Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, accused the Spanish State of “having abandoned all Catalans” by refusing to open a dialogue in order to come to an agreement on a referendum. “We won’t give up on this right. We will do whatever it takes to allow the Catalans to vote on a referendum this year,” they warned in an op-ed published this Sunday in ‘El País’, Spain’s number one newspaper. Puigdemont and Junqueras also encouraged Rajoy to learn from the United Kingdom’s example and allow Catalans to vote, just as the Scots did in 2014. “We are already at the negotiating table. Is anybody else coming?” they asked rhetorically.

The Catalan leaders also complained that “those who don’t support Catalonia’s independence” suffer from the Spanish Government’s “inattention” towards Catalonia and “pay its consequences.” “The Spanish State has also abandoned those Catalans which hoped to see in Spain a State which turns out to not be aware of their demands” they say, adding that Madrid’s Government “has abrogated its political responsibility to the court”. “Europe has already realized it and has openly shown its concerns.” In this vein, Puigdemont and Junqueras refer to the Council of Europe’s constitutional law experts on the Venice Commission who called for Spain to “improve certain amendments to the Organic Law regarding its Constitutional Court”, which attribute to the Court the task of executing its own judgments.

“Differences are only divisive if we refuse to agree on how to solve them,” insist the two Catalan leaders who consider it “populist and simplistic” to try to sort out the differences through “prohibitions, walls and discrimination”. “It’s not only the absolute lack of willingness to dialogue that is worrying, but also everything that aims to undermine that dialogue: lawsuits, the judicialization of politics, dirty war tactics and threats of the use of exceptional measures,” they say.

The article also refers to the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination, which brings together those political parties which support Catalonia’s right to decide, together with more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports, and political organizations.  “The Alliance aims to reaffirm the desire to call an agreed referendum. Maybe some will consider us naive. It is better to be naive than irresponsible, it is preferable to make an effort to try to find solutions rather than choosing to waste time and turn stagnation into virtue,” they conclude.

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