Thursday, November 20, 2014

Catalan President Artur Mas offers to meet Rajoy during his visit to Barcelona

Furthermore, the Catalan Executive regrets that the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has not made any political proposal in his answer to the letter sent by the Catalan President, Artur Mas, after November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. On Monday evening, Rajoy answered Mas’ letter and highlighted
Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy
and Catalan President Mas (stock photo)
that Spain’s “sovereignty” cannot be negotiated, therefore rejecting the possibility of any discussion about a mutually-agreed referendum on Catalonia’s independence. Coinciding with Rajoy’s trip to Barcelona, scheduled on November 29, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, stated on Tuesday that Mas “would be delighted to welcome Rajoy at the Generalitat Palace”. Rajoy “has the doors open” to talk with Mas about the demands of Catalonia’s society. However, Homs also warned the Spanish PM that such dialogue should not become “a monologue”. On top of this, he asked Rajoy to start recognising “the historical mistake” he made by collecting signatures against Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, back in 2005 and 2006.


On Monday evening Rajoy answered the letter sent a week earlier by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas. The Catalan President had asked Rajoy to set “the conditions for a permanent dialogue” and to discuss a mutually-agreed referendum on Catalonia’s independence. Such a vote should be “the definitive referendum” after the symbolic citizen participation process that took place on November 9, according to Mas. Such a letter might be the last formal offer to hold talks before Mas calls for early elections to the Catalan Parliament that are likely to become a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

However, as was somehow expected, Rajoy refused to have any discussion about Catalonia’s self-determination demands. The Spanish Prime Minister is insisting on his restrictive interpretation of the Constitution and he also refuses to talk about how to explicitly include the right to self-determination in a hypothetical Constitutional Reform. In fact, Rajoy has been repeating over the last few months that he is rejecting such a reform, which is therefore blocked taking into account the absolute majority at the Spanish Parliament that the governing People’s Party (PP) holds. Rajoy’s only reaction after November 9’s vote, which was covered by the world’s main media outlets, was to insist the vote was “illegal” and to point out potential legal consequences. In fact, the Public Prosecution Office, whose Director is appointed by Rajoy and reports to the Spanish Justice Minister, is about to file a complaint against the Catalan President over the vote, despite the Catalonia-based prosecutors having not found enough legal basis for such a judicial process. In addition, Rajoy also announced this weekend that he will travel to Barcelona on November 29, 20 days after the vote, “to better explain” himself and tell Catalans “why they should stay within the Eurozone”, implicitly suggesting that independence would result in.an automatic expulsion from the common currency system.

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