· During an interview with journalist Xavier Bosch for the programme Àgora on TV3, Artur Mas argued that “in the end it is the legal framework that has to adjust itself to the existing majorities and to democracy when it is exercised in a pacific, constructive and harmonious way”
· The Head of Government expressed the wish that “the Spanish state will approach this process in a democratic manner, as Catalonia is doing”
The Catalan president, Artur Mas, assured last night that the road of Catalonia towards self-determination “does not seek a break or rupture with Spain, nor open battles or goodbyes to Spain”, but merely a process “that allows us to discuss matters on equal terms”.
During an interview with the programme Àgora at TV3, directed and presented by Xavier Bosch, the head of government pointed out that in the case that Catalonia were to achieve a state of its own, “it would not turn its back on Spain”, but insisted that “we have never been on an equal footing, and if one day we are, I’m convinced that this will improve Catalonia’s situation as well as its relation with Spain”.
At various points during the interview, President Mas observed that in order to carry out this process “we need very clear majorities” because “the Spanish state can pass any law it likes and use the Constitution as an insurmountable barrier”, but if the Catalan population wants to go ahead by a large majority “no one will be able to prevent the democratic expression of a people, nor annul their feelings or take away their hopes, dreams and plans for the future”.
In response to a question regarding the possible financial asphyxiation of Catalonia by the Spanish government, the President stated that “I hope we will not get to this point”, but he warned that “the worse the reactions are, the more people in Catalonia will arrive at the conclusion that this is a dead-end street”. “My hope is that the Spanish state will approach this process in a democratic manner, as Catalonia is doing, because dialogue is the best way to understanding”.
Artur Mas reiterated his wish to hold a referendum that respects existing regulations, but asserted nevertheless that “in the end it is the legal framework that has to adjust itself to the existing majorities and to democracy when it is exercised in a pacific, constructive and harmonious way”. He further reminded that “there are numerous international and European treaties, some of them signed by Spain, that give support to democratic processes like this under the present circumstances”.
In this respect he observed that if Catalonia shows that its national ambitions are impossible to realize under the present circumstances “and the international community is made aware of this, and there is a solid majority, nothing will be easy, but everything will be possible”.
The President showed himself “enthusiastic and passionate about the process we are going through”, in which he claimed to take part “serenely and without fear, but very much aware of reality”. He also said that he did not feel he has to carry on the process alone “because I see that people are full of hope of recovering the country’s dignity”.
Within the EU and the eurozone
Regarding the opinion that an independent Catalonia would have to leave the European Union and abandon the Euro, the President observed that “no one can speak on behalf of the EU”. In this sense, he reminded that the vice-president of the EU, Viviane Reding, stated that “this is a domestic matter of the Spanish state and it is written nowhere that a country that claims a state of its own, and which is already part of the EU, should abandon the European Union and the Euro”.
“There is not a single precedent in the history of the EU”, the President said, who added that “it would not make sense” to expel a country like Catalonia “which already forms part of the EU and moreover is willing to respect all existing agreements and fulfil all obligations” required by the European Union.
With respect to the question that should be put to the Catalan population if a referendum on self-determination were to be held, the President argued that it should be “clear and unambiguous”, because “if we want to convince the international community, we will need democratic legitimacy”. He also stressed that the objective is not “to isolate Catalonia, nor to move away from Europe or the Euro, or a proper understanding with Spain”, but “to achieve instruments that will allow us to defend our interests in a better way”.