In declarations to foreign correspondents from five of Europe’s leading newspapers, President Carles Puigdemont affirmed today that the Catalan people “cannot wait five or ten more years” for the state government to come up with an answer to Catalonia’s sovereignty aspirations. In this regard, the President referred to PSOE’s proposal of a constitutional reform and questioned whether the party would be able to achieve three-fifths majority in both Houses to amend the Constitution.
The Catalan president told journalists from the Financial Times, Le Monde, Corriere della Sera, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Portugal’s Diário de Notícias that in a ‘mature’ democracy “what is legal is decided by parliament”. In this sense, “our process is legitimised by parliament and by the ballot box”, he added.
During the joint interview, which was held at the Palau de la Generalitat, Puigdemont criticised the Spanish government’s lack of willingness to negotiate and its failure to come up with solutions to, essentially, a political issue. “In light of the absence of political answers, our responsibility as elected officials is to make decisions that are in the interest of the citizens”, explained the head of the Catalan government. In this respect, the president announced that Catalonia “can achieve independence from Spain without a deal with Madrid”.
With regards to the on-going negotiations to form a new government in Madrid, Carles Puigdemont highlighted that there can be “a solid government in Spain that can count on the support of the majority forces in Catalonia” if that government commits itself to holding a referendum on Catalan independence. “We have no desire to take advantage of Spain’s political instability. On the contrary, we want to see a solid Spanish government soon”, he told the foreign correspondents.
Questioned about the possible recognition of a Catalan state by European institutions, Puigdemont pointed to the case of Britain and its potential withdrawal from the EU: “What does [the discussion around] Brexit show?” he asked, “It shows that the EU has a healthy capacity to adapt and solve conflicts on the basis of realpolitik”. “I think it also shows what will be the attitude of the EU regarding unforeseen situations [like a new Catalan state]. It adapts”, he added.
The articles written about President Puigdemont’s interview can be found below: