Juan José López Burniol, 25 November 2023
Meeting of Santos Cerdán with Carles Puigdemont in Brussels / LV
Spain’s capitulation to the Catalan separatists took place in Brussels on Thursday 9 November 2023. It was signed by Santos Cerdán and Jordi Turull, but the image that will go down in history will be that of a repanting and grey Cerdán before a condescending Carles Puigdemont. The PSOE, Spain’s governing party, and the Catalan separatist party Junts per Catalunya signed an agreement to unblock Sánchez’s investiture, which, in addition to including as its main pact the amnesty of the prosecuted separatists, fully and unreservedly assumes the nationalist narrative justifying Catalan secession.
In fact, almost half of the text of the agreement is devoted (under the heading ‘Background’) to a calculated list of grievances, which unashamedly avoids key episodes such as the disconnection laws. And the following section (‘Historic opportunity’) makes things clear, stating that ‘these agreements must respond to the majority demands of the Parliament of Catalonia, which (…) legitimately represents the people of Catalonia’, which implies that the PSOE admits the implicit bankruptcy of Spanish national sovereignty.
If the pact between PSOE and Junts is fulfilled, Catalonia will be independent.
Consequently, everything has already been said before getting into the matter: the separatists are right, and Catalonia must decide. That said, let’s look at the agreements:
1) Self-determination: The separatists consider “legitimate the result and mandate of the referendum of 1 October, as well as the declaration of independence of 27 October 2017”. And it is true that the socialists “deny all legality and validity to the referendum and the declaration”. But, given that, as we have seen, “these agreements must respond to the majority demands of the Catalan Parliament”, the inference is clear: there will be a referendum of self-determination in Catalonia, under this or any other name, under the protection of article 92 of the Constitution.
2) Mechanism of accompaniment, verification and monitoring: its mere existence implies the implicit and reciprocal acceptance by both parties that they represent two sovereign countries (Spain and Catalonia) in the process of agreeing their separation and in need of the mediation of a neutral third party.
3) Self-control of its own resources: If the Catalan Parliament (which, let us remember, is sovereign) so wishes, it will immediately proceed to “an amendment of the Lofca that establishes an exception clause for Catalonia (…) that facilitates the transfer of 100% of all taxes paid in Catalonia”.
4) Plan to facilitate and promote the return to Catalonia of the headquarters that have moved “in recent years”: although, according to the agreement, Catalonia could be an independent country in the near future.
5) Amnesty: the explicit mention that “the application of the amnesty law (…) will take into account situations included in the concept of lawfare or judicialisation of politics”. This leaves the door open for Spanish judges competent in cases arising from the pro-Cruz to be summoned before a parliamentary committee to answer questions on the reasons for their sentences.
6) Direct participation of Catalonia in European institutions: the logical corollary of what has been agreed; Catalonia must have her own voice in Europe.
During the investiture session, Miriam Nogueras demanded that President Sánchez, in a stern speech, be brave and fulfil his pact to sustain the legislature. To which Sánchez responded, modest and contrite: “You can count on the PSOE’s and my own commitment to fulfil the agreement”. If this is the case, Catalonia will be independent during the next legislature. But it is also true that, with Sánchez, you never know. In any case, Spain has already capitulated. In short: a sovereign Catalan parliament, amnesty, full financial autonomy, and political review of court rulings. It may be made up, but that is what was agreed, all for the sake of an investiture? No. There is something deeper: a shared desire for the removal of power.