María Jesús Cañizares, 29 March 2023
Pro-independence demonstrators with Estelada flags / PABLO MIRANZO – CG
A new system of autonomous financing and the effective recognition of linguistic plurality are some of the proposals of Portes Obertes del Catalanisme..
Professors of political science and economics declare that the ‘procés’ is dead and that it is therefore time to tackle reforms that include a new financing system, an improvement in the definition of autonomous powers and changes in the Senate as a chamber of territorial representation.
The document ‘Let’s make the road to reform possible’ is the result of a debate organised by Portes Obertes del Catalanisme, with the participation of Astrid Barrio, Professor of Political Science at the UV; Joan Botella, Professor of Political Science at the UAB and former President of Federalistes d’Esquerres; and Vicent Soler, former Minister of Finance of the Generalitat Valenciana and Professor of Applied Economics at the UV.
“Pain and wounds”
The report analyses the period of a ‘procés’ that “has caused pain and wounds in the heart of Catalan society” and whose balance “is entirely negative” because “not only has Catalonia not taken steps forward in relation to self-government”, but its institutions have lost “leadership and prestige in Spain and Europe”. They also denounce setbacks in “areas as diverse as renewable energies, public services, the fight against social inequalities and the modernisation of infrastructures”.
The experts consider that the strategy of deflation adopted by the Spanish government “beyond the controversy over the more technical aspects of the legal reforms implemented and the processing used, marks a path to try to correct the situation and return to the terrain of political negotiation on issues that cannot be dealt with solely from the judicial logic”.
“It is indisputable that the political atmosphere is relaxing. Today, however, communication and institutional collaboration between the Spanish government and the Generalitat is a fact. As is the dialogue between ERC and PSC-Units (and also ECP) in Parliament. It is obvious that this is not enough to open a stage of more far-reaching agreements, but it sets the conditions to make it viable”.
The authors of the document believe that “the exhaustion of the secessionist project, the attitude of the Spanish government and the dysfunctions in the institutional architecture of the State of the Autonomies make it possible to speak of the need for a reform agenda. Indeed, we can speak of the end of the ‘procés’ to make it clear that the independence movement today has neither the mobilising capacity nor the unifying capacity with which it was born more than 10 years ago”.
Collapse of the DUI
In this sense, they add that “the inexistence of a joint strategy among its various sectors, the collapse of the paradigm of the unilateral declaration of independence, the loss of inter-generational support for this cause and the evident lowering of the level of tension in Catalonia today, are arguments that support the thesis that the path to independence as it has been promoted in Catalonia until now is over”. They point out, however, that the steps taken in favour of the political normalisation of Catalonia “do not mean the disappearance of independence, but rather the possibility of its action being channelled through democratic channels”.
‘Open Doors of Catalanism’ is committed to a period of reforms that include a system of financing for the autonomous communities “that ensures sufficiency in the management of the powers attributed to them, fiscal co-responsibility (in income and expenditure), transparency of the system and solidarity”. They also advocate improving the definition of the powers of the autonomous regions and the guarantees for their exercise, “avoiding an expansive interpretation of the basic laws by the Cortes Generales and reducing constitutional conflict”.
Reform of the Senate
They also call for reform of the Senate, as a chamber of territorial representation and an essential instrument for the deliberation of State decisions that also affect the communities.
Together with these reforms, the document advocates the regulation of coordination institutions, such as the sectorial conferences and the conference of presidents; improving the means of participation in the definition of the Spanish position in European policy, in the areas in which the autonomous communities have powers; the improvement of mechanisms for participation in the legislative and normative work of the Spanish government, “the effective recognition of the linguistic and cultural plurality of the different nations and regions that make up Spain”, so that shared linguistic policies can be established for the recognition, defence and promotion of the different official languages of the State.