European Commission hints at the way to handle Catalonia’s independence

Catalan independentist association Reagrupament submitted back in April an ICE requesting the European Commission to create a procedure for the internal enlargement of the EU of which we already spoke about here. In reponse to this the European Commission replied that the way to handle this situation would have to be found within the rules of international law.

Again last week European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso replied, in response to eurodeputy Mara Bizzotto query on whether Catalan citizens would lose their European citizenship status should Catalonia declare independence (CA), that “the solution would have to be found within the frame of international law”.

This means that the EU will not create a special process for the internal enlargement and, according to international law, states resulting from a secession process will automatically inherit the treaties that the from the state they are seceding from. Amongst them the membership to the European Union.

It also is good news because for the first time a European Institution has openly discussed about Catalonia’s independence.

Spanish Military threatens: “Catalonia’s independence? Over my dead body”

Spanish Army Colonel Francisco Alamán Castro has declared on an interview to a Spanish website that “Catalonia’s independence will be over my dead body and many others’ too. The military made a sacred vow to carry out the constitutional command which consecrates the unity of Spain as a inalienable right. We also vowed to defend its territorial integrity with our lifes if necessary. But we have something those people will never have: sense of honor and duty”

Catalan deputy Joan Tardà has already requested the Spanish Miniter of Defence appearance to give explanations about the military threats to Catalonia and to publicly disavow Francisco Alamán Castro.

Mas fails to defend Catalonia’s interests

The perversity of the Spanish tax system is that Catalonia, while is being plundered every year 40% of taxes collected in Catalonia which never come back, has just been forced by Spain to a humiliating bailout.

The yearly fiscal deficit of Catalonia with Spain amounts to 18 billion euros for a population of 7.5 million.

How can the system be such that the net contributor to the finances of a state, Catalonia, needs to be bailed out with their own money? How can Spain blame Catalonia for the state of their dire finances when most services are provided by Catalonia but most debt is caused by the Spanish government spending?

Catalan President Mas and its government have failed today to defend Catalonia’s interests and has opened the possibility for Spain to suppress Catalonia’s institutions. In the terms that Mas’ party voted for in Madrid.

Mas promised he would achieve fiscal independence for Catalonia during this term but instead his government has surrendered what was left of Catalonia’s self government to Spain in a silver platter for a mere 5 billion euros. Mas has failed to stand for its country.

Because essentially after the bailout, any deviation from the deficit targets by Catalonia, which it will not meet because of the general state of the economy, will mean that the Spanish Government will be able to decide exactly how every euro cent will be spent in Catalonia (CA). So it will be almost impossible to stop things like this or this from happening.

Not to speak of the public and international humiliation at having Catalonia be seen as an irresponsible country and the damage to its image and credibility because the Catalan Government has failed to explain the situation.

Mas should resign immediately and call for elections.

September 11th, “Catalonia new European state” demonstration

September the 11th is the anniversary of the fall of Barcelona under the Spanish and French armies in 1714. That day meant the loss of Catalonia’s constitution, institutions and independence. Almost 300 years later Catalonia is still struggling to recover it. September 11th is currently the Catalan national day. A day to remember the loss of our independence until it is recovered.

The National Catalan Assembly, ANC, of which I already wrote about here and here have organised a demonstration that is expected to be massive and may even beat the demonstration on 10th July 2010.

On 2010 Òmnium Cultural, a Catalan cultural association born during Franco’s repression of Catalan language, organised a demonstration to protest against the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court which mutilated the Catalan Statute of Autonomy which Catalans had voted in a referendum. Amongst other things this ruling stated that, according to the Spanish Constitution, Catalonia is not a nation and that Catalan language would have an inferior status to Spanish in Catalonia.

The theme of that demonstration was “We are a nation, we decide”. Even though it was not officially an independentist demonstration people in the streets were shouting for independence.

The two main differences of this demonstration with the previous one is that this time Catalans are not protesting against Spain. This one is intended more as a push to Catalan politicians to jump over the fence. The second difference is that that the theme is clearly independentist “Catalonia new European state”.

The demonstration on 2010 was the turning point for many political changes. The pro independence option is now clearly dominant and Spain’s intransigent attitude and attacks towards the Catalan nation and culture are pushing Catalans quickly into independentist options.

Spanish parties PP and PSOE are quickly losing support in Catalonia because of their contradictions. Catalan voters cannot understand why they don’t support for Catalonia to at least collect all its taxes and how can they tolerate and participate on the attacks to Catalan language.

And Catalan parties, which support different degrees of Catalan self government are progressively being forced by public opinion and the deep crisis to raise the bar for devolution claims. It is not understood why Catalonia is suffering a fiscal deficit of 18 billion euros every year with Spain and have to make more public services cuts than anywhere in Spain and why Spain is attacking Catalan language on all fronts.

What is frustrating is that the increase in Catalan independentism is not triggering any real political changes since Spain is ignoring them and repressing Catalan independentism, even recurring to violence and threats. Catalan government is in a position of extreme weakness to negotiate with Spain since they depend on fund transfers from Spain every month. And Spain cannot afford and doesn’t intend to give Catalonia a fair financial treatment.

So by the looks of it if Catalans want to achieve any real political changes it will have to be through unilateral declaration of independence and a transition to independence.

The ANC wants this demonstration to trigger the political changes to start the last phase before Catalonia becomes a new European state and to send a clear message to the world of what is about to happen and why.

Spanish Government instructs Spanish police to seize Catalan independentist flags

The Catalan Estelada is the symbol of Catalonia's independence

The Spanish Government has replied to Catalan deputy Alfred Bosch’s query on the issue that instructions have indeed been given to the Spanish police to seize Catalan independentist flags in sports events, just like it happened in Madrid last May during the Spanish Cup’s Football final in Madrid where it was reported the Spanish police seized Catalan starred flags from Barça supporters.

The Spanish Government says this is done because “displaying them could trigger an adverse reaction and violence from certain supporters” (CA). Even though they confirm that the Catalan Estelada (Starred flag) is not illegal per se.

Also during that match it was reported that at least one young man was beaten up by the Spanish Police for displaying a Catalan independentist flag and later another supporter was fined with 3001 euros for wearing a Catalan independentist scarf (CA).

However, the Spanish police didn’t seem to have a problem with the fascist symbols displayed during the fascist demonstration which took place in Madrid on the same day.

Madrid’s “No” is Catalonia’s ladder of escape

The Catalan Parliament shifted visibly on wednesday from left-right blocks to Catalonia-Spain blocks. CiU, ERC and ICV, the Catalan parties, voted in majority on one side to demand Spain for Catalonia to collect all its taxes. PSC and PP were on the other side.

Catalonia is being deliberately starved of its own resources by the Spanish Government to force a bankruptcy and intervene. While this struggle may seem from the outside as purely an internal Spanish problem it is not. The starvation of resources is deliberate to force Catalonia to ask for a bailout to continue with Spain’s nationalistic agenda.

Even though from Catalonia things could certainly have been done better it would not be in this dire situation if it wasn’t for the 16 billion euros, or around 8-10% of its GDP (that’s about 40% of all taxes collected in Catalonia) which is plundered every year by Spain. Catalonia is only asking to dispose of its own resources in this time of crisis.

On wednesday a clear shift has taken place and the Catalan Parliament shows now a Catalonia-Spain dicotomy. While many independentists don’t believe this intermediate station is required (to ask Spain for Catalonia to collect all its taxes) Spain’s predictable reaction may be and eye opener for many to join the pro independence ranks. Currently 51% of Catalans would vote yes to independence and only 21% would vote no. With a 8% growth of the yes option only in the last year.

Immediately after the Catalan Parliament resolved to demand Spain to collect all taxes (currently Spain collects >95% of the taxes in Catalonia) Spanish Miniter Montoro completely discarded the possibility. The Basque Country already enjoys the tax collection system that Catalonia is demanding and it has proven effective since unemployment figures are half of those in Catalonia and it’s economy much more sheltered from the Spanish crisis.

After the summer Catalonia will need financing from Spain to pay its debts, but in exchange Spain will demand political changes that will be targeted against Catalan culture and interests. Spain has been using the legal system to this end in the last 3 decades.

And then at that point Catalonia will be at the crossroads. To let Spain take control and disappear or to become a State. President Mas will have to take control of the situation justified on Spain’s disloyalty against Catalonia and eventually let Catalan people speak. Events are accelerating.

Spanish police beat young man up in Madrid for waving a Catalan flag during football match

Through Vilaweb I read that ERC have denounced that a young Catalan man was beaten up by the Spanish police after waving a Catalan flag during the Spanish King’s Cup Final in Madrid last friday. The policemen ordered him to give them the flag. He refused so they took him away and was beaten up by 6 policemen causing cuts and swelling in his face. When he was on the floor and somebody passed by on the other side of a fence, they lifted him kept beating him up and said “Look how we beat this Pole (way Spanish refer to Catalans as an insult) up”. Once again he was lying on the floor and they said to him “C’mon wave you flag now dirty Catalan!” They took him away and spent the night in a cell at the police headquarters. A friend of his was witness to the beating and even though he tried to record it the policemen took his phone away and deleted it.

This was not the only case reported of Catalan supporters being beaten up by the Spanish police on friday.

Catalan deputies Joan Tardà and Ramon Tremosa are taking these cases of racist violence to the Spanish Congress and European Commission.

All of this happened in Madrid only a few hours after a fascist demonstration went down the streets of Madrid (ca) I made a post about it here.

Also, apuntem.cat has denounced that twitter was full of racist comments from people asking for a bomb to explode in the stadium to kill the Catalan and Basque supporters.

Fascist demonstration in Madrid before the Spanish King’s Cup Final

Spain has authorised a fascist demonstration in Madrid before the Spanish King’s Cup Final in response (I quote) “to the expected provocations from the Basque and Catalan separatists.” This is extremely irresponsible since within the Catalan and Basque supporters there’ll be families and children. From here we want to denounce this irresponsible act and hope that the demonstration is eventually cancelled to avoid possible violent actions against the visiting supporters.

In the meantime the King himself, the Spanish President and the President of the Madrid Autonomous Community have declined attending the game.

Thanks for your support.

I already made a post about previous whistling here.

European Commission prioritizes happier cows to citizens’ rights?

Through Reagrupament I find that the European Commission has already accepted 4 European Citizens’ Intitiatives but hasn’t yet decided on the EU Internal Enlargement one. Amongst the accepted ones there is one to support cows’ rights, even though these were submitted at after the EU Internal Enlargement one.

Let’s hope the European Commission quickly comes back with an answer on the EU Internal Enlargement issue since European Citizens must have a chance to make themselves heard when it comes to high level European Politics. Or will they make true the perception that the European Union is a bureaucratic institution far from its citizens?

The EU Internal Enlargement is a very important matter since it will rule about whether the states arising from a secession of an existing member state would become automatically European Union members.

It would be against the EU’s interests if Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders or Wales would be outside of the European Union once they become independent states but this is an excellent opportunity to arise awareness about this issue that in the next few years is going to occupy the European agenda.