“Reagrupament will push for a wide coalition for Catalan Statehood in next elections”, Carretero

15.09.2012

Source: El Triangle

Author: Àlex Romaguera

 

 

Former Catalonia Minister of Governance and Public Administration, Dr. Joan Carretero,  emphasizes, in this interview, that it was middle class who participated in the demonstration, and “it is middle class who pushes countries to progress”

How would you rate the Independentist March of the “Diada” (Catalonia National Day)? Is it a non-return milestone to Statehood?

No one can deny that the mobilization was the most important in the history of Catalonia, it was conducted in an assertive manner and not against anything or anyone. People perspirated optimism and a desire to show that the solution is not in Spain but outside, which also shows that the vast majority of the population is undergoing a process of mental disengagement from the Spanish state. In short: it was by no means a complaint, on the contrary, it showed the willingness to start the way for the country to move forward towards full freedom.

Has the recession been key to the success?
Economic hardship means that the society is more active because of the uncertainty about its future and that of their children. Is a factor that should not be forgotten, but it is key to understand the demonstration of the “Diada” has shown that Spain’s State has not only economic crisis, but also a crisis on the way of doing things.

Did it fail as a project?
It did not manage to succeed mainly because of poor understanding of how to solve its internal diversity and the world. Today, everyone notices that we can expect nothing from it, and people who still talk about federalism have lost any credibility. When most people realizes that national communities are organized as free states, they think it makes sense to have one of their own.

President Mas said to be “coherent and consistent” with the call issued at the demonstration. Do you trust it to be so?
Depending on his proposals he may expose himself. To start with , the meeting with Mariano Rajoy next 20th in Madrid lost it’s initial meaning, once people expressed that they do not ask for a piece of sovereignty whether it’s called fiscal agreement or “Home Tax Office”. On the 11th  I did not hear anyone claiming partial things. People want everything and statehood provides it. Automatically you have your own Taxing System, your sports teams can compete in official tournaments and your language and your culture are protected. Although some politician may try to endorse his thesis, the March of the “Diada” represents a cross-claim in favor of this Statehood.

  May there be some surprises in the meeting between Mas and Rajoy, given the fact that the Generalitat is under state control and has no liquidity to meet payroll?

If someone tries to water down and weaken the desire for independence, the polls will take their toll. Moreover, when during the demonstration so many people could not take the bus or train for hours and had to stay put in the middle of a street unable to move. Any “fish in the basket”, from now on, is rotten fish.

What is the logic stage from now?
We should lead to early elections, because it is not a minor issue that a country is considering the way they interact with the world. It has made a direct appeal that the parties provide their ways of dealing with this issue, not what color should be the government. And, fortunately or unfortunately, the public knows that today it is not relevant who is the Minister of Health, Work or Economy. If there is no regulatory capacity or resources, it is useless. Instead, people want to decide how we govern ourselves.

The catharsis of the 11-S has changed the paradigm of Catalan politics?
Right. I vividly remember when, in the second stage of the tripartite talk was intended to be primarily social issues. Well, this has been blown off. Now people want the national issues to argued upon, aware that it leads us to have budgets and management capacity. The best way to clarify this is through an election.

Do you propose a confluence of options into a single list for independence or for everyone to include in its program the exercise of the right to decide?
Ideally, there would be two distinct blocks: those who want independence and those who opt to continue together with Spain. Two poles, without sacrificing the ideological nuances of their respective members, raised the two outputs, because, I repeat: it does not matter If a director is so much left or right when he cannot do anything. If Convergencia and Unio is clearly committed to statehood, it should lead the coalition of parties and people who have  the same aim.

Some sectors of CiU talk about Catalan Tax Agency as an intermediate state before secession. Would this make such a list impossible?

Catalan Tax Agency  itself is not the solution because it has to be negotiated with the State, the one with ability enforce taxes. So, without statehood that enforces Taxes, the Home Tax Office is useless. Let’s get what solves all before getting things for which we require someone else to empower us. It is absurd to continue in this vicious circle. And a President of the Generalitat who is backed by the people, as seen in the “Diada”, must be brave enough to definitely break it.

In this scenario, when the positions tend to polarize, what will happen to the federalist formations. Should they make a move and choose?

They must follow what happened in many countries. I saw a Yugoslav Army general with responsibilities of government in Croatia, which shows how, when you start the process, some change position. The PSC  (Catalan Socialists party) has lived well while talking about right and left and the national question was just background noise, since nobody believes in federalism, a choice is compulsory. As Unió is concerned the same happens. Things have changed so much that those who oppose to independence will become minoritary.

Are the economic powers eventually leaning in favor of Statehood?
Everywhere the money usually has some fear and cowardice. But increasingly, employers and those who invest the money in Catalonia are looking for a different way of national demands, in the past unionism was the right and proper way. There are many who suffer from the lack of infrastructure and looting while watching how the state helps large corporations and financial speculators, not the small entrepreneurs. When the social base in favor of independence will be expanding and become social majority, I have no doubt that the economic powers will lean to it. Like so, will the bishops and other groups. In any case, the middle class, which is what makes countries progress, participated in the “Diada”.

Contradictory statements about secession between Barroso and other EU leaders are a sign that the Catalan question is on the European agenda?
The European Commission’s response to an appeal in which I participated expressly mentions that EU citizenship is secondary to a New EU Member State, but also the solution is in the international arena. This means that when there is a partition of a State, that part that separates takes up obligations and treaties established at European level. I am convinced that the scarecrows to which we will be subjected will not change the aspirations expressed in the manifestation of the “Diada”.

The next October Rally celebrates it’s fifth meeting. Do you plan to continue in coalition with ERC?
With ERC we were able to build a series of alliances in the Spanish elections that went well. We would like to repeat this experience and, if possible, extend it to other forces, each being able to be generous from its own caracter. I repeat: we have opted for a coalition in favor of Statehood.

In the next Local Elections, should Local Councils be decisive again or does future revolves around Parliament?
The key is to achieve a parliamentary majority. That said, it helps a lot in those spheres of power closer to the people, whether the councils or neighborhood associations, when they push initiatives towards national sovereignty. This was proven during the process of popular local polls, establishing a direct relationship between democracy and the ability to decide on independence. In any case, the upcoming referendum should be binding. Gone are the workouts. Now we play the game.

(Translation: EM)