Tuesday

21st Aug 2018

Catalonia to press ahead with referendum after Scottish No

  • Artur Mas: 'It’s a very pwoerful message that the UK is sending to the entire world' (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

Catalan leader Artur Mas has said the Scottish referendum has reinforced his plan to hold a similar vote at home.

Speaking in Barcelona on Friday (19 September), he noted that the devolved Catalan parliament is likely to pass a law on the referendum later the same day.

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“I will sign the decree on this consultation in Catalonia. In fact, I will call this consultation on 9 November as agreed some months ago with the majority of Catalan political forces”.

He said he would have preferred it if Scotland had voted Yes.

But he added: “I am happy, not because of the result of the referendum, but because there was one … I am very happy because we have a precedent in the European Union, a very powerful precedent, that these kind of differences can be resolved through a referendum”.

“It’s a very powerful message that the UK is sending to the entire world”.

For his part, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier the same day welcomed the No vote.

He said Scotland had opted for “security” instead of “segregation” and had acted “with scrupulous respect for the legality of its country”.

The reference to “legality” comes amid Madrid’s warning that the Catalan vote is unconstitutional.

If Mas signs the local law into force, Rajoy is expected to call an emergency cabinet meeting over the weekend and to seek a constitutional court opinion as early as Monday.

Mas in his press conference warned Rajoy not to block the process, however.

“If in Madrid they think that only using the legal framework they can stop the political will of the majority of Catalonian people, they are wrong. It’s a big mistake”, he said.

“Is it possible to block a referendum? Maybe. But a real democrat would refuse to do [so]”.

Mas noted that leaders of big EU countries and EU institutions do not want to see the British precedent stimulate similar votes in other parts of Europe.

But he said that if Scotland had said Yes, they would have made a deal.

“Probably these leaders don’t like independence processes, but they accept the results [of referendums]”, he said.

With the Catalan “consultation”, unlike the Scottish vote, to have a non-binding status in legal terms, he added: “We would not have independence the next day. We would have to speak, to negotiate with Spanish institutions and with the EU”.

“It’s all about negotiations, finding compromises which are good for everyone, including, of course, Spain”.

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Breaking up is hard to do

For a frenzied 72 hours of campaigning, the future of the United Kingdom was under threat. The 300 year old settlement binding together Scotland and England in danger of being torn up.

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