- Catalonia celebrates its national holiday on Tuesday.
- The date, September 11, commemorates the fall of Barcelona in 1714. Catalonia had backed the losing side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Read more
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez has proposed calling a referendum on a renegotiated statute for Catalan home rule.
In 2010, the Spanish Constitutional Court rewrote parts of Catalonia’s 2006 autonomy statute. Most of the changes were minor, except they limited Catalonia’s fiscal autonomy and took out the description of Catalonia as a “nation”.
As a result, Sánchez said in a radio interview, “Catalonia has a statute that it didn’t vote for.”
78 percent of Catalan voters ratified the 2006 statute in a referendum. Read more
Catalan unionists, including the leaders of the region’s largest anti-independence party, Citizens, have taken to the streets to remove yellow ribbons that agitate for the release of separatist leaders.
Some eighty people descended on La Bisbal, a small town close to the French border, last night to remove yellow ribbons from buildings, wearing white industrial suits and masks.
The mayor, Lluís Sais, condemned the action, saying, “When someone has nothing to hide, and has no shame, they do not cover their faces.”
Citizens party leaders Albert Rivera and Inés Arrimadas nevertheless joined in the protest on Wednesday, removing yellow ribbons in Alella, half an hour’s drive north of Barcelona. Read more
The new Spanish conservative party leader, Pablo Casado, is making good on his promise to move the People’s Party to the right.
- In talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who leads a minority left-wing government, Casado refused to support dialogue with Catalan parties that want to break away from Spain.
- Separately, he argued Spain cannot “absorb millions of Africans who want to come to Europe in search of a better future.”
Both positions mark a hardening from those of Casado’s predecessor, and the previous prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. Read more
Deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s bid for continued political relevance is dividing the two largest independence parties in the region.
- The Republican Left is refusing to join Puigdemont’s latest political vehicle, the National Call for the Republic, which is meant to succeed the electoral list he led into last year’s regional election, Together for Catalonia.
- The Republican Left also argues that both parties must respect a Supreme Court ruling and suspend from parliament those six lawmakers who are awaiting trial for their role in last year’s independence referendum. Together for Catalonia argues that Puigdemont doesn’t have to give up his seat, because — unlike the leader of the Republican Left, Oriol Junqueras — he is still a free man. Read more
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Catalan president Quim Torra have met for the first time.
The fact that a simple meeting is considered a step forward says something about how poorly Sánchez’ conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, managed relations between the Spanish state and its richest — and rebellious — region.
Beyond the symbolism of the meeting, the two leaders made substantive progress. Read more