Catalonia will find a way
If we were to consider only objective data, it would take just a moment to realise that Catalonia's current situation is extremely worrying. The ruling of the Constitutional Court, which annuls essential parts of the new Statute of Autonomy, has shown that Catalonia's aspirations of self-government, formulated democratically in accordance with existing legislation, are incompatible with the interpretation of the Spanish Constitution. For the first time, rather than acting as an instrument of expansion and a guarantor of freedoms, this interpretation has served to justify the watering down of the Statute. And as if all this were not bad enough, the ruling is having certain delayed effects that could destroy many seemingly irreversible democratic achievements.
Moreover, despite the claims made by Catalonia's three-party coalition government, it has also emerged that the financing agreement declared to be the ultimate solution to every problem a year ago was really nothing more than a bad agreement, and the finances of the Catalan Government are now in a very dire state. It has just issued government bonds at 4.75% plus 3% commission for the placement banks: the world's most expensive debt. And while all this is happening, the Spanish government is cutting investment in Catalonia, the new budgets restrict measures for competitiveness (essential to foster Catalonia's industrial activity) and the crisis is martyring more businesses and families every day. This is in addition to an autonomous government whose strength and ideas ran out long ago, a government disconnected from society that is incapable of generating enthusiasm of any kind. With no ideas, no enthusiasm and no feedback between its institutions and civil society, the final days of the three-party coalition government are a factor in the aggravation of the crisis.
In spite of all this, however, we must have faith in Catalonia. We are and have always been a society at the forefront, full of energy, that has managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties throughout its history. Without this social vitality, Catalonia would not have been able to launch a genuine industrial revolution by itself almost at the same time as England; nor could it have survived several attempts to destroy its national and cultural identity. And it is this spirit, this dynamism and this set of values that inspire hope and allow us to put our trust in Catalonia without hesitation. Catalonia is a vital nation, used to striving and working hard. If it obtains - and I hope it does - institutions capable of supporting these abilities and working with society as one, Catalonia will be unstoppable.
Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida
President of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya