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Catalan pro-Independence movement keeps changing legal precedents and using them to justify a referendum of independence.

13/08/2019 18:12

Eva Granados – MP of PSC at Catalan Parlament

The changing precedents of the referendum

First, in 2013 the Advisory Council for National Transition (CATN) recommended preferably justifying “the process of self-determination as a last resort to remedy an unfair situation” such as “the undeniable” financial grievance, quoting the International Court of Justice (TIJ) on Kosovo. Then, in 2017 the referendum on self-determination law began with these words: “The pacts […] approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1966 […] recognize the right of peoples to self-determination first of human rights “. And, in a recent conference, the President of Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent, did not speak of “self-determination”, but instead proposed, as indicated in the title, “A clarity pact to celebrate a referendum.” Let’s look at some possible reasons for this evolution.

Andreu Mas-Colell told the London School of Economics that “approximately, Catalonia pays taxes in proportion to its contribution to GDP and receives in proportion to its population,” that is, “Catalonia approximately pays for income and receives by population “. Therefore, Catalunya receives the deal that Pasqual Maragall or Oriol Junqueras have described as fair and, therefore, it is difficult to justify the economic grief. And it does not seem that Catalonia has the “serious humanitarian situation” of Kosovo referred to in the TIJ.

Referring specifically to the pacts mentioned in the referendum law, CATN said that “resolution 2.625 specified that the right of self-determination recognized by the United Nations referred to colonial situations.” Therefore, the legal framework quoted by the law is inappropriate according to the CATN.

In response to my article, Miquel Puig explained that the model of the new proposal by Roger Torrent corresponds to the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada (TSC) that the Canadian government used as a basis for the law of clarity. And the professors of the UPF, Ferran Requejo (ex-member of the CATN) and Marc Sanjaume have focused on the same line.

Is it finally a valid precedent? The three authors argue that yes, quoting parts as “A government system can not survive only by respect for the law,” and then claim that, accordingly, the opinion of the Court states that “the federal government and the Other provinces will have to negotiate with Québec if “double clarity” occurs (question and majority). ”

They do not explain, however, that the same opinion of the high Court says that “it must be considered that the secession of a province of Canada, in legal terms, requires an amendment to the Constitution” and they also rivet that those who have others opinions “will not persuade us”.

That is, the opinion of the High Court stipulates that there is only one way to negotiate: the constitutional reform with the existing mechanism. Thus, the Canadian route is ‘de facto’ equivalent to that of countries, almost all of them, where the Constitution does not include secession.

For this reason, as explained J.F. Lisea on TV3, Québec independentism considers it an “impossible” way, since it implies that “if one of the ten provinces is against it, Quebec could not be independent.” Instead, the prime minister of the federal government, Jean Chrétien liked the opinion of the High Court: “It was published at 9.45 in the morning and we were ecstatics. We could not have asked for more. The opinion was wise, eloquent and sensitive. “

In short, the three authors propose as a new model an opinion rejected as a whole by Québec independentists and applauded by the federal government of Canada, they do not provide an example of democracy that provides for the allegedly exemplary practice resulting from the partial reading that they do, and ignore that the law of legal and foundational transitionality of the Republic did not establish any right to secession in the case of a “clear and persistent majority.”

And the same thing happened with the other countries mentioned as precedents.

Oriol Junqueras told in interviews in the main media that countries such as Ireland, Greenland and Norway were independent thanks to referenda given, respectively, by the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden, the same type he is asking for.

But was it that way? Ireland became independent not by any referendum but from a war with the United Kingdom. Greenland is not independent of Denmark, it was a colony, a province, and now it is an autonomous region. Norway approved “the dissolution of the union with Sweden under a king” without reference to any independence and later made a referendum on what “had already occurred.” Stéphane Dion, the author of the law of clarity, says that “Sweden and Norway were already recognized as separate entities with two judicial systems, two non-hierarchical governments, two citizenships, two armies and no Swedish population in Norway. They only shared diplomacy and king.

” In contrast to these examples, in the book ‘The Catalan crisis: an opportunity for Europe’, published in several languages, former president Carles Puigdemont quotes the referendum of David Cameron as a precedent.

If there were more referenda, surely he would also have included them for their utmost usefulness to international public opinion.

But beyond the interesting debate about political philosophy and comparative law, the responsibility of all is to restore harmful coexistence. Affirming that we only want a referendum on a large agreement, we want to emphasize that a referendum of independence as a fixed binary photo would be the worst solution and would never satisfy a diverse society. We, the politicians would be passing our citizens the responsability and we will be even more divided.

I would like to ask the defenders of a referendum on independence if they believe, after living in recent years, that we would be better after an inevitably divisive vote, as Artur Mas said in 2011 when he was still against. And I do not know if Mr. Puig, defending the argument of the majority “clear and persistent,” justifies the “We will do it again.”



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