In an interview with PRI & WNYC’s The Takeaway, President Artur Mas assured that as the Catalan political process develops and continues to move forward, European Union countries “will change their attitudes” regarding Catalonia because “we are already in the European Union, we are citizens of the EU and we belong to the Eurozone”. “It is not easy for another European country to expel us from the EU.
They are saying these things because it is a game of tactics”, said the President in reference to Spain’s refusal to allow Catalonia to hold a referendum.
President Mas told Todd Zwillich that independently from what other countries say, and whether they choose to help the Catalan cause or not, “what we know is that now the time is right because the people in our country are ready and waiting to hold a referendum on self-determination”. “The right time has arrived for us”, he continued, “so we have to go on, we have to go ahead with this political process and my commitment is to hold a referendum on independence to see if the majority of the Catalan people vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”.
During the interview which was broadcast across the nation, Artur Mas affirmed that Catalonia’s aspirations were the same as those of Scotland and Quebec, in so far as having the “possibility to vote and to decide”. “What I think would have been very negative would have been [for Quebec] not to have been able to vote”, affirmed the President, because in these cases “the values of democracy and freedom are at stake”. “I am absolutely convinced that Americans and Catalans share the same values. You struggle for democracy, freedom self-determination, as do we”, added the Chief Executive when describing the similarities between the two countries.
The President also highlighted the “civic, positive and absolutely pacific” nature of the Catalan political process and emphasized that Catalonia’s intention “was not to impose our solutions but to negotiate everything with Madrid and Brussels”. In this respect, Artur Mas stressed that first step “is to vote and to have the right to decide on our political future”, “this is something that is valid for all the nations in the world”, added the Catalan President.
Speaking to North American audiences, the Chief Executive explained that ever since the Middle Ages, Catalonia “has always had deep sense of self-government” with its “own culture, its own identity and its own language” which “we want to protect for the future”. The President also emphasized that “from the social, economic and cultural point of view” Catalonia has “a collective project to develop for the future”. To develop and carry out this collective project, the Chief Executive stressed the need for “tools, instruments, resources and legal capacity to take decisions”. “This is why we are seeking independence”, the President told NPR and WNYC Radio listeners as he expressed the people of Catalonia’s aspirations for “a new state of Catalonia, integrated in the European Union and in the Eurozone”. “We don’t want to be an isolated country,” he added, “we want to be integrated in Europe, as we are now”, expressed the Artur Mas.
The President also made reference to the normalcy of the political process underway in Catalonia as he underlined that foreign direct investment in the last quarter of 2014, had “increased in comparison with the previous quarter of 2013”. “This increase”, he continued, “had occurred during the same year in which I had called for a non-binding referendum on November 9 where 2.3 million Catalans went out to vote”. “In these circumstances”, the President highlighted, “investments had remained the same in our country”, alluding to investor confidence in the Catalan markets.
To listen to Todd Zwillich's interview with President Mas on PRI & WNYC's The Takeaway click here