In an interview in London with CNBC’s Julia Chatterley, the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, affirmed that the political situation in the Spanish State is “very surprising and generates worries not only in Spain, but in Europe”. According to the President, the “incapacity” of the central administration to govern and solve the complex situation “creates many worries” in the international context.
During the interview, which aired this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Puigdemont affirmed that the Government of Catalonia is not anticipating “a unilateral declaration of independence”. “This is not our plan. Our plan is what the Scottish government had with the UK: An agreement to consult over the independence of Catalonia”, he explained. “We will not abandon this plan until the end. We will always invite the Spanish government to sit at the negotiating table so as to reach an agreement that benefits everybody”. “A unilateral declaration of independence is not the best solution”, the President insisted.
When asked by the CNBC anchor about the UK referendum in June and a potential departure from the EU, the Catalan president explained that the British people “have the right to decide whether or not they want to be part of the EU”. In this regard, the President expressed Catalonia's explicit “wish of remaining in the EU” but noted the potential effect the referendum’s outcome may have on the Spanish elections, which are to be held only three days after the British vote.
Furthermore, according to Puigdemont, there is paradox surrounding the issue: “the EU makes huge efforts to avoid the UK leaving while it threatens Catalonia with exclusion if we declare ourselves independent”. Nevertheless, the President highlighted the EU’s eventual pragmatism in dealing with the challenges concerning its Member States. “Even if the decision of the British people is to leave the union, it will be in everybody's interest to reach an agreement”, he noted. “In practical terms, I hope for a better relationship between the UK and Europe and that a balance can be found whatever the decision [of the British people] is”. In this respect, if the UK decides to leave the EU, the president explained that it would be “an important loss” for Europe. “I don't know the domestic situation of the UK well enough to comment on the exact impact it would have, but it would be serious”, he affirmed.
Segments of the interview are available here.