Thursday, May 8, 2014

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

1. Catalonia in the EU

With the EU elections coming up, Catalan parties have kicked off their electoral campaign for one of the most decisive votes of recent history. A referendum on independence is due on November 9, 2014, which the Spanish government does not accept and will try to avoid by all means.

In such a context, pro-referendum parties will try to exert all their leverage in the diplomatic arena, and the European Parliament is certainly a first-class setting for all the lobbying that will surely be needed.

On the other hand, Catalan parties seek to put across their deeply-rooted pro-Europeanism and dismiss the fears, among European citizens, of a surging anti-Europe and ethnicist nationalism that aims at breaking the Union apart.

This and much more can be read from the manifesto made public by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat): | Catalonia in the EU, now and in the future
Catalans have been European since the beginning of their history and Catalonia is already fully integrated with the European Union. About 7.5 million Catalan citizens already have the rights of EU citizenship. More than 300,000 EU citizens reside in Catalonia and 5,100 foreign companies are established there. Catalans wish to remain part of the EU and to stay within the Eurozone regardless what they vote on 9 November in terms of their relationship with the Kingdom of Spain. They are fervent Europeans.

2. Rajoy: “Catalans don’t want a vote on independence”

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s denial of a case for Catalan independence is more serious than it seems, after he declared that demands for self-determination in Catalonia are only  fuelled by political parties, while Catalans have “other concerns”, blatantly ignoring recent massive demonstrations, opinion polls and even the composition of the Catalan parliament itself:

ACN | Rajoy insists that the majority of Catalans do not want a self-determination vote
On Wednesday, before the Spanish Parliament, the PM stated that he is only willing to talk about the things that really concern “all the Catalans”, which are the economic recovery and the funding of the Catalan Government, according to him. In fact, in the last few weeks he has explicitly asked the Catalan authorities to give up on their demands to organise a self-determination vote as the sine qua non condition for sitting down to talk. Otherwise, there is no dialogue, despite Rajoy constantly repeating that “he is wiling to talk” but only within the bounds of things allowed in the current legal framework.

3. Opinion: Why Catalan separatists are not selfish

Journalist and political commentator Vicenç Villatoro makes a statement against the notion of “uncooperative selfishness by rich communities who, tired of helping poor communities -which is their obligation- want to fly solo and leave the less-favored to their own devices”.

Instead, Villatoro declares that:

“the pulse of an independence movement starts when in a community, be it rich or poor, there is a general and justified feeling that the policies of the state to which it belongs do not favor the interests of that community, but favor other interests instead. When you have the sensation that the state that should protect you leaves you exposed to the elements, and that the tools of the state that should be used to help you do not help, and even harm you”. – Vicenç Villatoro at Ara: Selfish independence movements.