Valencia, Spain | Disparities between the political parties in Valencia on the Right to Decide of Catalonia
Academics and politicians debated on the Catalan process at a conference organized by DIPLOCAT jointly with the University of Valencia
It was predictable that there would be no agreement but intense dialogue between the political parties who participated in a debate on Catalonia at La Nau Cultural Centre of the University of Valencia (UV). All parties represented in the Valencian Parliament had accepted the invitation of the Council of Public Diplomacy of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) and UV to take part in the conference "Is there a right to decide in the Spanish Constitution?". Similar events had already taken place in European cities and of the Spanish State, such as Bilbao, Madrid, Seville and Zaragoza. The participants coincided in one thing: the dialogue established in events like this one is positive and political will is needed to solve the Catalan question.
The audience was welcomed by Andrés Boix Palop, Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Valencia, who showed his satisfaction with the unanimous positive reply of political parties to participate in the conference. Albert Royo, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, referred to "existing common interests between Catalonia and Valencia, such as the Mediterranean Corridor" and raised the possibility that Valencia "could function as a bridge between Barcelona and Madrid when looking for solutions."
Round table with politicians from Valencia
Then followed the first round table, moderated by the Vice President of the Valencia Journalist Association, Violeta Tena Barreda. Ferran Martínez, representative of Podemos, spoke of the concept of "regime change" and explained the sovereignist process in relation with existing structural limits of the Spanish State to self-reform, as well as with the economic crisis, while the sentence of the Constitutional Court on the Statute of Catalonia was only a minor and short-term cause. Martinez said he was proud of the fact that Podemos has taken over from PSOE and IU the defense of the plurinational state and the right to self-determination of its people.
The representative of Ciudadanos, Emigdio Tormo, appreciated the opportunity to discuss an issue like this knowing that at the table very opposing views were represented. Tormo, an airline pilot, explained that "from the air no flags or borders are seen, but in regions such as the Basque Country or Catalonia there are many who want to build them." Tormo, who described himself as "non-nationalist", criticized the lack of rights for those in Catalonia who do not agree with nationalism and also said that for Ciudadanos the projects for the future are "Europe and Spain".
Àgueda Micó, Secretary of Compromís (Bloc Nacionalista Valencià), also made the positioning of Compromís clear when recognising the plurinationality of the Spanish State and regretted that "the Spanish dominant culture sees giving space to other cultures as a problem". Micó considers the Statute of Catalonia, approved in 2006 as "a peaceful way to strengthen its self-government" and that afterwards a highly politicized Constitutional Court destroyed it. With a clear attitude of sympathy and admiration for the Catalan process, Micó ended by claiming full respect for the will of the Catalans to define their political future.
The representative and socialist MP José Enrique Muñoz Lladró was sceptical whether an independent Catalan state automatically implied greater equality or social welfare for the Catalans. At the same time, he was however also very critical of the difficulty of the Spanish State to accept pluri-nationality in its territory. Muñoz said that in a scenario of train crash, dialogue becomes very difficult, and was very clear on his positive position regarding the Right to Decide, but provided this takes place within the legal constitutional framework and knowing what is to be decided. He also spoke out in favour of a constitutional reform that recognizes the uniqueness of Catalonia and a new statute of Catalonia; and he said that his highest aspiration is equality and warned that frustration can be a factory for separatists.
Finally, the representative of the Popular Party, MP María José Ferrer San-Segundo, started her discourse with four concepts: respect, awareness, concern and hope. San-Segundo, who recalled that she had been a candidate of Miquel Roca’s Reform Party, denied catalanofobia in the ranks of the Popular Party and explained that she, like many others, want Catalonia to remain part of Spain. She also praised the efforts in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 to integrate the nationalities and regions and recalled that Catalonia voted in favour of this Constitution, the result being above Spanish average. She made some self-criticism on political parties’ reactions in relation to the judgment of the Constitutional Court on the Statute and recognized the incongruity of, for example, some of the articles challenged in Catalonia being in force in the Statute of Andalusia. Finally, she stressed that there is no legal basis for the concept "Right to Decide" and that there is a need to define technical aspects such as the significance of "majority", which territorial base is used and how minorities are respected.
During the debate, former Mayor of Valencia with PSPV, Ricard Pérez Casado, responded to Emigdio Tormo that it is Spanish nationalism which seeks to build borders, by unconditionally defending an article 2 of the Spanish Constitution which was result of “military pressure".
Round table with academics
The second round table, moderated by Andrés Boix was of more academic nature, in which different university professors opined and debated the possibility of fitting the Right to Decide of Catalonia in the Spanish Constitution from a strictly legal point of view. Participated: Xacobe Bastida, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Oviedo; Jorge Cagiao, Professor of Spanish Law at the University of Tours (France); Gennaro Ferraiuolo, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University Federico II of Naples (Italy) and author, together with Cagiao, of the book “The constitutional place of the Right to Decide, a polemic point of view”, which will be presented in Barcelona on 2 June; Eva Pons, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Barcelona and Member of the Legal Advisory Council of the Government of Catalonia; and Margarita Soler, Professor of Constitutional Law at the UV and Member of the Legal Advisory Council of the Valencian Community.
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The Office of the Vice-principal for Culture of the University of Valencia has as one of the main objectives the promotion of the cultural heritage of the University of Valencia. The historical building of la Nau is undoubtedly the main bastion of the University of Valencia, with regard to both the building itself and its inside. This unique building is located in the centre of Valencia and embodies the very history of the University and also holds part of the university’s most important heritage collection. Further to being a testimony of history, la Nau has been converted according to the wish of the University to become its main cultural reference. The building contains the historic library, the former rectory, the assembly hall, the lecture hall, the Matilde Salvador hall, the chapel, exhibition rooms, lecture rooms and cultural management administration.
Last updated: 14 June 2016