Senyores i senyors, thank you for coming today to add your thoughts to a debate which will surely be enriched thanks to your contribution and which will help us see things with a clearer perspective by the time the day is over.
I want to say one thing about the Catalan process. The principal reason about this is to maintain or increase the welfare state of our people and power, through its effort, to keep the solidarity in all countries in the world,
The EU has been incorporating new states, sometimes without these being completely prepared, but it’s done so with the conviction that in a globalised world, which now includes new super powers, the only way for the EU to remain an actor within this new design is to build a Federal Europe. We could discuss this in a great deal more detail, and even devote an entire conference to it, and I’m sure that one day, sooner rather than later, we will.
But today we’re talking about much more than the possible birth of a new state. And right now, I’d just like to paint a few broad-brush strokes, in order to open out the discussion later.
I always say, up until now, and after what’s been happening in Greece even more so, Europe has been beneficial for Catalonia. It’s been so, for many reasons which later, will surely be discussed, but above all, it’s been so because a nation which has always looked to the north, has been able to leave behind the imprisonment which it suffered during 40 years of fascist dictatorship and that forced us to look south .
But if Europe has been beneficial for Catalonia, today Catalonia is beneficial for Europe, and it is so for many reasons which will also be discussed here later on. There is, however, one fundamental reason which I’ve been commenting on and writing about for the past decades.
Europe needs, in the south, a country which is a mirror of the north. During the seventh and eighth centuries, we already belonged to the Carolingian Empire; our capital was Aachem (Aix-la-Chapelle (F)/Aquisgrà (C)) while the peninsula was under Muslim rule, but ten centuries later, Catalonia continues to look north. The industrial revolution in Catalonia, exemplary for its realization without the use of primary materials and with private capital, was the only one in the entire peninsula.
And today, Europe needs this nation, a net contributor from day one, to continue to produce and help not only the Spanish state – 300.000 million euros in the last 25 years – but all states in need, as well as to contribute economic, cultural, social talent, entrepreneurially, etc.
I am not very optimistic about our immediate future either in the world or in Europe and even less so in Spain, I think we’re going to have a new crisis. Nevertheless, whether or not there crisis, Spain has a debt of one billion euros with an interest rate of 0.05% and our debt is still growing or – why not just say it? Spain has spent almost all its pension funds, what are we going to do? If you can imagine that this interest rate will rise to 1% (20 times more) or 2% (40 times more), I predict that Spain will not be able to pay and our situation will be the same as Greece and also, very bad for Europe. I’d like to finish my introduction with a double question:
Do you think that it’s best to keep Catalonia within the Spanish state and to sink its productive economy into it or to become independent and maintain its industries at full capacity which would allow us, for sure, to remain net contributors to the EU, to stay and to deal with part of the Spanish debt with our GDP or population and which would also allow us to create a sovereign fund (such as those already in place in Norway or Israel) to support specific projects in infrastructure and productive economy for the Spanish state.
I’ll leave it here, I hope that the day continues positively and enriches us all as part of this Europe that we all love so much.
Thank you very much.
VÍCTOR TERRADELLAS I MARÉReus, 1962). És president i fundador de la Fundació CATmón. Editor de Catalan International View i d’ONGC, revista de pensament polític, solidaritat, cooperació i relacions internacionals. Ha coordinat sempre l’activisme polític i social en la doble vessant nacional i internacional. Promotor principal de la Plataforma per la Sobirania ha estat, també, responsable d’actuacions destacades de cooperació i relacions internacionals catalanes en escenaris tan diversos com el Perú, Bolívia, Xile, Argentina, Bòsnia i Hercegovina, Kosovo, Albània, l’Afganistan, Mongòlia, el Pakistan o el Kurdistan. Ex Secretari de Relacions Internacionals de CDC.
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