The Catalan declaration of independence could happen in December. Bi-weekly highlights.

February 22nd, the latest poll made by the Catalan Generalitat shows results that 54.7% of Catalans would vote Yes to independence [ca], 20,7% No, 17% abstention and 5.4% doesn’t know. The good thing about these results is that all the attacks and efforts to scare Catalans made by the Spanish Government and Spanish State structures are proving to be completely in vain.

February 21st, the Catalan Minister of Economy, andreu Mas-Colell, is already working on setting up the Catalan Tax Agency [ca].

February 25th, for the first time in 31 years PSC, the Catalan branch of the Spanish PSOE, voted differently and against PSOE’s will. This was in the voting at the Spanish Parliament about a Catalan referendum on independence. Even thought the voting was lost all Catalan deputies, except for those from PP, voted together for the first time in the Spanish Parliament. PSOE have threatened to break up with PSC but their dilemma is that they know they wouldn’t be able to win an election ever again without PSC’s votes. In any case this is a great victory for Catalonia since it has forced PSC to accept Catalonia as a sovereign entity.

February 25th, Catalan President Mas continues his efforts to counter the Spanish diplomatics attacks against Catalonia by explaining the process to independence during a meeting of liberal democrat european rulers in Amsterdam [ca].

February 24th, the Spanish Minister of education insists that he wants to finish with the “dominance of Catalan language in schools” (sic).

February 28th, Spanish army General in the reserve Juan antonio Chicharro said: “The country is more important than democracy” and suggested a possible military coup should Catalonia’s independence process continue [ca]. Disciplinary action may be taken against him. However, nobody from the Government or the army has publicly contradicted him.

February 28th, the Spanish Government will appeal Catalan Parliament’s Declaration of Sovereignty to the Spanish constitutional Court [ca] in an attempt to invalidate it. Even though this will not have any effect since it is a political declaration of intentions to justify the self-determination process in Catalonia. However, we should thank Spain that they see the threat is poses since it is, effectively, a detachment from the Spanish Constitution by stating that Catalonia, and not Spain, is the political subject.

March 4th, Spain threatens freedom of speech. The Spanish General Attorney, Mr Torres-Dulce, will dismiss the Catalan General Attorney, Mr Rodríguez Sol [ca]. The latter said in an interview to Europa Press that he believes, even though he is not an independentist, that it would be legitimate for Catalans to decide their future and that the Spanish Constitution from 1978 may not reflect the changes in society and needs a reform.

March 4th, ERC are considering to accelerate the process through a declaration of independence which could happen as early as December this year [ca]. This is in line with other informations that confirm that also President Mas is already considering the possibility of a declaration of independence given the Spanish rejection to dialogue and the Spanish constant attacks to Catalonia’s economical and political stability.

An independentist Parliament to pilot the transition to the Catalan State

Yesterday’s election in Catalonia is a turning point for Catalan politics.

Coalition CiU has clearly won the election and ERC has become the left wing main Catalan party. Currently, the two main parties at the Catalan Parliament are independentist.

Comparing with the 2010 results. Out of 135 the amount of pro independence seats has increased from 14 to 74. 87 seats support the referendum since left wing – ecologist Catalan party ICV continues to be undefined in their position about independence but support the referendum.

Some people see the decrease in CiU’s support as a disqualification of Mas’ turn towards independence but they overlook that there are more independentist parties and that Mas has paid the price of 2 years of budget cuts, deals with PP, cases of police brutality, etc.

Another key point is that during the campaign Duran, Unio’s leader, Convergencia’s partner, kept contradicting Mas on the coalition’s support to independence, raising concerns on some potential voters that may have preferred to vote ERC instead to secure the independentist vote.

The 69% turnout was an increase of 10.7% compared to 2010. The increase in Catalan vote has kept up with the increase in Spanish nationalist vote who may have abstained in previous Catalan elections.

From my point of view I think the current is one of the best scenarios since CiU will be forced to look for ERC’s support. ERC will not be able to justify austerity for long in front of their voters. Therefore, the independentist agenda may accelerate.

With the current funds drain from Spain there is no room to change the austerity policies in Catalonia so the fastest way to turn this around is to continue the transition towards the Catalan State. It won’t be easy and will require maturity, generosity, concessions and building large consensus but if done properly it will be the base for a very strong majority for the Catalan State. The popular mandate to the Parliament has been clear.

Now that independence support has been measured it needs to be translated into political change.

Oficialitat del Castellà, i si ho parlem més endavant?

He llegit l’article de l’Oriol Junqueras garantint la oficialitat del castellà al futur Estat Català. Tots sabíem que aquest debat arribaria tard o d’hora i com a líder d’ERC la posició de l’Oriol Junqueras té un gran impacte. Jo proposo que abans d’arribar a conclusions en parlem abans.

L’idioma és un tema important perquè en el cas de Catalunya aquest, i no l’etnicitat, és el principal element de vertebració de la identitat nacional.

Primerament, m’agrada que ja estiguem debatint com serà el futur estat català. Però abans d’entrar a cap altra consideració hem de reconèixer que el català ha estat discriminat, perseguit i atacat sense treva durant els últims segles i que d’això ha creat la seva actual situació de feblesa i que per tant no ens ha de fer por actuar per que el català tingui en lloc que li correspon a la nostra societat.

També crec que no es podrà negar que una gran part de la població ha arribat a posicions independentistes per la defensa de la llengua. Per tant aquest és un tema cabdal per a molts catalans.

Estarem d’acord en que fins ara cap col·lectiu castellanoparlant no havia mostrat cap tipus de preocupació respecte del futur del castellà a l’estat català. Som els mateixos independentistes els únics preocupats amb aquest tema.

Em sembla que ningú qüestiona que a l’Estat Català:

  • la llengua pròpia és el català (i l’aranès)
  • tots els idiomes seran respectats
  • buscar escenaris de puresa lingüística no és realista ni pràctic, jo mateix vinc d’una família bilingüe i és evident que dominar més d’un idioma té grans avantatges

Malgrat i que m’agrada la gestió d’en Junqueras al capdavant d’ERC la manera com ha despatxat aquest tema assegurant que el castellà serà oficial a la República Catalana m’ha decepcionat una mica.

M’ha donat la sensació de parlar sota una certa pressió per a guanyar vots ara que s’acosten eleccions (encara que no veig gaire a quin col·lectiu s’adreça) actuant amb un cert bonisme i una mica de candidesa. En la meva opinió penso que li ha mancat una mica de sentit d’estat. Cosa que no es sorprenent, els catalans hem patit molt i tenim por de semblar autoritaris, però crec que en aquest cas ens passem de la ratlla amb nosaltres mateixos.

Abans d’arribar a conclusions suggereixo mirar al nostre voltant i veure com es gestionen certes situacions lingüístiques que tenen algunes similituds:

  • Per exemple, protegint al feble. Al Quebec l’única llengua oficial és el francès. Inclús sense ser independents saben com n’és d’important la protecció de l’idioma que els diferencia com a nació francòfona enmig d’un mar d’anglès.
  • L’argument de que tothom el parla per a fer oficial un idioma. A Dinamarca malgrat i que tothom parla l’anglès dubto que mai se’ls acudís donar-li cap tipus d’oficialitat
  • O l’argument de la immigració, dubto que a Alemanya fos rebuda amb massa entusiasme una suggerència de fer oficial el turc per a esgarrapar uns quants vots extra d’entre els 3 milions d’immigrants d’aquest país que hi resideixen.
  • Lamentablement donant l’oficialitat del castellà a l’estat català estarem incentivant que els únics bilingües continuïn sent els catalanoparlants i donant aixopluc legal a la part de la població que no volen fer servir el català, i per un país petit com Catalunya suposarà una bomba de rellotgeria contra la cohesió social

I si algú es pensa que una vegada independents tot seran flors i violes amb Espanya i que no patirem intents de desestabilització com per exemple els que encara pateixen els letons per part de Rússia vol dir que encara no sap de quin peu calcen els nostres veïns.

I com que la política lingüística és un dels instruments més decisius per a la cohesió dels estats penso que per a fer aquest tipus de debat el millor és que primer ens dotem d’un estat. Personalment penso que és una mala idea donar oficialitat al castellà però el millor és que una vegada independents els catalans parlin i votem si se li dóna cap tipus de reconeixement legal en referèndum. Segurament des de l’altra banda veurem algunes coses més clares.

(actualització a 9 d’Octubre – penso que és important llegir aquesta editorial d’en Vicent Partal – La Catalunya ucraïnesa: un perill)

Catalonia’s next goal: to become a European State

Two eventful weeks of September

The huge demonstration on September 11th has been the turning point. 2 million people peacefully marching down the streets of Barcelona which made it to newspapers all over the world.

I couldn’t make it to the demonstration itself, since at the moment I live and work in England but I was there on the weekend of the 14th and the main topic of convesation with everybody I spoke with (an african friend who runs a restaurant, my hairdresser, relatives, a friend) was independence. Without me even having to raise the topic.

The ANC organised the referendum and now it is the time of the politicians. President Mas has taken the challenge. This has surprised many people. Including, I have to admit, myself. Especially since he declined to go to the demonstration. I don’t know if he was planning from the beginning to do what he did or he was overwhelmed by the demonstration and decided to take action. We may never know.

It is also true that Mas had not much more choice than doing what he did. After the demonstration he had no more room to approve budget cuts while closing those deals with PP and the nth humiliation was having to request the bailout from the Spanish Government which is like having to ask a loan from the burglars who emptied your house.

Mas’ is a smart decision and also a brave one and now he knows the country backs him. A better decision than being caught by the tsunami and disappear politically. Not doing what he did would have left him this week limited to discuss all the unpopular budget cuts from the last two years without a light at the end of the tunnel and with the European bailout to Spain threatening to weaken Catalonia even more.

On november 20th, thursday last week Mas and Rajoy had a meeting where Mas requested Rajoy, as agreed by the Catalan Parliament, that Catalonia should manage all its taxes. In the same fashion as the Basque Country and Navarre already do. And Rajoy said it was impossible. This had been Mas’ main promise two years ago to win the elections. Since this failed it was time for elections.

On tuesday during the annual general politics debate at the Catalan Parliament Mas made a historical speech [ca]. He said that “the time has come for Catalonia to exercise its right to self determination”. Mas called for early elections which will be held on November 25th. The last ones for Mas, as he said he won’t run again for President after Catalonia’s national transition was complete.

On wednesday Mas clarified that he wants for Catalonia the same status as any other European nation [ca]. Like Denmark, Slovenia or the Netherlands. He also clarified that if there is a qualified majority of deputies in the Parliament a self determination referendum will be held whether Spain allows it or not. And for that, the Catalan parties CiU, ERC, SI and ICV have agreed to make a joint statement today [ca] to explain further how the process will take place.

Spain, has hurried to say that such a referendum would be illegal and newspaper El Mundo has gone as far as to threaten Mas with jail and Catalonia with military intervention [ca] should the process continue.

I have criticised Mas in the past for his vagueness and lack of decisiveness but these last two weeks he has proved that he wants to lead Catalonia’s national transition to become a european state. If he continues down this path he’ll have the people’s support.


The reactions from Spain

While the debate about independence goes on in a completely normal and democratic way in Catalonia Spain has so far behaved according to the script. Hysterically. In ways more according to the XIX century.

The Spanish King, going beyond his duties as Head of the Spanish State wrote a shocking political note against the process going on in Catalonia. At least by picking that side we know now that the future Catalan State will be a Republic. I can’t help but wonder where was he while the Catalan Statute of Autonomy was cut? or where is he, in his position as head of the spanish army, while military threats are sent on a daily basis? he has not raised his voice about those.

The rest of responses from Spain from politicians, newspapers or TVs have also been hysterical so far. Ranging from the calls to military intervertion [ca], to explaining how Catalonia would be expelled from the EU and banned by Spain. Attempting to instill fear by saying that Catalonia would not be financially viable as an independent state (but without explaining why). Using the Spanish Constitution as a hammer to say that independence from Spain is impossible, that it would be illegal. PSOE leader in Extremadura Guillermo Fernández has gone as far as to suggest that the 150000 people from his region who emigrated to Catalonia during the 50s and 60s should be deported back to Extremadura should Catalonia become independent(!).

Some spanish politicians are timidly hinting that a solution may be to convert Spain into a federal country. A solution that until 2 weeks ago had no advocates in Spain, only in Catalonia. But it looks, by the vagueness of what they propose that it’s just yet another distraction manouvre. Federal countries are always a free union of States, not the case of Spain. Plus Spain has used the anti catalan hatred so much that the public opinion would never accept such a deal.

But the most shocking so far, not one single argument for Catalonia to stay in Spain formulated in positive. All of them based on fear, imposition and negativity. Spain refuses to enter the debate, I wonder if it may be because they have nothing to offer?

Spain has always perceived negotiation as a weakness. Having lived in Mexico, and having learned from their process to independence I know this is the typical reaction from Spain. What is surprising is that Spain hasn’t learned a single thing in all these centuries. But that is something they will have to deal with by themselves. Catalonia can’t waste any more time in a failed state that works against its interests and shows such a lack of democratic culture.

#11s2012 , a demonstration to place Catalonia’s independence on the horizon

If you have landed on this page today it may very well be because you want to know more about the huge demonstration that is taking place in Barcelona under the motto “Catalonia, a new European State”.

September 11th is for Catalans the anniversary of the loss of our Constitution after the Spanish invasion in 1714. We will commemorate this defeat until we recover our sovereignty.

Today’s demonstration has been organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and will probably be one of the biggest in European history and will definitely be a turning point for Catalonia and hopefully the start of the last stage before independence.

With that in mind I’ll try to summarize the situation.

  • History

    Catalonia is an old European country in the north eastern corner of the Iberian peninsula. With its own culture, language, traditions and history.

    It used to be independent until almost 300 hundred years ago when it was invaded by Castillian and French armies and forced to become part of the Spanish state losing its centuries long Constitution and institutions.

    Throughout all these centuries Spain has not exactly excelled as a democratic state and because of that until now Catalans have not had a chance to democratically express whether they want want to have their state back or not.

  • The Autonomous Communities

    Franco led a 40 years long fascist dictatorship regime in Spain which brutally repressed the Catalan nation and its culture. After its death, in order to dilute the self government devolution to Catalans and Basques, the only ones who wanted it, Spain granted the same status to several Spanish provinces and thus 17 Autonomous Communities were created.

    However, because the Spanish state was still deeply rooted in Franco’s regime Catalonia was not able to negotiate a fair deal. The proof was the military coup from 1983 which had the immediate consequence of rolling back a great deal of Catalonia’s self government.

    The Spanish Autonomous Communities have been for the last 3 decades a source of political corruption and overspending. Ruled by the same parties that have led Spain to this deep crisis.

    Now with the excuse that these Autonomous Communities have overspent Spain attempts also to roll Catalan self government back.

  • The Catalan Statute of Autonomy

    In 2006 Catalan citizens voted in a referendum for a new Statute of Autonomy that would grant a slightly fairer relationship with Spain, including an equal status for Catalan and Spanish languages. The core aspects of this statute were declared inconstitutional and rejected by a highly politicized Spanish Constitutional Court.

    As a consequence of this the Catalan education system is also threatened. An internationally praised system which guarantees that children are fluent in both Catalan and Spanish, therefore avoiding discrimination to everyone regardless of their origins, was also declared inconstitutional.

    Catalan speaking TV channels have been closed down in the Valencian Country and Balearic Islands in order to erode the share of the already weakened Catalan language, which suffers under the pressure of the Spanish language without the protection of a friendly state.

  • Hatred against Catalonia

    Catalanophobia, or antiCatalan hatred and xenophobia is regularly used by Spanish politicians and media and is ingrained in the Spanish collective consciousness. It is also instigated regularly in the social networks with no action taken by the Spanish authorities to tackle it.

    Regularly we have samples of abuse, violence, military threats and aggression towards Catalonia and Catalan people just for being what they are. (more examples, here and here)

  • Financial situation

    Spain is not a federal country. 95% of taxes are collected by the Spanish Government and there is no control mechanism which regulates how they are redistributed. There is no transparency either.

    As a result of this Catalonia suffers an unparalleled fiscal plundering by Spain, around 40% of taxes Catalans pay Madrid never come back. This amounts to approximately 8% of Catalonia’s GDP or 16 billion euros every year.

    The Generalitat, the Catalan Government, only has decision power to spend, not to collect taxes. Even though it manages the most expensive services States provide (education, healthcare, police and firemen, amongst others).

    The population of Catalonia has increased by about a million people in the last 10 years. Being now roughly 7.5 million. Because of this the spenditure needs have increased.

    No economy is sustainable if it is drained 8% of its resources every year. This is the main cause of the current indebtment of 40 billion euros of the Catalan Government.

    By starving it of its resources the Spanish government have forced Catalonia to request a bailout and are trying to use it as an excuse to roll its self government back.

    This bailout would not have been necessary had Catalonia had the tools to manage its own resources, since it is a net contributor to the Spanish finances.

  • Current situation

    However, all the violence and repression exerted to dilute its personality and culture these last 3 centuries have not succeeded.

    Catalan is today a vibrant culture and the language number 13 in Europe. However, it is not one of its 23 official european languages by decision of Spain, which blocks it.

    Catalan is not official in Spain either, in the Catalan countries under Spanish rule (Valencian Country, Balearic Islands and Catalonia) it is only co-oficial and even though it is the only language native to Catalonia it enjoys a lower legal status than Spanish.

  • Referendum

    Catalans want to democratically express the right to self determination, which Spain doesn’t allow.

    For the last two years all serious polls made by newspapers, universities and official institutions reveal that an overwhelming majority of Catalans would vote for Catalonia to become a new European state. The latest official poll shows the following distribution of votes: 51% yes, 21% no, 21% undecided (CA).

    Catalonia has the same right as any other nation to democratically decide its future. We are not better than any other European country, but no less either.

  • The Catalan Republic

    Spain is a bad business for Catalonia. It denies our culture, identity and drains us from our resources. We have tried everything. It has been proven that staying in Spain is a completely non viable option to fulfill our national aspiration to be a normal country.

    The only thing we haven’t been able to try in 300 years is to have our own state. And right now it seems the only reasonable choice.

    The future Catalan State will be a serious and solvent country in the Southern European area with a strong, exports oriented and diversified economy. It will be a net contributor to the European Union and will contribute to Europe’s stability thus making it stronger.

    We want the right to make our own mistakes, and to enjoy our successes.

    To have a place next to all the other nations of the world. For our voice to be heard.

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.

Doncs jo espero que el Govern no vagi a la manifestació de l’11S

Llegeixo estupefacte que els membres del govern es plantejen anar a la manifestació. Jo espero que no hi vagin. Perquè si no hi van pot ser per dos motius:

  1. Que no comparteixen el lema de la manifestació “Catalunya nou estat d’europa”, molt legítim, ells van anar a les eleccions defensant això del pacte fiscal i el poble els va elegir. Res a dir. (Podríem parlar sobre com en les actuals circumstàncies ningú discutiria que llencessin el guió per la finestra però això seria esperar massa)
  2. Que comparteixen l’objectiu i estan planificant la transició cap a l’estat propi des dels seus depatxos. (Ho dubto, encara que m’encantaria equivocar-me)

Però si hi van aleshores només vol dir una cosa. Que no saben ni qui són ni a qui representen.

Com que jo no podré ser-hi (ara mateix visc a Anglaterra) si algú es troba cap membre del govern a la manifestació del dia 11 li podeu si us plau preguntar de part meva: “Si vosté és aquí vol dir que comparteix el lema de la manifestació. Aleshores, em pot si us plau explicar què fa aquí i no al seu lloc de treball planificant la transició? I si no pot amb la responsibilitat aleshores dimiteixin o convoquin eleccions demà mateix”

És preocupant que l’únic estudi amb cara i ulls de les accions a prendre per a assolir la independència de Catalunya fins ara l’hagi hagut de fer el Cercle Català de Negocis i no el Govern.

En tot cas. La meva enhorabona al CCN. Esteu fent una feina molt important.

Ja n’hi ha prou d’inconcreció. O es vol la independència o no es vol. I si es vol el que no es pot fer és anar a una manifestació a demanar-la com si no fossis membre del Govern i la cosa no anés amb tu. Una mica de serietat, si us plau, que la situació és greu.

From a european crisis to a more united Europe

Europe in a moment of major crisis. Crisis means opportunity. At the end of this crisis Europe should become (if it wants to still be relevant internationally) a real federation of nations.

One of the biggest obstacles for this are the state nations (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, ) which were created around the 18th century. Those were times of expansion, colonization and protectionism but nowadays we should move towards a federal Europe of the nations. The european nations must become a part of something bigger. I do believe that feeling European citizenship before being, in my case, Catalan is what we should aim for.

This process has already started, on one hand the current crisis has been caused by creating a currency union without a fiscal and political union, because the fear of nationalistic states to give up control. The imbalances between the different economical cycles without the tools to correct them through a unified fiscal policy is one of the crisis of the southern european countries.

Secondly, there is also, the north and south crisis. The northern countries, understandably, don’t want to keep subsidizing the south and have setup firewalls. The south must change its ways, tackle corruption and a different approach to working ethics.

Finally, the internal expansion. Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders, Wales, Euskadi, are some of the european nations still trapped within the borders of the old medieval state-nations. These nations need their voice to be heard in equal rights with all the other European nations. Without them Europe is not complete. And by allowing their voice to be heard Europe will show democratic respect to all cultures and nations within it. Internal expansion must become just as normal as divorce is now in civil law.

This will be the challenge of our time, to implement all these changes. To become Europeans before Catalan, French or German but still maintaining our culture and identity. If we can achieve this Europe will be in a position to be decisive power in the world and to influence. Otherwise a fragmented Europe will become irrelevant and impoverished.

I like the European lifestyle. Europeans have fought for centuries to achieve social advances and people’s rights and in my experience it is the continent in which people have the best chance of achieving a good standard of living. The model is not perfect, it is also very uneven depending on the country and is certainly threatened by the current crisis but is one to be taken into account.

To save it we must move forward. Towards a more fair society. We have to prove that this model is sustainable. I believe in Europe. Will Europeans be able to drop their nationalistic prejudices and become a united Europe?

No em crec això d’Eurovegas

Acabo d’enviar el següent text al President Mas per a explicar-li que no em puc creure el que llegeixo sobre com el Govern està a favor d’aquest complex d’oci.

Si voleu enviar un missatge al President ho podeu fer a la seva web:

http://www.president.cat/pres_gov/president/ca/president-mas/contactar.html

“Molt Honorable President Mas,

Últimament plouen les notícies sobre com el seu govern s’està implicant força a donar suport a un projecte per a portar un complexe d’oci de l’estil de Las Vegas a Barcelona. Però jo no m’ho crec. No m’ho crec perquè el seu partit defensa un model de turisme de qualitat per al nostre país. Perquè vosté mateix ha afirmat que Catalunya ha de ser la Massachusetts del Mediterrani o la Holanda del Sud, i que nosaltres som un país seriós. I això no encaixa amb Las Vegas.

No em crec que vulguin portar Eurovegas a Catalunya perquè sembla ser que el projecte espera trobar dos terços del finançament del projecte per bancs locals. Vol dir això que els diners del futur rescat europeu anirien a parar a finançar Eurovegas? Vol dir que és la millor manera d’emprar aquests diners?

No m’ho crec perquè amb els diners que costa aquest complex es poden crear moltes empreses d’alt valor afegit o impulsar les ja existents mitjançant excempcions o rebaixes fiscals que les permetin crèixer i ser competitives a escala global. Estic segur que el seu govern n’és conscient.

No em crec que es plantegin autoritzar Eurovegas perquè s’haurien d’adaptar lleis antitabac, lleis urbanístiques, lleis fiscals i de treball especialment per a aquest projecte. Des de quan un país s’adapta a una empresa? no hauria de ser al revés?

I perquè no em crec que es vulgui tirar endavant un projecte que associarà Barcelona i Catalunya per sempre més amb oci i joc tipus Las Vegas i tot el que això comportarà.

Perquè no crec que crear una quantitat encara indefinida de llocs de treball de baixa qualificació i baixa remuneració és una raó prou poderosa com per a decantar el gir estratègic de país que la creació d’aquest complexe suposaria. Economia de turisme low cost en comptes de economia basada en el coneixement i amb un turisme respectuós amb l’entorn.

Catalunya és un pais petit, no com els Estats Units, que es poden permetre tenir una Nevada i un Massachusetts. Nosaltres hem d’escollir.

Perquè no em crec que a aquestes alçades vuilguin tirar endavant un projecte que potencialment afavorirà el sector de la construcció després de la bombolla immobiliària que encara s’està desinflant. En comptes de definitivament girar fulla i posar rumb cap a un país d’empreses d’alt valor afegit i sostenibilitat.

Per tot això no em puc creure que el seu govern estigui a favor d’aquest projecte.”