €5.748 billion correspond to infrastructure which has not been built; €672 million to a reduction in institutional transfers; €1.715 billion to spending increases due to the Spanish Government’s unilateral decisions; and €1.239 to revenue reductions due to similar unilateral decisions which have never been compensated. The report does not take into account the so-called fiscal deficit – the €16.5 billion that each year Catalan tax-payers transfer to the rest of Spain. The Catalan Government emphasised that there has been “a permanent disloyal activity” since 2000.

The Spanish Government announces in October that €1.7 billion will not be transferred to the Catalan Executive this year

October 15, 2013 09:50 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government will receive €1.7 billion less from the Spanish Liquidity Fund (FLA) in 2013 than had been previously foreseen. The news was announced by the Spanish Government in mid-October, with only 10 weeks left before the end of the year. Madrid has justified the decision by linking the FLA to the plan to lend money to public bodies in order to enable them to pay suppliers. The money to pay suppliers will now be deducted from the FLA, changing the previous conditions. As a consequence, the Catalan Government will not be able to fund the 1.58% deficit it had allowed, since the FLA is its only access to liquidity. Now, Catalonia will only have money for the previously-foreseen 0.7% deficit. The Catalan Executive feels “tricked” as “it is not understandable that the Spanish Government agrees to a greater deficit and later cannot fund this deficit”.

Large demonstration in Barcelona organised by Spain’s unity supporters, but smaller than the independence march

October 12, 2013 09:47 PM | ACN

On Saturday, Spain’s National Day, those opposing Catalan independence and defending Spain’s unity organised a large-scale demonstration in Barcelona. In absolute terms, the demonstration was far from gathering as many people as the Catalan independence demonstration a month ago or that of 2012. However, it was still a massive concentration of people, gathering around 30,000 people according to the local police, 105,000 according to the Spanish Government and 160,000 according to the organisers. The People’s Party and the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s) attended the demonstration. The organisers had been received on Thursday by the Presidents of the Catalan Government and Parliament.

The Spanish Parliament approves the Education Reform against Catalan school model with only the PP’s votes

October 10, 2013 09:20 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, used its absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament to pass a controversial reform of the Education System, which is not supported by the teachers’ unions or the rest of the political parties. Among several aspects, the new law goes against the Catalan school model, based on the linguistic immersion principle, which guarantees that all pupils master both Spanish and Catalan by the end of their studies, ensuring equal opportunities. The reform is the personal project of Spain’s Education Minister, José Ignacio Wert, who used to collaborate in far-right television channels. The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, confirmed that she will take the new law to the Constitutional Court and stated that the reform will not be implemented in Catalonia in 2014.

The Constitutional Court upholds ruling that Balearic Islands’ civil servants are no longer required to know Catalan

October 2, 2013 10:38 PM | ACN

On the same day, the Court re-affirmed its decision to keep its current Chairman in position despite his anti-Catalan public stance and having been a member of the governing People’s Party (PP) until 2011. On top of this, Catalan and Basque Members of the European Parliament from five different parties formally asked the European Commission to intervene against the politicisation of the Spanish Constitutional Court, stressing that EU democracies should have an independent judiciary. The Constitutional Court is the highest interpreter of Spain’s legislation, has to guarantee the respect of fundamental rights and acts as a referee between the different government levels and political actors. In this capacity, it ruled against the appeal presented by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) against the law that abolished the requirement to know Catalan for working as a public servant in Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, despite it being the local language.

The Spanish Government’s investment in Catalonia to drop by 25% in 2014

September 30, 2013 09:34 PM | ACN

On Monday the Spanish Government presented its budget proposal for 2014. As every single year, it will only invest in Catalonia a much inferior budget share than Catalonia’s weight within Spain in GDP or population terms. In 2014, the Spanish Government is planning to spend just 9.6% of its total regional investment in Catalonia, far short of the Catalan GDP (18.9% of Spain’s total) and population (15.7%). In addition, compared to the budget forecast for 2013, the €944.42 million planned for 2014 represents a 25% annual drop, while investment throughout Spain will only be reduced by 7.2%.

The Catalan Parliament approves requesting the Spanish Parliament to authorise a self-determination vote

September 27, 2013 10:08 PM | ACN

In addition, the Catalan Chamber has also approved setting up the exact date, question and legal process for the self-determination vote before the end of the year. The resolution was approved with 65% of the Catalan Parliament’s members voting in favour. However, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – finally decided to vote against the text. The request was approved with the votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) and the radical left wing and independence party CUP. The PSC, the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the anti-Catalan nationalist and populist party Ciutadans (C’s) voted against.

The Christian-Democrats within the governing CiU propose a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation

September 23, 2013 09:51 PM | ACN

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) – which is the Christian-Democrat party and smaller force within the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – insisted that he does not want independence from Spain, but a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation. Duran – who is also CiU’s ‘number 2’ – has been proposing this formula for years. However, in the last few months and particularly on the occasion of the 400-kilometre human chain, Duran has emphasised his stance, while the larger party within CiU – the Liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) – was increasingly supporting independence. Nevertheless, Duran insisted that Catalonia must vote in a self-determination referendum, where he will defend a third way “between independence and submission”.

The European Commission: “there are territories that are not EU Member States but use the Euro”

September 20, 2013 10:27 PM | ACN

Brussels confirmed on Friday the possibility of continuing to have the Euro as currency while not being part of the European Union. On Thursday the Catalan President, Artur Mas, emphasised that “Catalonia will have the Euro as its currency” whatever happens regarding its independence from Spain. Mas’ statement was immediately criticised by Madrid-based media, which are completely opposed to Catalonia’s self-determination and are arguing against it. In the last few days, a debate has been launched about whether an independent Catalonia would still be part of the EU. The Commission Spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Simon O’Connor, emphasised that it is possible for a state to use the Euro as its currency independently of its EU membership. He named the examples of Monaco, Andorra and Montenegro, among others.

The Constitutional Court rejects the exclusion of its President requested by the Catalan Government

September 17, 2013 10:51 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court has decided not to exclude its President, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, from cases directly affecting Catalonia’s self-government institutions despite his anti-Catalan statements and being a member of the People’s Party (PP) until 2011. Among many statements, in 2005 he made one of the most controversial ones when he said that “Catalans are educated to hate Spanish culture”. The Catalan Government asked him at least to apologise publicly for those words, made at a public event, and to take them back. Furthermore, all the Catalan parties except the Spanish nationalist ones rejected the Court’s decision since the institution loses even more credibility. The anti-Catalan nationalist party Ciutadans (C’s) warns that keeping Pérez de los Cobos in position will allow Catalan independence supporters to take legitimacy away from the Court.

The Spanish Government initially downplays the human chain for Catalonia’s independence

September 12, 2013 09:18 PM | ACN

However, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, recognised the “success” of the demonstration. Earlier, the Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, had stated that there was “a silent majority” who “stayed at home” and did not participate in the 1.6 million strong demonstration, since Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants. She also insisted in holding “a dialogue within the Constitution”, which means completely rejecting a self-determination vote. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, considered that the Spanish Government emphasising that there was a “silent majority” was an “absurd” statement. Homs added that, if the Spanish Government really wanted to count how many people are against Catalonia’s independence, the best thing is holding a democratic vote on the issue.

Extreme right-wing group attacks the Catalan Government delegation in Madrid

September 11, 2013 11:34 PM | ACN

This Wednesday, an extreme right-wing Spanish nationalist group interrupted the institutional celebration of Catalonia’s National Day at the Catalan Government delegation in Madrid. The Fascist group assaulted the delegation and attacked some of those present causing five minor injuries, including a 4-year old girl. As the Catalan Government’s representative was about to make his speech, some 15 members of an extreme-right wing group entered the centre shouting “make no mistake, Catalonia is Spain”. The group was carrying Nazi flags as well as flags of the Falange – the party of Franco. One camera operator was taken to hospital with a dislocation. No arrests have been made by the Spanish Police.

1.6 million independence supporters form an historic 400km-long human chain throughout Catalonia

September 11, 2013 11:10 PM | ACN

The civil society platform that organised the colossal ‘Catalan Way towards independence’ demanded a self-determination referendum to be held in 2014 and not at a later stage. The festive demonstration was a great success, gathering more participants than last year’s 1.5 million strong rally, which was also organised on Catalonia’s National Day. Most of the Catalan Government Ministers took part in the human chain, but neither the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, nor the Chairperson of the Catalan Parliament took part. However, they did both gave their personal support to the peaceful demonstration. Many folkloric performances and festive celebrations were carried out throughout the non-interrupted human chain. 500,000 citizens held hands in the city of Barcelona alone, and a total of 1.6 million Catalans participated in the rally, according to the Catalan Police.

The morning ceremonies of Catalonia’s National Day honour culture with the absence of the People’s Party

September 11, 2013 07:46 PM | ACN

11th September is Catalonia’s National Day and two main ceremonies traditionally take place in the morning. The first one is the flower offering at the Rafael Casanova monument, honouring the leader of Barcelona’s defence against the Bourbon invasion of 1714. The second one is an institutional ceremony near the Catalan Parliament honouring Catalan culture, language and identity, including: poetry, music and flamenco dancing brought by Andalusian immigrants. The People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – has not been participating in the flower offering for the last few years, but this year it also decided not to attend the institutional ceremony. Instead, the PP held its own get-together with party banners.