Photo: 2000 Award ceremony: ¡BASTA YA! – 2000, Espagne (1)
On my own behalf and on behalf of the European University Friendship, I share and support this letter from the founders of the Civic Platform ¡Basta Ya! to Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker
President of the European Commission
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
3rd October 2017
Dear Mr President,
We address you as founding members of the Civic Initiative Basta Ya!, awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2000 for its commitment to freedoms in the Basque Country. As Spanish and European citizens, we are very concerned about the confusion regarding what is happening in Spain in relation to Catalonia. We do not want to remain in silence while facts are being replace by propaganda and the emotions are being manipulated by a pro-independence regional government which stands in open rebellion against the Spanish democracy and the European Treaties.
Let us start by listing a number of obvious facts:
1. Citizens in Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain, regularly vote in accordance with democratic rules; in Catalonia, six times in the last five years. It is completely false that they are prevented from voting.
2. The Catalan authorities have violated their own laws: in the parliamentary sessions of 6 and 7 September 2017 prevented the opposition parties to exercise their parliamentary rights to submit amendments and discuss the, unconstitutional, Ley Express (“Express Law”), to hold a referendum of self-determination.
3. Education in Catalonia, under regional control, has been used systematically to indoctrinate in hatred of Spain, to spread Catalan supremacism and to discriminate against Spanish-speaking students (more than 50%). The schoolchildren have been used by the Catalan government for demonstrations and public events in favor of independence, and schools and universities have even been closed by decision of the regional government in order to encourage their attendance in certain demonstrations.
4. Catalonia is one of the most prosperous regions in Spain and its citizens enjoy a high standard of living and one of the highest levels of self-government out of any region in Europe. The region of Catalonia has never been an independent political entity. It was a set of counties that formed part of France, and then of the Kingdom of Aragon until it was dynastically merged with the Kingdom of Castile in 1492, creating the current Kingdom of Spain.
5. The party that has traditionally ruled Catalonia (formerly CiU; now PDCat) has spent 30 years using public money, coming from tax-payers from entire Spain, to promote its separatist agenda while blaming Spain for its cuts in social policies, education and health with the accusation “Espanya ens roba” (“Spain is stealing us”).
6. Some of the most important leaders of that same party -including two former presidents, Jordi Pujol and Artur Mas – are currently accused in trials for political corruption, and have been continuously financing their party with a corrupt system known as 3%, as that percentage was the minimum that public providers had to pay to access any public contract. Parallel to the judicial investigation of this corrupt plot, and not coincidentally, the separatist process has been accelerated, hoping to save those responsible from the action of Spanish justice.
7. Spain is a parliamentary monarchy and its Constitution can be amended by the procedures provided for the case by the text itself. This changes may even contemplate the right to self- determination of parts of the territory, which is nowadays as unconstitutional in Spain as it is in all EU member states, without exception.
8. A vote on a territorial secession as the one illegally promoted by the Catalan government would require, to be democratic, the participation of all Spaniards. What belongs to everyone, as the State and the territory, must be decided among all.
9. Separatism undermines democracy: it has unilaterally and violently broken (rupture of the constitutional order necessarily is) with Spanish and regional legality. And it has embarked on a campaign to present the central government as “evil” by not allowing an illegal referendum which, we should keep in mind, has been declared unconstitutional by our highest court.
Regarding the events taken place last Sunday 1st of October, we cannot agree to consider a “mistake” or “inability” that the police complies with judicial orders to prevent the holding of a referendum which has been declared illegal. The suitability of judicial instructions can be discussed, but the police actions were proportional and the usual ones in all European member states in similar cases.
The Catalan regional police, the Mossos (with 17,000 officers and holistic police powers), actively boycotted the enforcement of judicial orders, facilitated public disorder and, in some cases, even clashed with the National Police and Civil Guard, who have had 431 injured members. Last Sunday was far from being “a peaceful day of national demonstration”, as stated by the separatist leaders. Information networks and media groups subsidised by the Catalan regional government have systematically disseminated false images of violence and misrepresented the facts. We find of great concern as well that media networks related to the Russian government have actively supported the illegal referendum.
The Catalan regional government has acted, and continues to do so, as an organisation committed to a coup d’état in Spain. The autonomous administration has provided political coverage and material support to organised groups that act in open rebellion against the constitutional order, including occupation of schools, blocking roads and motorways, or attacks on Spanish police officers. And a widespread intimidation to a majority of Catalan society which is dissatisfied with this state of affairs.
The so called “brutal repression” has resulted in the total of two people in hospital, one of them an elderly man who suffered a heart attack. With respect to the “wounded,” which separatists number at about 800, they are actually “persons who received medical assistance” by public health services, including those affected by lipothymia, anxiety attacks and irritations caused by inhalation of smoke. Propaganda manipulation, based on scandalizing the good feelings of people who ignore what actually happened, is unprecedented in democratic Europe and takes us back to the history of totalitarian regimes during the 30s and 40s.
Finally, we would like to highlight that the whole Europe would be very negatively affected if the separatist plans ended up being imposed. Spain is not the only EU member state with separatist tensions. Opening the possibility of repealing the Constitution and territorial integrity by means of fait accompli – following a script that reminds of the explosion of former Yugoslavia – would affect sooner or later many other member states, ending with the magnificent project of a Europe free of destructive and xenophobic nationalism within its own borders.
We believe it is time for European institutions to support Spain to restore the constitutional order and the rules of democracy in a region, controlled by a seditious administration and a corrupt political class, which is not only part of Spain, but also part of the European Union.
Fernando Savater, Carlos Martínez Gorriarán, María San Gil, Rosa Díez, Maite Pagazaurtundua