Barcelona (ACN).- After last week’s 1.5 million strong demonstration for Catalonia’s independence from Spain, there is the general understanding that it represented a milestone in the relationship between Catalonia and Spain. The Catalan and the Spanish political arenas are trying to find a speech to react to this new reality. On Monday, the Secretary General of Catalonia’s main opposition party, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), gave a conference in Barcelona in which he proposed a “preferential bilateral relationship” between Catalonia and Spain, through the formula of an “asymmetrical federalism”. Pere Navarro proposed “to reformulate” the “constitutional agreement” from 1977 by which the Catalan Government was restored. This agreement was prior to the Spanish Constitutional’s pact, from 1978, which later gave rise to the 17 Autonomous Communities. Navarro stated that “the people of Catalonia are asking for being able to decide [on their own future]. In order to do that the agreement by which Catalonia recovered its autonomy needs to be renovated; the constitutional agreement of the Catalan autonomy, prior to the agreement of the [Spanish] Constitution”. However, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which is formed by federated territorial parties such as the PSC, does not seem to agree with Navarro’s proposal. After the demonstration, Navarro asked the PSOE to embrace federalism and work for a reformulation of the Spanish State. Several voices have asked for the same thing on Spanish media. However, on Sunday, Rubalcaba visited Catalonia for the first time after the demonstration and he did not mention the word “federalism” a single time in his speech. The PSOE’s proposal seems to be an adjustment of the current status quo, starting with Spain’s current fiscal redistribution scheme.
On Monday, the PSC Secretary General, Pere Navarro, stated in front of an audience made of businesspeople that for him “there is only one way and it is named ‘federalism’”. In fact, the PSC has traditionally defended a federal Spain, with the recognition of Catalonia’s national status within the Spanish State. In the weeks before the demonstration, which it already seemed would be massive, Navarro remarked that the PSC has been proposing “a federal Spain” for the last years and was not supporting the independence. Therefore, the PSC was not officially attending last week’s massive demonstration, but some of its members did so, at a personal level. Navarro did not demonstrate.
Pere Navarro defended “the recognition of Catalonia’s national status through a preferential bilateral relationship” with the Spanish Government on Monday. This way, according to Navarro, there would be a “consolidation of a high level of self-government and Catalonia’s direct participation in the formation of the Spanish State’s will”. For Navarro, this means to retake the spirit of the 1977 agreement, which was a “constitutional agreement” as it restored Catalonia’s self-government before the Spanish Constitution – which was approved in 1978. “That was a truly federal agreement, based on the union in freedom”, stated Navarro.
For the PSC’s Secretary General, Spain needs to reformulate its state structure, a normal process for any country. In fact, Navarro insisted on the normality of the process. “Even some people within the People’s Party (PP) want to reformulate the Spanish State”, said Navarro. “To build a federal state, we need to make sure that those who constitute this state feel comfortable in it. In Spain there are Autonomous Communities that want greater self-government levels, while others want the opposite”, he said. Therefore, an “asymmetrical federalism” is needed to solve the situation, in which there would be different levels of autonomy.