The Catalan referendum, at the great Norwegian political festival
Catalonia has been present for the first time at Arendalsuka, the Norwegian festival that brings together politicians, members of civil society and the main think tanks of the country
Within a month and a half of the celebration of the self-determination referendum in Catalonia, the sixth edition of the Arendalsuka festival ("Arendal Week", referring to the Norwegian town where this important Nordic festival takes place annually) hosted a debate on Thursday on the right to decide, the importance of referendums and, in particular, the Catalan case and the plebiscite of October 1.
The event, organized jointly by the Europabevegelsen (European Movement of Norway) and the Diplomacy of Public Diplomacy of Catalonia (Diplocat), was held under the title "The right to be heard: referendums are our best democratic tool?".
The debate was structured in four different parts. In the introductory part, Professor Jan Erik Grindheim, President of Europabevegelsen, analysed the use and function of referendums within various democratic models, and affirmed that its suitability depends on the context in which it is framed in each case. Next, the general director of Foreign Affairs of the Catalan Government, Marina Falcó, explained the Catalan case and emphasised the legitimate, guaranteeing and binding nature of the referendum on October 1, after almost a decade of Citizen mobilisations and trying without success to negotiate with the Spanish State.
Jan Erik Mustad, professor at the University of Agder, after analysing the Scottish case and the referendum on Brexit, asked the following questions: "Was the Scottish referendumt a legitimate tool? Possibly yes. And the referendum on Brexit? Surely not". Finally, Asle Toje, research director of the Nobel Peace Institute, thoroughly analysed the experience (which all the speakers agreed to define as "traumatic") of the 1972 and 1994 referendums, in which Norway refused to enter the European Union. The moderator of the debate was Erik Løkke, researcher at the Norwegian think tank Civita.
Albert Royo, secretary general of Diplocat, explained that "Norway is a country with a long democratic tradition in holding referendums and this is probably why the Catalan case arises interest." He also said that this event ends "the series of debates on Catalonia at summer political festivals in Nordic and Baltic countries promoted by Diplocat, where we have been able to verify that the right of self-determination is a democratic right deeply rooted in their societies".
Catalonia's political situation has been debated during the last few weeks at Folkemødet (Denmark), Lampa (Latvia), Almedalsveckan (Sweden) and Arvamusfestival (Estonia).
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Last updated: 31 August 2017