Puigdemont: “Catalonia would like to follow Scotland’s path, but in Spain there is no one willing to negotiate”

Article published at Catalan News Agency, May 12th, 2016

Photo: Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, shaking hands after sharing their views in a radio show in London (by ACN)

London (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, praised “Scotland’s know-how in terms of organising referendums” and assured that Catalonia would like to conduct its pro-independence process “in the Scottish way” but lamented that Spain “is not the United Kingdom” and therefore “it is hard to negotiate if there is no one at the other end of the table”. He made this statement during a face-to-face interview with former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, on the radio programme ‘El Balcó’, from Cadena SER radio, broadcast from London. For his part, Salmond insisted that “it is not for Scotland to instruct Catalonia on the specific techniques to follow” in order to achieve their purposes but emphasised that “ballot boxes and democracy will prevail” and “the opportunity shall arise”. Puigdemont will be in London until this Friday and one of his visit’s highlights will be the conference ‘Mapping a Path Towards Catalan Independence’, to be held at Chatham House, one of the most important think tanks in the world.

During the face-to-face interview, both leaders were convinced that they will see an independent Catalonia and Scotland within their lifetime. “Does anybody think that only because the Spanish state is not willing to sit down and negotiate, the people of Catalonia, who have held great demonstrations in recent years, will simply go home and give up on their pro-independence claims?” asked Puigdemont rhetorically.

“We are not doing this unilaterally”, he stated “we constantly call for the Spanish state and the European Union to negotiate”. In this sense, he assured that “those who don’t want to sit at the negotiation table” are those who “should be asked about where they think their positions are heading to”. Puigdemont agreed with Salmond on the need to reach agreements and generate consensus in order to achieve independence.

“We have always said that we would like to follow Scotland’s path”, he admitted “we really praise Scotland’s know-how in terms of organising referendums, but for us to be like Scotland, Spain would have to act like the UK and this is not that likely to happen”,  lamented Puigdemont.

Salmond: “The opportunity shall arise”

“I know how difficult it is to establish this process, it was very difficult for Scotland as well”, stated Salmond, but assured that “at some point democracy prevails, an agreement is reached and the opportunity presents itself”. “The art of politics is to be ready when this moment would arise and seize the opportunity” he stated, emphasising the idea that “consent is the correct way”. 

Although he outlined that “it is not for Scotland to say how Catalonia should approach its business” nor “instruct them on which specific techniques should be followed to achieve the purposes”, he admitted to being “sympathetic” towards the Catalan process. However, “every nation should find its own route”, insisted the former Scottish First Minister.

The role of the international community

Both leaders referred to the fitting of a potential independent Catalonia and Scotland within the EU and both coincided in their position. “We are already in the EU”, stated Puigdemont, “there’s no point in threatening us with a potential expulsion”. 

“The international community, such as the United Nations and other respectable institutions, should emphasise that ballot boxes prevail, that democracy, the right of self-determination, freedom of speech and to decide, they all have to be respected”, pointed out Salmond. “Those movements which behave in a democratic and peaceful way are entitled to respect, especially in the world of today which is troubled and full of violence and terror”, he stated. “When a movement deploys itself through the ballot boxes it is a good lesson to be deployed elsewhere.” 

The former Scottish First Minister also referred to the campaign which was being promoted by the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, before the Scottish referendum. “Cameron was begging for the President of the United States’ support, for the First Minister of Australia’s and even for the Spanish President’s in order to get as much support as possible”, he admitted. “However, these interventions don’t decide a referendum: a referendum is decided by the people’s feelings, the quality of the arguments and the aspirations and beliefs that people have”, he concluded.

Read the full article here.

3 responses to “Puigdemont: “Catalonia would like to follow Scotland’s path, but in Spain there is no one willing to negotiate”

  1. Hi. Comparing Catalonia and Scotland is not fair. Catalonia is Spain from the very beginning of our History. We have different constitutions and different backgrounds that have nothing to do with UK. Catalan separatiar elites are strong, rich ans manages a lot of power. Catalan separatist media had 40 years throwing propaganda. Catalunya had a big political power within Spain but they pretend as if they were forced. I invite you to be independent and read multiple sources. Thanks for the post.

    • You say that Catalonia is Spain from the very beginning of your history. That’s right. It is part of Spain from the beginning of SPAIN’s history. Spain was formed after conquering the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon (Before it was Castilian history).

      Catalonia has not been part of Spain since it’s history beginning. Catalonia was independent even before being part of the Kingdom of Aragon, which was formed on 1035. The Kingdom of Aragón gave the name to the Crown of Aragon, born in 1150 with the dynastic union resulting from the marriage of the Queen of Aragon (Petronilla of Aragon) and the Count of Barcelona (Ramon Berenguer IV); their son Alfonso II would inherit all different territories in the House of Aragon and the House of Barcelona. The King of Aragon had also the title of Count of Barcelona and ruled territories that consisted of not only the present administrative region of Aragon but also Catalonia, and later the kingdoms of Majorca, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia. The Crown of Aragon became a part of the Spanish monarchy after the dynastic union with Castile, which supposed the de facto unification of both kingdoms under a common monarch. In 1412, after the extinction in 1410 of the house of Barcelona, which had ruled the crown up to that date, the Aragonese procured the election of a Castilian prince, Ferdinand of Antequera, for the vacant Aragonese throne, over strong Catalan opposition. One of Ferdinand’s successors, John II of Aragon (1458–79), countered residual Catalan resistance by arranging for his heir, Ferdinand, to marry Isabella, the heiress of Henry IV of Castile. In 1479, upon John II’s death, the crowns of Aragon and Castile were united to form the nucleus of modern Spain. The Aragonese lands, however, retained autonomous parliamentary and administrative institutions, such as the Corts, until the Nueva Planta decrees, promulgated between 1707 and 1715 by Philip V of Spain in the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession, finally put an end to it. The decrees ended the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia and Mallorca and the Principality of Catalonia, and merged them with Castile to officially form the Spanish kingdom. A new Nueva Planta decree in 1711 restored some rights in Aragon, such as the Aragonese Civil Rights, but preserved the end of the political independence of the kingdom. The Nueva Planta decrees (Spanish: Decretos de Nueva Planta, Catalan: Decrets de Nova Planta) were a number of decrees signed between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V—the first Bourbon King of Spain—during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession by the Treaty of Utrecht.

      Angered by what he saw as sedition by the Catalans and taking his native France as a model of a centralized state, Philip V suppressed the institutions, privileges, and the ancient charters of almost all the areas that were formerly part of the Crown of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands). The decrees ruled that all the territories in the Crown of Aragon except the Aran Valley were to be ruled by the laws of Castile, embedding these regions in a new, and nearly uniformly administered, centralized Spain. The decrees effectively created a Spanish citizenship or nationality, that judicially did not distinguish between Castillian and Aragonese anymore, both with respect to rights and law. Philip of Bourbon won the war of the Spanish Succession and imposed unification policies over the Crown of Aragon, which had supported the claim of Charles of Austria. These acts constituted the first successful realization of Spain as a centralized state.

      • Thanks for your answer. I appreciate your willingness to share points of view. I’m agree with most of what you said with some blur points. But if you check the history of Germany or Italy you will find similar backgrounds. The important thing is that we are a country but our constitution defends the cultures and languages of each part. France does not recognises that in his “ancient” territories and they are not willing to separate. Is this better for you?. Spain today is a strong democracy and we all pursue to improve it, excepting the nationalist minorities that are using pseudo-democratic tools to create holes. This is what I perceive as not fair. The worldwide community says that there are not any attack against human rights but the separatists spend all their energy blaming about Spain. This is an unfair game from my point of view. Regards.

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