“A country owing one trillion euros like Spain is unable to veto us”, Ramon Tremosa, MEP, (Catalonia)


First published: 25.10.2012

Author: Mireia Giné

Source: El Singular Digital

Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, MEP, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE), is one of the signatories of the letter sent to the EU requesting protection from threats of military intervention in Catalonia that have been issued in recent weeks. Tremosa looks Spanish image in Europe much down and knows that Europe is waiting for what will happen on 25th November, because Europe values what happens at the polls.

You are one of the signatories of the letter to the EU on threats by EP vice president Alejo Vidal-Quadras to mandate the Civil Guard to intervene in Catalonia. Are these threats eroding Spanish credibility?

The Spanish brand is much downgraded already. Two years ago systematic lies and continuous deceptions were uncovered. A few days ago, a Commissioner, not in front of a microphone, but in the corridor of the European Parliament, acknowledged in anger that all statistics that Spain sent in 2011 were false. All official statistics, starting with the deficit, with a standard deviation of thirty billion euros. Spain had said there was a 6% deficit and ended up being a 9% plus. This is a daily Spanish ministers and senior officials practice, with Spanish arrogance, bigotry and pedantry roam around their topics in Brussels, when in fact it shows that Spain, after five years of crisis, Spain as a country, does not have a shared diagnosis of what is happening.

And seeing that, can Europe do anything …

Europe has no power, does not collect taxes, and has no fiscal powers or banking supervision. Only a currency and a central bank. There is no EU treasury or a European finance minister, no instruments at European level to address the crisis of some countries in southern Europe. If a patient does not allow any healing it is very serious, but if it does not recognize that has a serious illness is even worse, and this is the case of the Spanish economy.

When you are asked “what is happening to Catalonia” what do you explain?

The demonstration of September 11th, had no impact in Madrid and as far as we can see the Spaniards have not analyzed it in depth. In Europe it did have pages in the Financial Times. In political Europe they know that there is an issue in Catalonia. They question me not “what will you do?” but “when will you do it? ‘”

You replied …

Well, that depends on the situation. Advancing elections could only be done by president Mas.

Is Catalan independence coming soon?
Europe wants countries to work, bills paid 30 days, justice quick and efficient labour markets. And the airports and ports not to lose loads of money like here. Energy affordable and not a mess with the “tariff deficit” like here. So if current Spain does not provide that and Spain with its current lack of transparency and sincerity refuses to recognize the situation and threatens the euro zone, then should not expect sympathy. The Spanish government has lobbied the European Commission to threaten the Catalans with the eternal condemnation which did not come. On the contrary, last week in the midst of President Rajoy offensive and five or six ministers against the Catalan aspirations, the Commissioner for Enlargement Stephan Füle received the Prime Minister of Kosovo to begin negotiations. I remember the vote was on March 22, where authorizing the European Commission to initiate talks with Kosovo. A vote was won by 522 to 110. Only France and Spain opposed. It is significant that it was six months after Prime Minister of Kosovo went to Brussels. Whoever who wants to understand should.


Catalonia needs international support in order to have its own state. Where are we?

Five long September weeks gone and we can say that the battle for international public opinion is being won by Catalonia while Spain lost with statements very out of tune, Aznar a former president Aznar threatening with jail, Vidal Quadras want to frighten us with the Civil Guard and a Popular Party which only offers total disaster. When the reality is that Madrid centralism is ruining the whole of Spain. It is normal when Spain collapses due to incompetence of senior officials in Madrid, people  are jumping out of the sinking ship.

What do they say in Brussels?

Since 2010, European politicians are informed and interested to know Catalonia they know there is big political conflict, because I remember in 2010 there was a Constitutional Court which had expired and politicized members yet it amputated essential chapters of a statute voted in Referendum, Spanish Congress and Catalan Parliament. I saw faces of amazement from prime ministers, commissioners and parliament members when they discovered that the quality of democracy in Spain was below the minimum that define a democratic Europe. Here freedom is a very important value. Just look at England and Scotland, have staged an event that is a great lesson to the world, how to solve a national issue.

Borrell says that a state secessioned from a Member State of the EU “is not automatically a member of the EU.” Is he wrong?

Here’s a loophole, because never before has there been such a precedent. The European Union has no interest in stripping European citizenship from citizens who already have European status. If we say that we can not have the euro, we are already ha it implemented “de facto” as Andorra where is the official currency yet Andorra is not part of the euro zone. I can not imagine that the 4,000 foreign multinationals in Catalonia, most of them European, are expelled from the Euro zone.

You asked the European Commission (EC) on the self-determination referendum in Scotland, and they replied that the process should be democratic. The experience of Scotland is favourable to us?

Yes, we had the odds in our side. In parallel to the Catalan claim that exposes the centralist political Madrid. The Scottish shows a very polite and respectful way on how to deal with a domestic dispute.

This will happen in Spain?

A country that owes one trillion euros, of a currency that is not emitting, is not in a position to veto much.

If Madrid’s answer is negative, should you call it anyway?

The president Mas said that yes, there will be a Referendum. If Spain says no, which is expected, the democratic legitimacy can be given by a huge majority in the Parliament of Catalonia. The PSC is changing and recognizes the right of Catalans to decide their future, then it can be difficult to avoid. Do not know how Spain could prevent poll stations in Catalan municipalities from opening in  a Sunday.

Should we ask for independence even if it is not assured that we would remain in the EU?

There is always another option, as the model of Kosovo, which is the unilateral declaration of sovereignty from Parliament. Today there are 24 of the 27 European Union countries that have recognized Kosovo. We see no need to carry forward the unanimous recognition of a country. The European Commission has negotiated the inclusion of Kosovo independly from the opposition of some countries. The organization secretary of the CDC, Josep Rull, says that if all doors remain closed the only way will be the unilateral declaration of sovereignty from the Parliament of Catalonia. Europe appreciates politicians who are conscious and coherent and nobody would understand that Convergencia (CDC) did not do it.

The 11S demonstration had a great international impact. Catalonia is now known?

I can say that what I’ve seen in recent weeks in the international press is something sensational. The best publicity we have ever had. It has made in thirty days, more than in thirty years before and not because we didn’t want to, but because there was no motive for an interest. Never before Catalonia had expressed so emphatically in favour of the right to decide. I must say that the president Mas is doing it in  a very serious way, in Parliament, appealing to the polls and that is what is valued. The democratic Europe laughs of those politicians who want to quickly finish a press conference to go to a football game [as Rajoy did].

 Spanish Government since days is lobbying at the EU and European States to oppose to Catalan independence. Does Brussels perceive these tricks?

Commissioner Reding has experienced firsthand. Europe’s policy says that the event of 11 September is great, but as of November 25 will count votes. It is therefore very important to have a big vote on favour of the parties that favour the right to decide. What Europe is looking for are votes in the ballot boxes. If there is not a majority and an increase in the votes for the three parties [CiU, ERC and ICV], Europe shall say this is not as much as you say, or vice versa.

Will at the end Madrid accept, like London, a referendum on Statehood?

Do not know, do not have a glass ball. But what I can tell, reading the most influential newspapers in the world, Anglo-Saxons, that Spain can not act unilaterally. That is, sending tanks is over, no more Catalan president imprisoned or shot. And I feel this way very difficult for the Spanish State to convince the Catalan to abandon their hope of a better future for their children.

Will the CiU program talk about Statehood and Referendum?

I understand so because there have been very solemn promises from president Mas, especially in the Catalan Parliament, where political Europe looks. You can do a lot of the wind sweeping statements, but what really matters are the statements in Parliament. CiU can not back now.

(Translation: EM)


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