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Catalonia’s Aragonès calls for ‘Scotland-style’ referendum

Spain’s future government should agree to hold a ‘referendum like the one in Scotland’ in 2014, Catalonia’s regional prime minister, Pere Aragonès of the separatist ERC party, told the Spanish senate on Thursday.

In a confident yet defiant tone, Aragonès assured that sooner or later, “Catalonia will vote in a referendum” on its self-determination as a “nation” in the EU.

Contrary to what the “Spanish nationalist right-wing (PP and VOX)” claim, Catalonia is “a European, civic, democratic nation” that “wants to decide in peace, in freedom, among all the options, with democracy and recognition”, he added.

Aragonés also called on Spain’s next government to provide an amnesty for those involved in the 2017 secession attempt, saying it would be a “starting point” for resolving what Catalan separatist parties call the “political conflict” between the Spanish region and Madrid.

If Sanchez fails to form a governing coalition before the end of November, Spaniards will go back to the polls in January 2024.

After the defeat of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the Partido Popular (PP/EPP), the main opposition force in parliament, the Socialist candidate and acting prime minister Sánchez is trying to reach an inauguration and legislative agreement with the two main Catalan separatist parties: the centre-right Junts Per Catalunya (JxCat) and the left-wing ERC, his political rival.

To return to power, Sánchez will need the support of other nationalist and separatist formations, including the Basque party EHBildu, which has already pledged its support, and the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV).

Amnesties granted in the past

“Catalonia will vote in a referendum, I am convinced, out of will, out of perseverance, out of democracy. Always with an outstretched hand and always with our hands-free”, Aragonès stressed at the end of his speech in the senate, which he delivered only in Catalan.

On the other hand, he criticised those “scandalised” by the possibility of granting amnesty to those indicted for the events of 2017, some 6,000 people according to some expert estimates.

In his address to the senate, Aragonès recalled the “6,000 pardons” granted years ago by the governments of former prime ministers Felipe González (PSOE/S&D) and José María Aznar (PP/EPP) to, among others, “those convicted of corruption or state terrorism”, and the 1977 amnesty law that “prevents the investigation of the blood crimes of the dictatorship”.

A few minutes after finishing his speech, Aragonès left the senate building quickly, which provoked harsh criticism from the PP and parliament’s third-largest force, VOX.

Sumar taxes on banks and large energy firms kept

Meanwhile, the leader of the progressive Sumar platform and acting Labour Minister, Yolanda Díaz, urged Sanchez’s PSOE on Thursday to maintain the tax on banks and large energy companies so that “those who have the most” contribute more to “the public purse”, she said.

Although political analysts assume that if Sánchez returns to power, there will be a coalition agreement between his party and Sumar, with Díaz as his “number two”, the progressive platform has made it clear that it will not agree to everything and that Sánchez will have to make some political concessions and move “to the left”.

Díaz regretted on Thursday that PSOE “does not want” to maintain these special taxes, although she made it clear that Sumar will continue to “insist” that both levies be extended because “the way out of the crisis must be fair” she added.

(Fernando Heller EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)

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