Pep Suñé (Unió de Pagesos farmers’ union): “Spain makes me feel like a colonized subject”

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Catalan News Monitor

 

Good afternoon Mr.Suñé. What is your role in Unió de Pagesos farmers’ union?

I’ve been responsable for the Dried Fruit or Nuts sector, coordinator for the Tarragona area and member of the National Executive of Unió de Pagesos.

What do you think of Spain’s agricultural policy?

Spain’s agricultural policy does not take into account the specific characteristics of  Catalan farming, apart from providing less resources to the cofunded aid coming from the EU.

What advantages would Catalan farmers have if Catalonia was an independent State?

Would have or should have, maybe we should say. We would be able to control the products that enter our country, because the administration would have to follow the same parametres of traceability and non-toxicity that the EU demands, total transparency of the Markets on placing prices, an agricultural policy adapted to the needs of Catalan farms, aid to modernization, to incorporations, etc. Apart from this, on being a State, we would also receive more subsidies from the EU.

Why are you so favourable to the independence of Catalonia, both at a personal level and as regards your union?

Here I will speak from a personal point of view. In this State, in Spain, I am made to feel like a subject, not as a citizen. I have the feeling of being a day worker for a State, which underpays me and regards me with suspicion because I am Catalan . I often have the impression of being colonized.

Do you think a Catalan Republic will bring benefits to our farmers?

Yes because being able to negotiate directly with states and the EU is vital for us to be able to apply an agricultural policy of our own.

 

As a farmer, aren’t you afraid that you may be expelled from the EU?

I am not afraid because as member of a country which is an overall net contributor, I do not think that the EU will want me out.  But yes, if for the moment they fail to admit us, the resources we pay to the EU would allow greater funds to carry out a proper agricultural policy, because we are talking about many milions of euros.

What would you say to overseas readers so that they might understand why you think independence would improve things for Catalan farmers? 

For farmers, the mere fact of not having Madrid mediation is a major breakthrough, because they defend big landlords more than small farms, which is what makes up the agricultural productivity of Catalonia. On a general level, one has to live here to understand the grievances and deficiencies of the Spanish State towards Catalonia. However, I would emphasize the sick obsession of the State towards our language, culture and history, which make up our identity and that they try, with all the means at their disposal, to cancel. But there are also economic and structural reasons. Being one of the communities that most contributes in taxes, their investment here is very deficient, to the point that, if amounts budgeted are low, their execution is even less, often at about the 20% mark. In the area where I live, the entire railway system is being dismantled, while they build TGV fast trains in places where few people travel. Here, the trains have sections where they may only circulate at 20 KPH, due to the poor condition of the tracks. The examples would be endless.

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