Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

1. EC spokesperson refrains from commenting on Catalan EU membership

Last Monday the Catalan Government’s Advisory Council for National Transition (CATN) stated [European Voice] that EU Treaties did not include any provision regarding the secession of a Member State and therefore the final decision would be a political one, considering also economic interests.

Yesterday, a a spokesperson for the European Commission –the Spaniard Alejandro Ulzurrun­­– rephrased the usual arguments, namely: 

  • The EC will not consider constitutional arrangements of Member States;
  • The EC will only give an analysis upon the request of a Member State and on the basis of a detailed scenario.

Without directly commenting on the report, he stated that “if a part territory of a Member State secedes”, “EU Treaties no longer apply from the day of its independence as “it becomes a third country”.

On its article about the event, the Catalan News Agency writes that

“many legal experts insist that Catalans would retain their Spanish nationality even if Catalonia became independent, because they would have to explicitly give it up in order to lose it. This would be even clearer if Spain did not recognise an independent Catalonia, since a Catalan state would not exist for the Spanish Government and therefore the Catalan territory and citizens would continue to be under its rule, in Madrid’s perspective. – Catalan News Agency

 2. The principles of the EU and the Catalans’ aspirations 

The issue of EU membership is taken very seriously in Catalonia, were people generally like to define themselves as Europhiles. A sign of this is a recent declaration signed by a group of individuals after a conference by the European Commission vice-president Viviane Reding in Barcelona, last February 23.

Some in the audience regretted that Reding repeatedly refused to answer some questions regarding Catalan self-determination. For that reason they wrote a Declaration which details the pro-European sentiment in Catalonia and demands the European institutions’ understanding of the Catalan case:

“La Pedrera” Declaration
For all these reasons, therefore, the people listed below, who attended the above-mentioned debate, call on the European Union and the international community as a whole to ensure the effective realization of what the seven million Europeans that live and coexist in Catalonia have asked our political representatives: to be able to decide freely and democratically, and without further apocalyptic threats or delays – as hundreds of other peoples in the world have done before us -, our future as a people and the recovery of our independence.


The Declaration was delivered last Friday to the European Commission office in Barcelona.

 3. The inconsequential vote of April 8 in Madrid

When it comes to explaining about Catalonia to the world, few projects beat Col·lectiu Emma in influence and efficiency. It is a “network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media” and from Catalan News Monitor we can only encourage our readers to follow them.

Apart from replying to biased articles on the international press, this collective also sporadically runs thoughtful editorials. Their latest one, about last week events in the Spanish Congress, is not to be missed:

The inconsequential vote of April 8 in Madrid
By going to the Cortes, Catalans were giving Spain a fresh opportunity to steer the process back to a rational course. Few were expecting from the debate an honest acknowledgment of the Catalan people’s grievances or a serious attempt to work them out. Some, however, were hoping for the door to be opened a crack allowing the start of a dialogue. Instead, all Spanish political forces locked arms to block the Catalan claim, making a mutually acceptable resolution of the conflict even more difficult. In fact, the attitude exemplified by that vote may have given Catalans some additional reasons to detach themselves from Spain. – Col·lectiu Emma