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Dimarts  17.12.2013  12:57

Financial Times demands 'a negotiated solution' for Catalonia’s independence claims

'The ingredients for a solution' lie in Catalonia’s self-determination question, says


Following the announcement of a self-determination vote question and date, the Financial Times urges the Spanish establishment to negotiate. The prestigious and influential newspaper stated that the claims for independence are “a political problem that requires a negotiated solution”. In this Monday’ printed edition’s editorial, the FT demanded more “federalism within Spain’s crying need for institutional renewal”, utterly convinced that in the two-part self-determination question proposed by Catalan parties “lie the ingredients for a solution”. “It is not just the Catalans but Spain’s leading parties, Mr Rajoy’s PP and the Socialists, that need to rise to the occasion” urged the British newspaper, while also acknowledging that Spain has failed to build “a plurinational home comfortable enough for its culturally distinct peoples”. According to the Financial Times, the People’s Party, which currently runs the Spanish Government, “sabotaged” “Spain’s quasi-federal system” in 2010, pressuring the Constitutional Court “to strike down” the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia’s main law). By diminishing Catalonia’s autonomy, the Spanish Government is fuelling the independence movement even further, argues the UK publication.

The editorial, entitled ‘Spain’s next crisis’, specifically refers to the announcement of a self-determination vote’s question and date in Catalonia. The prestigious newspaper underlines that “nearly two-thirds of Catalonia’s parliament called a referendum on independence, tilting Spain towards full-blooded constitutional conflict”. The Financial Times insists that “it is not too late for Madrid to accommodate the Catalans”, but urges the Spanish establishment to make a political offer, which has not happened until now.

The editorial says Catalan President Artur Mas has taken the Spanish Government off guard, “by forging an alliance with separatists and elements of the Catalan left”. ”They have set a date for a plebiscite next November, which will ask Catalans two questions: do they want Catalonia to be a state and, if so, do they want that state to be independent from Spain” explains the newspaper.

“The ingredients for a solution” lie in Catalonia’s self-determination question

According to the FT, things “did not have to be this way”: “Politicians from both sides of this widening abyss need to become statesmen to prevent what is at root a political issue becoming a problem that threatens the very state”. However, the influential newspaper legitimizes the Catalan process, stating that within the self-determination question “lie the ingredients for a solution”.

Spain has not recognised its “plurinational” nature

According the Financial Times, such a solution should be a federal one. “Spain was rightly acclaimed for its transition from Franco’s dictatorship to a decentralised democracy. But it has still not fashioned a plurinational home comfortable enough for its culturally distinct peoples”, explains the editorial.

Rajoy’s People’s Party “sabotaged” the system in 2010

The newspaper also says the Spanish Constitution and “Spain’s quasi-federal system” had “enough flexibility […] to accommodate the Catalans, until Mr Rajoy’s Partido Popular [People’s Party] sabotaged it in 2010, by persuading its nominees in the Constitutional Court to strike down sensitive bits of the reformed statute of autonomy of Catalonia”. According to the editorial, “identical articles were left unmolested in the statutes of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, then under PP rule”.  Such measures from the Spanish Government “unleashed Catalan separatism, until then a fringe movement”, explains the newspaper.

Catalans “will go their own way if the only alternative is […] status quo”

“Rather than leading his people, Mr Mas is being led by them and Mr Rajoy has backed him into a corner by insisting the post-Franco constitution – which consecrates the indissoluble unity of Spain – is immutable” warns the Financial Times. The newspaper then explains that “polls say Catalans would prefer more home rule – including a degree of fiscal autonomy – but will go their own way if the only alternative is a status quo, which Mr Rajoy’s government is chipping away at”.