In an interview with Julia Chatterley, the President of the Government of Catalonia affirmed that a separation from Spain “means freedom, defending our culture and having the right tools to work for the future” and that it would be difficult to see a different scenario better than independence.
After discussing the implications that Sunday’s vote would have on the Catalan economy, the CNBC reporter highlighted the President’s reiterated willingness to negotiate with the Spanish government. “One of the things that came from my interview with the President is the fact that he keeps reiterating the need to negotiate”, she explained during CNBC’s Closing Bell on Thursday afternoon. In this regard, Artur Mas asserted that Catalonia would share Spain's financial debts while the distribution of assets and liabilities “would be debated” with the central state.
When asked about unfounded threats and “undue influence on voters at this late stage” by some politicised institutions, President Mas affirmed that the pressures exerted by La Moncloa on financial institutions are part of the central government’s “scaremongering campaign”. In this respect, the President emphasized that “the Catalan economy is a dynamic one, a modern one”. The Catalan market “is very important for Spanish financial institutions and also for other multinational companies”, he continued, “we have more than 5,000 multinational companies with branches, investments and factories in Catalonia. It is probably the most open economy in Southern Europe, so what would be the purpose of abandoning such a market?”
In reference to the Bank of Spain governor’s allusion to possible capital controls, which he later declared as “highly unlikely”, the President noted that the freezing of client bank accounts is not part of any “realistic situation”. “The markets want stability”, explained Mas, “it would be absolutely crazy to have a scenario outside of the Euro”. The President then affirmed that “in a normal situation he [Luis María Linde] should resign”.
With regards to Sunday’s vote, President Mas accepted that if the pro-independence coalition fails to obtain a majority in Parliament then “we will have to accept the democratic mandate of the Catalan people”, but, on the other hand “if we win, I would like that the others have the same democratic attitude”. Similarly, in declarations to Rai News24, the Italian public news channel, President Mas stated that if the ‘Yes’ wins on Sunday “there would be a declaration in the new Catalan Parliament”, a declaration, the President said, which would give way to a process leading to “the Constitution of a Catalan State”. During this process, which would last approximately two years, “we will prepare the structures for the future Catalan state and we will offer our willingness to negotiate in order to do things well for everyone”, “both with the Spanish authorities and EU institutions”, explained the President.
Segments of the interview are available at http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/24/catalan-vote-artus-mas.html