Thursday, May 12, 2016

First draft of Catalan Constitution presented to Parliament’s President

Captura de pantalla 2016-05-12 a les 13.09.51
‘Constituïm’, a group made up of several professionals from different fields which has put together previous attempts at writing a Catalan Constitution, delivered this Wednesday its first proposal of the text to the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. The draft foresees Catalonia as “a citizen and participative republic”, based on a presidential system, without an army but with an “Agency for Security and Defence” which would protect citizens and control the borders. It also plans to create an “Institute for Peace and Truce” which could focus on international help and humanitarian actions. This draft of the Catalan Constitution establishes Catalan and Aranese, a language which is spoken in the northern region of Val d’Aran in the Catalan Pyrenees, as the only official languages of the republic. Spanish would have a “special status” which would have to be regulated by a law. In order to study the constitutive process, ‘Constituïm’ will now send the text to the Committee, the different political groups in the Parliament and to civil society associations such as the National Assembly of Catalonia (ANC), the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the association promoting Catalan culture, Òmnium Cultural.
“Catalonia is hereby established as a State that is free, sovereign, democratic, social, ecological and respectful of rights. The political and legal form of the organisation of the State is a citizen and participative republic”. Thus begins the definition of Catalonia in the proposed constitution presented this Wednesday by ‘Constituïm’. The Constitution furthermore adopts the Senyera, the official red and white striped flag of Catalonia, as its flag, ‘El Segadors’ as its national anthem, Catalan and Aranese as its official languages, and instates Barcelona as its only capital.
Under these initial requirements, the proposal carries up to 49 articles that would form the Catalan Constitution, which establishes the particularities of the independent Catalonia that these 17 independent jurists imagine. The text provides, as the spokesmanof ‘Constituïm’ Jordi Domingo explains, a presidential system in the style of the US or France. “The Constitution states that Catalonia will have a president to be elected by everyone in a single constituency. The people, through a free and direct election with a single constituency, could vote for a president, as in the USA, saving itself from, among other things, this precariousness of the government”, he stated. The text, in fact, states that this president would then select the ministers along with the “President” that would make up his government. Parliament, however, would be chosen in other elections, along with the Catalan Auditor and the Ombudsman.
The “special” status of Spanish
One of the elements that has already caused the most controversy is the unique official status granted to Catalan and Aranese. The proposal grants official status to Catalonia’s own languages and establishes that Spanish should have a “special status” that a law should regulate. “For cultural and historical reasons Spanish deserves special treatment”, affirmed Domingo, who also points out that those citizens who have come to Catalonia after their education or before the “linguistic normalisation” should be able “to continue addressing the administration in Spanish”. The rest, however, should “assume that Catalan is the official language”. However, it clarifies that it will neither persecute Spanish nor forbid its use in any social or public sphere.
Regarding the possibility of having an army, the text does not provide for this possibility because “armies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, regardless of how advanced they may be, are unnecessary”, according to Domingo. This is why the suggested proposal to create a “National Agency for Security and Defence” would be responsible for protecting citizens, borders, infrastructure and more global elements. “Having nothing to do, however, with a conventional army” specified Domingo. In addition, the Institute of Peace and Truce would be a body that would act in international “humanitarian efforts and aid in conflict area” interventions.
The spokesman of ‘Constituïm’ affirmed that the text is “open to debate, to change, modify, and crumble if necessary” and denied that it is an “absolutely closed” proposal. For this reason, he asked Forcadell to pass the text along to the Parliamentary Commission of the Constitutive Process, and they will then forward the text to political groups, pro-independence institutions, such as those responsible for the massive demonstrations on Catalonia’s National Day, and various Catalan figures.
‘Constituïm’ the first to present a draft Catalan Constitution
‘Constituïm’ (‘Let’s constitute’) gathers together judges, economists, engineers and other professionals from different fields who have worked to hand over the project of a Catalan Constitution. The group has analysed previous drafts, such as that presented by Catalan judge Santiago Vidal, but also more than 3,000 citizen proposals.
The platform defines itself as an organisation which emerged from civil society and, therefore, is willing to collaborate with as many sectors of society as possible, in order to enhance the constitutive process and make it as representative as possible.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Catalonia to pass new legislation to protect social emergency measures suspended by Spain

Ada Colau i Carles Puigdemont en una visita de la batllessa de Barcelona al Palau de la Generalitat.
Ada Colau i Carles Puigdemont en una visita de la batllessa de Barcelona al Palau de la Generalitat.
The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced that the Government will prepare new legislation to protect the core policies of the social emergency law suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). The new law will include “practical tools with legal security” that will “reformulate” the suspended articles of the legislation but “keep its spirit”. Drafting a new law was the main compromise of the social emergency summit organised on Tuesday by the Catalan Government, the local authorities and the main political parties in Catalonia following the Spanish Government’s legal challenge against the social emergency law. Puigdemont described the negotiations as “long, intense and very useful” and said that the new law is needed “to restore everything the Constitutional Court has suspended”. The meeting, he said, “wasn’t about political discrepancies but about showing that this issue concerns us all”.
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, the mayors of Barcelona and other major cities in the country, and local associations met on Tuesday to discuss a united response to the legal challenge against the Catalan Social Emergency Law. The Spanish Government has asked the TC to suspend parts of Law 25/2015, one of the more important legislative initiatives in Catalonia, which aims to protect the most vulnerable against energy cuts and other housing-related causes of poverty. Madrid considers the legislation to invade the competences of the central government.
The agreement to draft new legislation will allow Catalonia to put in the same act all policies aimed at helping those affected by energy poverty or the threat of evictions. The aim, said Puigdemont, is to provide local governments and the Generalitat with the “tools to allow us to respond” to the most pressing social challenges “as a country” and with “sound legal security”. The new law will be prepared “very quickly”, added the Catalan President, and will serve to avoid the TC suspension affecting those that benefit from the social protection provided by the challenged legislation.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

La Unió Europea, en fallida moral

La Unió Europea, en fallida moral

A vegades, estar suficientment informat de les coses que passen a fora no té la força de quan t’ho expliquen directament. Dissabte passat vaig anar a Toulouse a una d’aquestes trobades sindicals transfrontereres en què persones a banda i banda dels Pirineus, tot parafrassejant Tolstoi, viuen la infelicitat cadascú a la seva manera.
Tot i estar assabentat de moltes de les reformes que s’implementen a França, al Regne Unit, a Itàlia a còpia d’informes, documents i legislació, quan els teus col·legues t’expliquen com es tradueix a la vida real la retòrica jurídica, veus que hi ha una clara coincidència, en les formes i en els fons, en els canvis induïts als sistemes educatius. Tots, a més, en una línia similar. A Figueres, a Perpinyà, a Venècia, a Bristol, a qualsevol ciutat que ens connectava Ryanair els governs redueixen el pressupost, fan de la docència una activitat més precària i dirigida, creixen les desigualtats en totes les formes imaginables, i el diner privat comença a ocupar les oportunitats de negoci en uns serveis públics que cada vegada semblen més un Far West: una terra d’oportunitats, encara que prèviament calgui netejar d’indis el territori a conquerir. Totes les reformes s’hi assemblen perquè surten de l’OCDE, on a tall d’exemple, l’exministre Wert ha estat enviat pel govern espanyol per fer companyia a la seva nòvia. Una OCDE que vol abaixar salaris, abaixar impostos, i aconseguir que les grans fortunes puguin adquirir més iots i Ferraris, no precisament Rocher.
No només es tracta d’escoles i serveis públics. És trist constatar com elements que ens pensàvem essencials de les societats democràtiques occidentals, estan en entredit. A Madrid, s’empresonen titellaires molestos amb el franquisme adherit a les institucions. A Euskadi, polítics com Otegui o sindicalistes com Rafa Díez són a la presó com a hostatges de l’estat amb la voluntat d’impedir un procés de pau negociat. A França, amb l’espantall del gihadisme, mantenen un estat d’excepció per un període indefinit, on no es garanteix el dret de manifestació, lliure circulació o intimitat. Les directives laborals, derivades per exemple de la Bolkestein (que evidentment rima amb Frankenstein) permeten exportar la precarietat laborals dels països emissors als estats amb legislacions més respectuoses amb els treballadors. L’assetjament laboral, la pressió asfixiant, i sovint els suïcidis, són a l’ordre del dia. Els grecs han estat castigats col·lectivament com a boc expiatori dels pecats de la banca alemanya. Les contradiccions que sorgeixen entre l’esperit democràtic europeu, l’erràtica política dels refugiats, i la imminència de victòries de grups com el Front Nacional són capaços d’espantar el més optimista.
Per acabar-ho d’adobar, el mateix dissabte, mentre conduïa vers la ciutat Rosa, s’anunciava el suposat acord entre el Regne Unit i la Unió Europea en què es pidolava una actitud favorable a Cameron per a la permanència de la vella Anglaterra al que resta del somni europeu. Les condicions, draconianes, tenien a veure amb l’exclusió dels residents europeus de les prestacions socials i la carta blanca per tal que la City de Londres pogués fer i desfer, com ha fet sempre. Tot plegat sembla que el vell projecte d’un espai de cooperació i benestar, aquella Europa de Schumann, Adenauer, Spaak o Jean Monnet sembla una burla. Els neoliberals han segrestat Brussel·les. I, ara per ara, com podíem adonar-nos en una trobada d’europeus a Toulouse aquest dissabte, el continent sembla a punt d’entrar en una fallida moral.
Nota: Càpsula setmanal del Girona Ara, Fem Ràdio

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Velká Británie zachránila svou jednotu. Obal zůstal, ale obsah se změní. Skotové dostanou totéž, co dal belgický premiér Elio Di Rupo bouřícím se Vlámům, a to, čím bude muset Madrid uklidnit vzpurné Katalánce. Ale to dnes již není žádná novinka. Zkusme tedy výsledek skotského referenda zhodnotit v širších souvislostech.
 Skotové mají za sebou bouřlivou noc. Většina voličů ale nezávislost nakonec odmítla
22.9.2014 8:49   |   
Intelektuální a politická elita Evropy dlouhodobě kritizuje národní stát jako zastaralý a iracionální. Naposledy svoje argumenty zopakovala právě před skotským referendem. Chápu, že mnohé politiky a komentátory znervózňuje stále pestřejší patchwork autonomních a o autonomii bojujících hráčů na kontinentě. Proces sjednocení Evropy si nejen v Bruselu zcela jistě představovali jinak. Ale co když se aktuálnost myšlenky národního státu opírá o víc než jen o patos, hesla, historii a emoce.
Zkusme přemýšlet o racionálním jádru touhy po národní identitě a suverenitě a položme si jednoduchou otázku: Jak mohou lidská společenství přispět ke své bezpečnosti a blahobytu? Třeba tím, že jsou vnitřně sourodá?
Dobře fungující společnost potřebuje porozumění a spolupráci. Obojí se opírá o důvěru a tu máme nejspíše k tomu, kdo se nám podobá. Ty, kteří nám jsou podobní, máme raději a raději s nimi spolupracujeme; také proto, že si s nimi rozumíme „naslepo“.
Sourodost společnosti ale umožňuje nejenom optimálně zorganizovat spolupráci svých členů. Význam prostorové a názorové blízkosti roste zejména ve složité době. Je pozoruhodné, ale vlastně by nás to nemělo překvapit, že se i lidé dneška, tito supermoderní „internet natives“, často chovají jako členové kmene, který se o kořist nechce dělit s cizími.

Určovat si pravidla

Národní identita je tedy překrývající se množina podobností. Samozřejmě k ní patří stejný prostor, národní jazyk, tradice, sdílené zkušenosti a společné sociální znalosti. Ale to není všechno, co hovoří pro užitečnost národní identity a sourodosti. Naděje na úspěch stoupá v těch společnostech, které kontrolují své nerostné zdroje a samy určují svá pravidla. A rozhodují o nich na úrovni národní, co nejblíže k těm, kteří se podle nich mají řídit.
Tohle všechno vědí především prostí lidé, protože se pohybují mimo rezerváty literárních kaváren, stranických centrál a univerzitních kateder. Tito lidé svou moudrost třeba neumějí pregnantně zformulovat, ale zato chápou její hluboký význam, protože si ji den za dnem prakticky ověřují.
Skotové, Vlámové, Katalánci a mnozí ostatní Evropané chápou nezměrnou cenu sourodosti uvnitř státu a pozitivní význam odlišnosti mezi národy. Posílají odcizeným evropským elitám jasné sdělení: Státy vznikají a zanikají z vůle národů. O spolkových státech to platí dvojnásob. Snahy potlačovat význam národního státu proto nemohou vést k úspěchu.

Autor je poradcem pro strategické otázkyVíce na:

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Catalan Boss Says ‘Brexit’ Deal Sign EU Can Flex for Separatists

Donald Tusk’s proposal for avoiding a so-called Brexit shows the European Union can accommodate major shifts in the continent’s political situation, said Carles Puigdemont, who as regional president aims to lead Catalonia to independence next year.
The EU president’s plan to limit benefits for Europeans who move to Britain and shield the City of London from bank regulators in Frankfurt aims to help Prime Minister David Cameron win a vote on staying in the 28-nation bloc. It also illustrates the continent’s leaders are ultimately pragmatists when push comes to shove, Puigdemont, 53, said in an interview in Barcelona Thursday.
“The European Union is displaying a healthy adaptation to its environment,” Puigdemont said from his office in the heart of Barcelona’s medieval center. “This is a good precedent in the light of what could happen in Catalonia.”
Tusk is trying to broker a deal for Cameron that the EU’s other 27 members can live with just as Catalonia’s separatist government tries to find a way to escape from Spain. One major hurdle for the Catalans has been the insistence from officials across Europe that leaving would mean re-applying for membership of the EU and, perhaps more importantly, the euro region.
“Both sides have shown that they want the U.K. to continue in the European Union,” said Puigdemont, a journalist by training. The EU “has the capacity to come up with proposals so that political reality can be accommodated, and that’s encouraging for Catalonia.”


Catalonia’s independence movement is trying to regain its momentum after the main separatist group fell short of a majority in September’s election, leading to a three-month standoff with a smaller anarchist party.
Puigdemont emerged as a last-minute alternative to the incumbent, Artur Mas, as fighting between two factions threatened to force new elections, jeopardizing their majority in the regional assembly. He was previously mayor of Girona in northern Catalonia.
With the Catalan government finally up and running, it’s the Spanish administration that is hamstrung now. That puts Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in an awkward as Cameron prepares to take his proposals to a summit of European leaders in Brussels on Feb. 18.
Puigdemont is backing Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez’s call for Rajoy to negotiate the Spanish position with other political parties ahead of that gathering since he no longer a majority in parliament. Sanchez is seeking allies to help oust Rajoy who has admitted he doesn’t have enough support to win a confidence vote after losing a third of his seats in December’s national election.
“It’s obvious that it should be done that way,” said Puigdemont. “Not only political groups but also relevant institutions such as the Catalan government should have the chance to express their opinion about what the Spanish position should be.”

Final Push

The Catalan government is aiming to build the institutions for an independent state over the next eighteen months and then hold a definitive vote on secession. Rajoy says the plan is illegal and has asked the constitutional court to shut the program down.
Sanchez has taken a more conciliatory approach and wants to address the Catalans’ concerns with a constitutional reform, though he’s ruled out giving them a referendum.
While almost half of Catalan voters backed parties supporting independence in September’s regional election, most separatists want to remain part of the EU.
Cameron himself, who defeated a Scottish bid to break away from the U.K. in 2014, has said that Catalonia will be excluded from the EU if Puigdemont’s government makes good on its plans. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker backed him up.
“In the tradition of the European Union’s political realism, as has just been demonstrated, it would be smart to allow a serious, trustworthy partner and a net contributor like Catalonia to remain a member,” said Puigdemont. There isn’t a binding opinion about the consequences of Catalan independence, he said.

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