Miguel Ángel Aguilar
Secretary General of the Association of European Journalists
Los Panchos sang a song that goes “siempre que te pregunto/ que cuándo, cómo y dónde/ tu siempre me respondes/ quizás, quizás, quizás” (“every time I ask you/ when, how and where/ you always answer/ maybe, maybe, maybe”). Now the National Transition Advisory Council, created by President Artur Mas to undertake enquiries about the sovereigntist itinerary started, has laid an egg in the shape of a report. Its conclusion is that the European Union will end up accepting an independent Catalonia as a member state. The matter is clarifying when and how this will happen. We know that if the split of a territory within a member state happens, the part split will be exposed because it is the signing state, the one that is still a signatory party in the treaty. Everything else are speculations that, of course, the Council combines according to what is convenient for the delicate ears of the president since he is the one paying for the party. The document, of about 50 pages, titled “Means of integration into the European Union” diminishes the importance of the veto power of a State and ignores the announcements of the European Union according to which Catalonia will be left out.
In their opinion, both those who maintain that Catalonia will be excluded if it becomes independent and those who claim that it will automatically continue being part of the European Union lack the legal foundations. “The European and international laws do not predict a solution and the decision will be based on political and economic criteria. It will depend on who is able to persuade the States with their arguments in one sense or the other”. Pi-Sunyer has warned about the consequences of the suspension of the right to the European citizenship, both for the Catalans and for those Community residents in Catalonia, as well as about the economic repercussions for the Union.
But before that, other fatal consequences about the nationality of the people living in Catalonia should be considered from the day after the secession. It will be necessary to know whether an agreement on the double nationality can be reached or if it will be necessary to opt for one of them and give up the other. Besides, we also have to know about the situation of those keeping the Spanish nationality, their civic state, if they have the possibility of voting in the elections to the Parliament and in the local ones or if they will be excluded, forming a second class citizenship. There are some relevant questions in the economic and political fields, but their only mention would be anathematized by the current people in charge of the Generalitat. It could be said that we have started a phase where asking offends.
On his side, professor Pi-Sunyer, willing to look for a precedent has invoked the one of Kosovo, which does not seem to be very stimulating for a Catalan nowadays. Our private wise man says that “it makes no sense that 7.5 million citizens who want to be European cannot because the matrix State wants to impose a sanction”. That is not the matter, because the split Catalans will in any case still be Europeans according to the insurmountable geography. They will only be excluded as members of the EU’s club. Besides, the veto for their reintegration would be greater, because there are nationalist problems in all the members states that no one wants to encourage.
Another thing is that not the text of the current Constitution nor the fact of being left out of the EU have the capacity to dissuade those showing emotional enthusiasm, because let us remember about “whatever it takes/ it must be achieved/ great Catalonia/ reappear again”.
Article published in “El Siglo” on 21 April 2014.