Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Saturday, 9 june 2012 | Financial Times

English

Recommended article: "Lunch with the FT: Jordi Pujol", by Victor Mallet

An excerpt:

“I’ve said for at least the past 65 years: ‘I am Catalan, I want to be Catalan and I am Catalan above all,’” he says, tapping the table with his hand for emphasis. “I used to think that to be Catalan and to be Spanish was absolutely compatible ... Catalonia should have an attitude that is co-operative, loyal and positive towards Spain to consolidate democracy, to help its economic progress and to help create a more just and equitable society. That was the ideal scenario.
“But,” – he waves his arms – “if someone from Spain says, ‘You can’t be Catalan’, attacks my language, my identity, or works against Catalan society, I would no longer have the feeling of being Spanish ... Very rarely – in fact never in terms of a majority – have Catalan nationalists been pro-independence. But now there is more of that feeling.”
Pujol argues that relations between Catalonia and the rest of Spain have reached “a very negative turning point”. This, he says, is partly because in the past decade many Spaniards have got cold feet about the amount of autonomy granted to the regions after Franco’s death; some now crave a French-style, centralised system of government. 
Another reason is that Catalonia transfers, by its own estimates, 8-9 per cent of its annual gross domestic product, or roughly €17bn a year, to poorer regions of Spain such as Andalusia – a much greater share of wealth than is conceded by Germany’s richer regions, for example, to other parts of the country. “With 9 per cent we are condemned to ruin,” says Pujol, adding that Catalonia (like Madrid) has simultaneously had to absorb hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Latin America, eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Mas is, with Pujol’s support, now demanding a new “fiscal pact” with Spain. 
Is it possible, then, that he will see an independent Catalonia in his lifetime? “Logically, my life should be very short,” says the octogenarian Pujol. “But we are at a turning point, and at a turning point you never know which way you’ll end up facing.” 

You can read the article by clicking here: "Lunch with the FT: Jordi Pujol".


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia