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Main events from October 2013 to September 2014

Main events from October 2013 to September 2014
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  • September 2014. The Catalan Parliament adopted with a comfortable majority a Law on Popular Ballots other than Referendums, a competence laid down in the Statute of Autonomy. However, the text was not published in the official journal for some days, as the Catalan government knew full well the Spanish government would challenge it before the constitutional Court and use its powers to block the application of the new Act. So President Mas waited until just before a weekend to publish both the Act and the decree calling the 9 November ballot. In a race against each other both governments acted over the weekend. See http://miquelstrubell.blogspot.com/2014/09/process.html 
  • 11 September 2014 (Catalonia's National Day). There were two demonstrations, one in Barcelona and the other in Tarragona. The first brought together as many as 1·8 million Catalans who want Catalonia to become the next independent State of Europe. It occupied 11 km of the two main avenues in Barcelona, forming a vast Catalan yellow flag with red stripes, made by people enrolling, wearing tee-shirts and taking up their designated places.  Below, video of the demonstrration as seen from the air (5'48")
  • 11 July 2014. Author: Rob Page, of the International Affairs and Defence Section of the UK House of Commons Library, issued a 7-page note (ref. SN06933) on the "Debate on possible independence of Catalonia: key issues". The document, which perhaps surprisingly makes no reference to the existence or role of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, can be downloaded here: http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06933.pdf
  • July 2014. A paper by Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, professor of European and human rights law at Oxford University, has been widely reported in the Catalan press: "(How easily) could an independent Scotland join the EU?"  Legal Research Paper Series, Paper No. XXX/2014, July 2014. "This paper maintains that despite assertions to the contrary from UK lawyers, EU lawyers and EU officials, any future independent Scotland’s EU membership should be assured, and its transition from EU membership qua part of the UK, to EU membership qua independent Scotland relatively smooth and straightforward". Her 25-page paper can be downloaded here: http://gallery.mailchimp.com/3d8f589fda4fb7526a70254d4/files/e3c82843-2a9f-41af-a4e3-de3eeec55737.pdf

  • In April 2014 a new "Unionist" oganisation, "Societat Civil Catalana", was publicly launched in Barcelona. 
  • On March 25 2014 the Constitutional Court issued its Decision on the Catalan Parliament's Declaration of Sovereignty and the Right to Decide" of January 23 2013. The judgment, which only partially ratifies the Spanish government's objections, can be downloaded here: http://www.vilaweb.cat/media/continguts/000/079/510/510.pdf
  • The regular "Òmnibus de la Generalitat de Catalunya" survey for 2013-2 (REO 738) was published in mid-March 2014 (Sample = 1,600). We have chosen the answers to three items:
    26. Tell me to that extent you agree or disagree with the following statements ... c. The best way of finding out what the citizens want as regards the political future of Catalonia is by means of a referendum       
    Complete agreement ................. 49·4%     
    Partial agreement ..................... 24·6%
    Partial disagreement .................. 10·8%
    Complete disagreemently against ... 11·6% 
    Don't know ............................... 3·1% 
    No reply .................................. 1·3%  
    31. Are you completely in favour, rather in favour, rather against or completely against Catalonia becoming a new State of Europe in the coming years?       
    Completely in favour .... 40·2%      
    Rather in favour .......... 19·5%      
    Rather against ............ 10·8%      
    Completely against ...... 18·9%      
    Don't know ................. 6·8%      
    No reply .................... 3·9%  
    33. If a referendum were to be held in Catalonia to decide whether to become a new State of Europe, would or would you not accept the final result, whatever it might be?      
    Yes, I would accept the result .....   87·3%      
    No, I would not accept the result....  9·3%      
    Don't know .............................. 1·9%      
    No reply ................................. 1·5%  
  • March 17 2014. It was revealed that Archbishop Rouco, chair of the Spanish Bishops' Council, had failed in an attempt to obtain from the Vatican a public condemnation of Catalonia's plans to hold a referendum on independence on November 9, at a tense meeting in Rome, at the end of January, with Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. http://www.esglesiaplural.org/rouco-va-instar-el-vatica-a-oposar-se-al-9-n/
  • February 23 2014. Interview with New Europe, twice Latvian president, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. "Latvia’s European future", by Theodoros Benakis.
  • Q: In the autumn, we will have two referendums, one in Scotland and the other in Catalonia. What is your view on this?
  • A: "...it’s the human point of view of the identity of people and how they identify with a nation state. If at some point they feel that the central government does not represent their interests and that they have an identity that they want to defend, according to the principle of self-determination, one should allow for a referendum because a referendum is an expression of people’s choice and people’s opinion." http://www.neurope.eu/article/latvia%E2%80%99s-european-future

  • February 11 2014. The three main Catalan parties jointly tabled two motions today before the Spanish Parliament, requesting that powers to call a referendum, or poll, on Catalonia's future be transferred from central government to the Catalan Parliament. These motions will be withdrawn unless the debate on the Catalan Parliament's formal request is delayed till the summer. Spain's deputy PM continues to refuse point black to even discuss, let alone negotiate, the issue. http://www.elpuntavui.cat/noticia/article/3-politica/17-politica/716346-cami-iniciat-per-al-1502.html
  • January 29 2014. The Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales (FAES), which is the Partido Popular's foundation, publiushed a glossy 81-page book, "20 preguntas con respuestas sobre la secesión de Cataluña". A Catalan-language edition was also published. With surprising candidness, the Foundation confesses that the publication is an "Actividad subvencionada por el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte" (an activity subsidised by the [Spanish] Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport); this (mis)use of public funds, in other democratic countries would probably have ended up in the courts! It can be downloaded here: http://www.fundacionfaes.org/file_upload/news/pdfs/20140130114920.pdf

  • January 27 2014. A progressive retired army colonel, Amadeo Martínez Inglés, who in the past has defended Catalonia's right to decide its own future, claimed in a letter to have inside knowledge about an army plan, fully endorsed by the Spanish Prime minister, to occupy Barcelona on or before October 20 2014, if Catalonia's plans to hold the November 9 are not aborted. More information on "Operación Estela" (Catalan): http://dades.grupnaciodigital.com/redaccio/arxius/documents/1390843207Operacion_Estela.pdf

  • December 14 2013. Spain's Catholic Bishops' Council (CEE) says Catalonia's referendum is "immoral".
The Catholic Bishops' Council (CEE) considers the referendum on agreed by CiU, ERC and ICV CUP as "immoral" and "unacceptable." In a declaration made to Servimedia by Gil Tamayo, secretary general of the EEC, the agreement of the parties defending sefl-determinination is seen as "morally unacceptable" because it "jeopardizes the unity of Spain".

"To jeopardize the coexistence of Spaniards, by denying Spain's sovereignty unilaterally, without regarding the serious consequences that this negation can have would not be prudent or morally acceptable," said Gil Tamayo, adding that "to aim to unilaterally alter this legal framework as a function of a given desire for local or any other kind of power is unacceptable." The spokesman also said that the Spanish bishops have several times appealed to the "preservation of unity as a common good shared by all."  

  • 12 December 2013. Catalonia sets date for independence referendum, but Madrid vows to block it. "Catalan parties agree wording of proposed November 2014 referendum but Spanish government says it will not allow vote.  Separatist parties in Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region on Thursday agreed the wording of an independence referendum proposed for November 2014 but the Spanish government immediately said the vote was illegal and would not happen. The Catalan regional government head, Artur Mas, said the vote would ask two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to be a state?" and: "Do you want that state to be independent?""

Photograph: J.R. El Punt Avui.

  • 8 November 2013. Amadeu Altafaj, deputy head of gabinet of the Commission’s vicepresident for Economic Affairs Olli Reh, said that the European Commission will not issue any official position on Catalonia's possible independence until a Member state asks for it. ("Amadeu Altafaj, sobre Catalunya a la UE: “S'ha de traduir el 'som i serem' en 'hi som i hi serem'". Ara, http://www.ara.cat/politica/Altafaj-Catalunya-UE_0_1025897637.html
  • October 29 2013. Spanish and Catalan Socialists split again in the Congress vote against the right to decide. 
"I did not want to upset you", Rosa Díez (UPyD) told a PSOE MP in the hallway. "The problem is that we already are in a fix," replied the socialist MP. Rosa Díez said UPyD did not intend to hurt the other groups, but wanted to get Congress to make a firm and solemn stance against the right to decide and the plans of Catalonia sovereigntist Artur Mas. And with 265 MPs, UPyD, PP, PSOE, UPN and Forum Asturias eventually adopted the motion. But the Socialist Group went through a rough day again, with a division of votes in their ranks, because the PSC MPs broke the whip and abstained. (El País, http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/10/29/actualidad/1383079556_461119.html)

See also http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2013/10/29/526fe2f061fd3d223f8b4577.html

  • 8 October 2013. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, said that solutions could be found for an independent Catalonia.  
("Una Catalunya independiente en la UE se podría resolver "de manera más relajada". El eurocomisario de Política Regional, el austriaco Johannes Hahn, afirma que "es una cuestión a explorar más detalladamente"."  http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20131008/54388587546/catalunya-independiente-ue-resolver-relajada.html)

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