The FAES Foundation, chaired by José María Aznar, has published a report which asks and answers twenty essential questions about the undergoing secessionist process in Catalonia. The text provides a solid and at the same time synthetic argumentation of all historical, legal, political, social and cultural aspects at work in Catalonia’s call for independence.
The document, entitled 20 Questions and Answers on the Secession of Catalonia is divided into four sections. The first one deals with the ‘why’, namely, the arguments put forward to support secession; the second one deals with the ‘how’, the route that will be followed to achieve secession; thirdly, at what price, namely, the cost of the process; and fourthly, the purpose, what would be the likely outcome of secession. In addition, each assertion is supported with solvency by a previous work of reflection and debate which, coordinated by FAES inside and outside Catalonia, has gathered many voices belonging to the spheres of academia, politics, business and civil society.
FAES states in the prologue that the document, also published in Catalan, has emanated from the “conviction that the secession of Catalonia, if it were to occur, far from being the ultimate expression of Catalan identity, would only be the result of the mutilation and breaking of that same identity . That of the Catalans and of all the Spanish people”. It goes on to say that “the process claims to be the genuine expression of democracy” but “fails all criteria defining what democracy means in an advanced society: Rule of Law, representative institutions and plurality.
"The text also states that the secessionist process “wants to offer a friendly face open to dialogue, but it starts off with ‘Spain robs us’. It claims to seek a future of harmony, but portrays with the blackest of strokes a false history of Spain's continued aggression to Catalonia. It boasts of Europeanism, but hides the fact that the Catalonia they have sold as a welfare utopia would be excluded from the European Union”. It reminds the reader that the separatists "talk of an alleged ‘right to decide’ without specifying that such a thing simply does not exist, and if it did it would only offer self-determination as the enabling instrument for the unilateral rupture of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation and the State." "And while a distant memory of grievances and plundering is fabricated, something that is much closer and authentic is forgotten: that freedoms and self-government are possible because of the Constitution, not in spite of it”, the prologue goes on to say.
The first section of the document addresses the reasons given by Catalan nationalism for secession. FAES emphasizes that the Spanish constitution was a collective achievement and warns that the split would leave Catalonia outside Europe." Secessionism not only does not fit in the European Union for legal reasons, but because it goes against the spirit and meaning of the whole European process.” , the report says. It is also stated that what secession “says about Catalonia disowns the Catalans of their contributions the Spanish constituent process and, through it, in the process of European integration”.
The second section analyzes the roadmap developed by secessionism in order to move towards a referendum on independence. The report responds, inter alia, to questions about the right to decide and the legality of the consultation, pointing out that “only by the will of all can you change what was
built by the will of all” and that this is “a guiding principle of all constitutional systems” .FAES states that the secessionist process is “consciously and willfully,
being developed outside the Rule of Law" The consultation is “unconstitutional and illegal,” goes on to say, “its core, the right to decide, is so. And so are all the procedures studied with which they have tried–and largely succeeded–to spread among the Catalan people the false impression that the consultation is possible, legal and inevitable".
AT WHAT PRICE
In its thirds section, the report warns that “for all Spaniards, but especially for Catalans seeing how separatists conceal and falsify the economic consequences of their project of secession should be a cause of serious alarm" "Accusing the rest of Spain of ‘plunder’ and ‘theft’, as separatists have done and insist
on doing, shows not just a deep ignorance on economic matters, but also irresponsibility and disregard for the fate of the Catalans, whose life would change
dramatically–becoming much worse–if secession were to take place”, the text adds. The report concludes that the secessionist adventure leads to “the economic and social default of Catalonia " and notes “the clear disparity between the immense and certain costs which the Catalans would have to suffer and the alleged identity and intangible benefits claimed by separatists to defend their cause."
Lastly, the fourth section studies the consequences of a possible secession, explaining how “the isolation and institutional and economic
weakness of a seceded Catalonia would very probably turn it into a vulnerable area from any point of view and, of course, internationally irrelevant." It also reviews the negative political impacts secession would have not only on the whole of Spain but on the integration process as such and on the deep integration dynamics that take place around the world. “
20 Questions and Answers on the Secession of Catalonia provides a final conclusion which points out that "the Catalans do not share the reductionist identitarian approach defended by nationalism." and that "the Catalan society largely sees as complementary that which secessionism presents as incompatible”. "Therefore, it points out, "the gravest consequence of the secessionist process would be the internal fracture of Catalan society and, consequently, of Spanish society as a whole; coexistence can be demanding and even complex, but in Spain it has been deep and profound for centuries and has produced many more social, economic and civic advantages than any of its alternatives will ever produce”.
The report states that "Catalan and Spanish have never been mutually exclusive terms; on the contrary, the intention of separating them can only be traumatic” and its result would be a an impoverished, internally fractured and internationally isolated Catalonia”." "Secession is probably the most absurd and gratuitously destructive political, economic and social endeavour in the history of Catalonia. An act opposed to the Spanish and European political civilisation, a civilisation that the Catalans have helped make possible”, concludes the document.
This is not the first time that FAES publishes a report dealing with the situation in Catalonia. The Foundation already addressed the issue in its 2012 report ´El mito fiscal. Razones para un debate’, in which the theory of fiscal plundering was debunked and the proposals made by the nationalists for altering the financing system were put into question.