Puigdemont: What goes for Scotland, goes for Catalonia – Talk to Al Jazeera

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Catalonia is a prosperous region in the northeast of Spain, a state formed by 17 territories and two cities, partially autonomous, governed by the Statute of Autonomy. That’s part of the Spanish constitution which establishes the limits of self-rule for each region.

But Catalonian history dates back to the days before Spain was even a nation.

The Catalonian national identity has survived throughout the centuries, including persecution during the military government of Francisco Franco from 1938 to 1973. At that time, speaking Catalan, or any other language that wasn’t Spanish, was considered a crime.

After Franco, Catalonia recovered its cultural autonomy and partial political control. Catalan was, once again, freely spoken and the Catalonian flag, one of the oldest in Europe, could wave again next to the Spanish one. However, questions of where Catalonia will stand with the European Union should it have the measures of political control it seeks is also in question. The President of the regional government Carles Puigdemont says Catalonia has more than proved itself to the EU.

“Catalonia has always been a region that contributes positively to the European Union, not negatively. Catalonia is a region that represents 2% of European GDP. It’s dynamic with growth of above 3.5% in the last year.”

In recent years, independence sentiments have risen among Catalans. Puigdemont is even calling for a referendum on the issue, despite opposition from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who calls this effort “unconstitutional”. As a matter of fact, Spain refuses to discuss the matter altogether.

“We haven’t started because Spain doesn’t want to negotiate. In Madrid there are all manners of opinion. Some believe it is not constitutional… it is perfectly constitutional to ask the question. There is a legal channel by which to ask in Catalonia. It’s a matter of political will,” says Puigdemont.

What does Catalonia hope to achieve through this referendum and what does it mean for the future of Catalonia? Carles Puigdemont, President of Catalonia, talks to Al Jazeera.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Vamos a contar mentiras tralala. La conductora ha hecho muchas preguntas muy buenas pero @krls no ha podido responder nada claro. Porque? Porque 'Proces' es una mentira que sirve para ocultar problemas internas de los politicos. Si realmente les interesara al bienestar de todos los catalanes y otras comunidades trabajarian para mejorar sanidad educacion empleo ambiental y seguridad de la sociedad. Pero. No! Quejarse y echar la culpa a los demás es la mas rentable para sus fines politicos. En unos años sabremos varias tramas de corrupción para financiar el Proces y enriquecer a unos cuantos de la pandilla a costa de los ciudadanos mas necesitados. Muy triste de ver el teatro de Kabuki dia tras dia. La identidad 'nacional' de cataluña mucho antes de que España existiera es otra mentira. Es una historia fabricada reciente para justificar el Proces. Y a base de repetirse y publicar en Internet la gran mayoria de los separatistas llegan a creerlo. Es otra Post Verdad. Cada mañana @krls levanta canta: Vamos a contar mentiras trala la. Al cabo de un tiempo ya no parecen tan mentiras. Oye. A lo mejor, todo esto es pura verdad?? Hay recuperar la nacion perdida!! Y va a la Generalidad para que le pague por solo aparecer. Nunca ha sabido trabajar y quedarse tarde en la oficina para preocupar y resolver problemas reales que afectan millones de ciudadanos. Solo imagínate!

  2. It is sad to claim that 1496 Catalonia was a 'principado' with their government? It is a POST TRUTH like most of the points that Puigdemont is making in the interview. There was no such thing known as 'Catalunya principat'. This is a recent invention for a glorified history that never existed. The reason of seeking the independence boils down to having 'political problems' with Spain. What are these political problems? The problems can be and should be resolved within the legal context. In November 2015, Arthur Mas has already organized a 'referendum' but the result was 'NO' to independence. Puigdemont is now dodging to organize an 'official' referendum for the same questions in September 2017? It will not happen unless the spanish constitution is changed for allowing to self destruct its territory. Frankly we want to see Puigdemont working on people's issues: employment, security, education, housing, transportation, and health-care. I am traveling to Barcelona in May/2017 to enjoy my Country. I love it and nobody even Puigdemont or any member of the Pujol's family will take away any part of 'my' territory. It will not happen.

  3. Same broken record, no surprises. Democracy implies repect for the law of the land above all and not your own interpretation of it, that is why some of his high ranking regional government officials were prosecuted by the Supreme Court in the past few months.
    What the spanish constitution says in terms of territorial sovereignty and to whom concerns any decision making over its ammendment has no room for interpretation. why is he trying to lecture us on democracy everytime he's got a chance when he doesn't even understand the basic concepts of democracy and its mechanism.
    My own interpretation of this is that his government and political party are looking to differ attention from serious political corruption cases and not better attempt than trying to become a political disorganizer targeting and threatening political stability, that is why upon direct questions about legal implications and law abiding he turns into teleprompter mode continuously throwing words like democracy, right to vote, etc…that is, empty arguments.
    And please, stop comparing Spain to Scotland as if it were a similar case, we come from very different traditions and historical facts and most importantly, Spain has a written constitution voted by the vast majority of the spanish people and stablishes its own mechanism for its own ammendments, the UK does not.

  4. I am pro Catalan but this chap is in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks they will stay in the EU.
    He is deluded. Every nation with its own potential breakaway region will veto their admission.

  5. I've always wondered what Catalan sounded like. It's closer to Spanish than I thought it would be — I could follow it quite well with the help of the subtitles. I thought Mr. Puigdemont handled the interview very well, and I thought it quite appropriate that he conducted it in his native language, (assuming he does, indeed, speak fluent English). I anticipate a similar interview with a spokesperson from the opposing camp.

  6. Mr. Carles Puigdemont is a very funny person.
    He doesn't speak English, and he was the director of a "newspaper" written in English: Catalonia Today.
    Probably that is a world récord: being director of a newspaper you don't speak.
    He is now the president of Catalonia, and it happens he was the third in the electoral list of his coalition in one of the four Catalonian provinces.
    Before being president, he was the mayor of a town called Gerona. When he resigned to became president, he chose the number 19 of the list of his party as his successor as mayor of that town.

  7. Is that the Catalan language? I've never heard it before. There's something about it that reminds me of Brazilian Portuguese (like how German sounds muted compared to Dutch but it's the same roots). Fascinating. 👩🏻

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