"Everything will be ready for the disconnection; all that we will need to do is push a button." On February 27, three days after being named Commissioner for the National Transition by the Catalan government, Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer used these words to summarize his mission leading up to the September 27th elections (27-S). In the last few weeks, Viver Pi-Sunyer has met with Department heads of the Generalitat to coordinate the development of basic state structures, with the aim of advancing work if the result of the plebiscite ratifies the course towards independence. The commissioner has also charged each Catalan ministry with creating a contingency plan on how to act in case the vote endorses a break with Spain. Viver Pi-Sunyer aims to complete, in the next three months, an "executive plan for the creation of state structures", which he will announce some time around July 15th.
This date was announced yesterday by Minister for the Presidency Francesc Homs, to whom the Commissioner for the National Transition reports. Just yesterday, Viver Pi-Sunyer attended his first government meeting as Commissioner to provide details about the executive plan that is in the works. The deployment of state structures, however, will continue at an uneven pace. Projects such as a Catalan Treasury, key to guaranteeing the sustainability of the Generalitat in the event of secession, is just beginning to take shape and is still far from being able to take over the management of all taxes.
According to Homs, the executive plan drafted by Viver Pi-Sunyer will be made public in mid-July, so that the public will know the details of the state structures of an independent Catalonia before the September 27 elections. Prior to that --"in the next few weeks", noted Homs--, the Govern will present a "black book" on Madrid’s recentralization efforts, a compilation of actions taken by the government of Mariano Rajoy to undermine Catalonia’s devolved powers.
Relations are still strained
The brief contact between Artur Mas and Rajoy on Monday at the Euro-Mediterranean summit, at the Palau de Pedralbes in Barcelona, did not help to patch things up between them. In fact, according to Homs, the words exchanged informally before the start of the event were merely small talk. Additionally, Homs did not interpret the fact that Mas was allowed to open the welcoming remarks as an act of goodwill by the Moncloa, but rather simply "institutional normality" to correct for the exclusion of the President of the Generalitat from the Euro-Mediterranean forum a year and a half ago.
Nevertheless, protested Homs, Madrid’s continues to "oppose everything suggested by the Catalan Parliament and the Govern". In fact, the deputy spokesman of the PP in Parliament, Santi Rodríguez, yesterday reproached Mas for using his speech before the European ministers "for campaign purposes", and for talking about Catalonia’s "new horizons".
On another matter, the Govern analyzed a document that it will send to the European Commission, which is receiving suggestions on how to redefine relations with Eastern Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. The document proposes that local government entities and those below the State level have "a more prominent role" in European neighbor policies. The Generalitat wants to have a higher profile in Europe.
Espadaler argues for constitutional reform
Ramon Espadaler, Secretary General of Unió and Catalonia’s Home Secretary, defended yesterday that the majority position of his party is "to aspire to greater self-rule" but "within the law", and proposing a "replacement" of the framework for the autonomous regions with a "confederate model" by means of constitutional reform. Speaking on RNE (Spanish National Radio), Espadaler assured that Unió has as a principal priority "to aspire to greater self-rule" for "the next parliamentary term", but always in accordance with the "gradual implementation" needed, and existing legality.