Diplocat argues that Germany would deal with a case like Catalonia’s ‘more intelligently’ than Spain

  • 'Merkel would have dealt with a situation like this one in a different way from the Spanish government', said Royo

19.01.2017 - 19:09
Actualització: 20.01.2017 - 13:12

‘Tactfully, intelligently and with an open mind’. This is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German institutions would react if they have to face a political conflict such as the Catalan one, according to the Secretary General of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Albert Royo. During a conference in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, in Germany, Royo said that Berlin’s attitude would be ‘different’ to Madrid’s. Although the German Constitutional Court said recently that Bavaria does not have the right to hold an independence referendum, Royo argued the attitude would change if pro-independence forces in this bundesland were as big as they are in Catalonia.

‘In Bavaria the self-determination party represents 2% of Bavarians, and has no members of Parliament. The Catalan situation is completely different. 80% of Catalans want an independence referendum and there is an independence majority in Parliament’, Royo pointed out. ‘Merkel would have dealt with a situation like this one in a different way from the Spanish government’, he added, in his opening speech of the conference ‘What is going on in Catalonia? Reassessing self-determination in Western Europe’.

Royo also regretted the Spanish government’s attitude to the ruling from the German Constitutional Court, suggesting that Madrid has double standards when it comes to Catalonia. ‘The same Spanish government that tell us that Scotland and Quebec are not applicable, now says that Bavaria is a precedent’, he stressed.

In front of a German audience, Royo said that the ‘political conflict’ in Catalonia ‘will only be solved through democratic means, the only possible way within the European framework’. However, he warned that ‘400 political representatives are facing court cases in Catalonia’ for ‘crimes of opinion’. ‘The speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, is soon to be judged for allowing a debate’, he said, adding that ‘former Catalan government president, Artur Mas, will also be in court on the 6th of February for having allowed a non-binding public consultation’. ‘This legal offensive by the Spanish state sets a bad precedent for Western democracies’, Royo stated.

International experts
At the conference, the Director of the Institute of Canadian Studies, Peter A. Kraus, said that ‘federal models, like Canada or Germany, can better solve their territorial conflicts’ than Spain. Kraus rejected that Catalonia could be compared to Bavaria and its relationship with Germany, and added that Catalans ‘are a structural minority within Spain’ that can ‘hardly have an influence on Spanish governance’. For his part, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Dr Walther L. Bernecker, said that ‘Madrid has gone too often and too early to the Courts complaining about Catalonia’ and it is now ‘reasonable’ to ‘reform the Spanish Constitution’, 38 years after it was signed, in order to find a solution. Stefan Oeter, Professor of Law at the University of Hamburg, also argued that ‘if Madrid wants to find a solution to this problem, they should open the debate about reforming the Constitution’.

Participants at the conference also included Rainer-Olaf Schultze, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Augsburg; Alain G. Gagnon, Professor of Contemporary Québec at La Sorbonne in Paris; Ferran Requejo, Professor of Political Science at the University Pompeu Fabra; and Kai-Olaf Lang, Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

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