The Eyes of the World Are Upon Us

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Several days ago, the Parliament of Uruguay held a session of its International Affairs Commission to discuss the political events currently unfolding in Catalonia. I myself had the honor of leading the Catalan delegation and was able to observe first-hand the positive outcome of that meeting in which the Uruguayan legislators showed their support for the right to self-determination.

In July, the Irish Parliament held a similar session, and the Danish Parliament voted this past April—with no votes against—on a motion urging the Catalan and Spanish governments to resolve the question of Catalonia’s relationship with Spain through negotiation. These occurrences, as well as others that have yet to happen, clearly demonstrate what we have said to be true for a long time: that the self-determination movement in Catalonia is known outside our borders, generates greater interest all the time, and has become a topic on the international political agenda.

The Spanish central government, which denies this objective reality, is paradoxically a key element in creating and developing this interest. Its policy of bunkerization and refusal to engage in constructive dialogue surprise governments and citizens throughout Europe. Mature democracies have always addressed similar matters through the twin channels of dialogue and popular suffrage. One need only recall the cases of Québec and Scotland to confirm this.

And so it is understandably surprising that a country which vaunts its transition to democracy and claims to be one of the most decentralized states in the world should confront the self-determination process in Catalonia with criminal charges against elected officials, endless legal appeals, threats of suspending Catalonia’s self-government, recentralization of public-sector competencies and a state-led propaganda war. Instead of making the argument for why we are better off together, as the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom did quite successfully, the Spanish government seeks to impose upon us its own predetermined decision: yes or yes.

The elections on September 27 will once again show the world that despite the permanent hostility we face, Catalans will continue to embrace the peaceful, civic, inclusive, pro-European, and hopeful democratic process in which we have trusted so far.

As occurred on November 9, 2014 during the popular consultation on Catalonia’s relationship with Spain, hundreds of foreign journalists will once again travel to Catalonia to explain this process to their audiences around the world. We will also be visited by elected officials, political leaders, academics, researchers and analysts, all attracted by the undeniable political force that stems from a society-wide movement like ours. As always, we will do everything in our power to ensure that everyone has all possible information and we will provide access to all the political figures involved in this process, including those who are against the idea of an independent Catalonia and would prefer for it to remain part of Spain.

The Government of Catalonia, unlike the Spanish central government, is not afraid to compare and contrast differing opinions and arguments—and this is something that the world appreciates.

 

Roger Albinyana is the Secretary for Foreign and European Union Affairs of the Government of Catalonia.

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