|Message on self determination decree|
The President of the Catalan Government gave an institutional speech after having signed the decree. The speech was mostly in Catalan, although a part was also in Spanish in order to sent a message to all the Spanish citizens, insisting that Catalonia’s self-determination process does not go against anyone but that it aims to build a better future and to keep the manifold fraternity bonds with Spaniards. In addition, a last part of the speech was in English, in order to send a direct message to the international community and, particularly, to the European Union institutions and Member State governments.
“I have just signed the executive decree that will make it possible for all Catalans to voice their opinions on the political future we want for our country on November 9th.
It has taken the mass mobilization of citizens and many months of work to arrive at this day, a day which we will remember forever. It was November 2012 when the people of Catalonia, through their votes in an election with strong participation, chose a parliamentary majority in favor of their right to decide Catalonia’s political future for themselves – a right we are now preparing to exercise.
Since then, four principles have guided this process: broad social majorities, political consensus, constant search for dialogue and respect for legal frameworks.
- Social majorities, which are the fruit of the massive popular demonstrations [occurring over the past several years] and, above all, of the free and democratic expression of citizens at the ballot box. Social majorities which through their votes elected a Parliament with a wide political majority in favor of the right to decide and to find a political solution for our future, a solution upon which all Catalans must be consulted. This is the way in which democracies express themselves and political projects are born: through voting. It is the responsibility of democrats to not deny reality, to listen to the voice of the citizenry expressed at the ballot box and to carry through with electoral commitments, which are the mandates of that citizenry that we must always seek to fulfill.
- Political consensus which recognizes Catalonia as a nation, as a source of sovereignty that deserves to be consulted on its own future. Political unity to come to an agreement on a date, a question and the legal frameworks to make the consultation possible. Political unity within ideological diversity to build, to generate consensus. Political unity which contrasts with those who are brought together only by the will to deny, to say ‘no’ to everything, to present neither a project nor an alternative. To not do anything, and to not let anything be done. Or even to do everything possible to not let anything be done.
- Constant search for dialogue in order to speak and negotiate. No one will be able to deny that we have extended our hand to dialogue at every moment. We have been open to coming to an agreement on the question, the date and the legal framework. We have been open, and will continue to be open until the last moment, to coming to an agreement on the conditions under which it would be possible to hold the consultation. What we cannot do, however, is fall into the trap of immobility, the trappings of legality, and do nothing at all. What a contrast with those democratic states that let the nations which comprise them voice their opinions and decide their own future! Democratic states that talk and let their people talk; that come to an agreement so that people may vote; and that use the law to listen to their people and not to silence them.
- And finally respect for the legal framework. It is pursuant to the law on consultations approved by the Parliament of Catalonia on September 19th that I sign this decree so that Catalans will be able to voice their opinion on the political future they want for Catalonia. A law that is the result of the exclusive competency on consultations defined by the Statute [of Autonomy of Catalonia] that is currently in force. A constitutional and statutory law which we demand be respected. A law that protects the consultation, that should allow the Generalitat to exercise its rightful legal, political and institutional powers with which it is endowed. What better way to exercise this competency than by hearing the opinion of the people of Catalonia?
I have the honor of being the 129th President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, an institution created in 1359 which, since the first presidency of Berenguer de Cruïlles, has reflected over the course of nearly seven centuries the Catalan people’s desire for self-government. Through those seven centuries, only external impositions have caused the suspension of self-government. Self-government which the will of the Catalan people has always sought to reclaim. Our roots are deep, as is the strength of our feelings and our will to survive in the future. We want to decide, we want to decide our future for ourselves, and we now have the legal framework and are at the right moment to do it.
I would also like to use this solemn moment to deliver a message to all Spanish citizens: Catalonia wants to decide its own political future, peacefully and democratically. The bonds of brotherhood that bring us together with the other peoples of Spain are intense and deep. We have a long history in common, a history that will continue with the desire to construct the Europe of the 21st century together with each other. In a democracy, we must solve the challenges that lie ahead of us with more democracy. It should scare no one that somebody expresses their opinion with a vote at the ballot box. This is our commitment, as this is the mandate that has been given to us by a large majority of Catalans through their votes in the last regional elections. Catalonia wants to talk, it wants to be heard, it wants to vote. The Catalonia that wants to vote is the one that is comprised of seven and a half million people; people of diverse origins, many of them from Spanish lands, and also of diverse languages. This Catalonia, a land of crossings and warm receptions, a land of cultures which over the course of centuries have crossed this corner of the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean Ocean, is the Catalonia that wants to vote. And once Catalonia has expressed itself democratically, we will find the necessary frameworks for dialogue in order to construct the future. A better future for all. That is our desire.
Following the signing of this executive decree calling the consultation, the Government will use all of its powers to make it possible for Catalans to vote. Now is the moment to contrast opinions, ideas and proposals. Now is the moment for each one of us to offer what they believe is best for our collective future and for everyone to say their piece. Now is the moment for each one of us to exercise our individual responsibility at the ballot box, to decide what we think is best for the future, for our future, and for the future of our children and grandchildren.
In this great hour for Catalonia, I would especially like to remember all the generations of men and women that have struggled for our country and have believed in it. Generations of Catalans, Catalans from here and Catalans from elsewhere who have made this their home, who for centuries, decades or only years have made Catalonia a land of democracy, respect, tolerance, wellbeing and harmony.
To those who will not see or experience this great hour for Catalonia, or to those of you who will see it and live it in a different way, this decree is an homage that we make to you to give you our thanks and to tell you that without you, we would not have made it here.
And to all of those Catalans who make up the Catalonia of today and of tomorrow, this decree is the challenge that we put in your hands to decide and construct your own future. Today is the beginning of a new road that will represent a new chapter in the long history of Catalonia.
I trust fully that in the end, all will be well. And I ask all to help in this undertaking.
I would like to convey a message to the european leaders and the european peoples.
Catalonia, my country, is one of the oldest nations of Europe. Nowadays, it is a modern society composed of seven and a half million people, about 70% of them with a non-catalan origin.
As all the nations in the world, Catalonia has the right to decide its political future. This is exactly the message that broad majorities of the catalan people send to the world every year since 2012, by organising hudge peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Barcelona, our main town.
Two years ago, I called early elections. My purpose was to know how large the social majority in favour of the right of selfdetermination was. The turnout was the highest in three decades. The outcome was clear: more than two-thirds of the members of Parliament were in favour of the right to decide.
As a consequence of all that, today I called a consultation on November 9 to know the opinion of the catalan people above 16 about the question on selfdetermination. That question was agreed with the majority of the catalan political forces in December last year.
We stand for democracy, dialogue and peace. We believe that political issues must be resolved by negotiation and civilised attitudes. And we know that democracy is the most civilised way to resolve difficulties between nations. This is our will and our commitment.
Long live Catalonia!”