In an interview with CNBC, President Artur Mas assured that the Spanish State is perfectly able to perform well in the economic field in the coming years “even in the case Catalonia becomes a new State”.
The interview with Worldwide Exchange anchor, Seema Mody was broadcast live from the CNBC’s set at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. During the transmission, President Mas made reference to the openness of the Catalan economy and its commitment to “cutting edge innovation and research”, clearly evident with the weeks mobile event. The Chief Executive also qualified the Catalan economy as being “foreign market oriented” and compared Catalonia to Austria and Denmark, whom he described as “outstanding countries”.
When asked whether the possible political uncertainty would jeopardise Spain’s economic success, the President highlighted that Spanish State is already “doing better from the economic point of view”. “In fact”, he continued “the economic recovery is right here. We have suffered six, seven years of a very strong and deep crisis but now we are clearly overcoming this difficult situation”. In this sense, not only can Catalonia help Spain but it can also help “all the countries of Southern Europe”, asserted the Chief Executive.
Regarding the political process in Catalonia, President Mas stressed the need for a referendum to know if a social majority favouring independence “exists or not”. If Catalonia becomes independent it will “mean that the majority of the Catalan people want to have an independent country and build our own State for the future”. Mas reiterated the fact that the central Spanish State has continually blocked efforts to find a clear answer in this respect. “We tried to negotiate with the central Spanish government an agreement to hold a referendum on independence in Catalonia. The central Spanish government said ‘no’, there is nothing to talk about, there is nothing to negotiate there is nothing to agree”. “After that”, continued the President, “we tried to pass a specific law on non-binding consultations in the Catalan Parliament. The central government, again, appealed to the Constitutional Court [and] the Constitutional Court blocked the Law on Non-binding Consultations”. “So now we have only one way: elections, snap elections” concluded the President, “to know the opinion of the Catalan people”.
Additionally, Mas also addressed the issue of the country’s high unemployment and underlined the recent improvement in terms of the creation of jobs throughout Catalonia. Furthermore, the President affirmed that with independence and subsequently more capital and more legal capacity to improve the “economic structure”, there would also be more resources “to help private companies do better”.