Amadeu Altafaj, Permanent Representative to the European Union for Catalan Government was interviewed on Belgian public radio, RTBF by Bertrand Henne on “Matin Première”.
He insisted on the historically high participation (77%) in these elections which male the event a strong and decisive milestone in Catalunya’s history. The results are somewhat surprising compared to the mere 20% pro-indenpendance that were accounted for a few years ago, but he explains a shift in the mentalities that is due to growing frustration in the Catalan people for the Spanish government’s lack of ability to defend the catalan interests. 2010 was a decisive year in this when the Constitutional Court dismissed the carefully negotiated Statute of Autonomy.
He claims that the next steps will be to call for discussions with the Spanish authorities as well as EU institutions. Although heads of States have not shown support for Catalunya’s independence, he insists that the European Commission is open to the idea as are many national parliaments. He adds that the history of the European construction has shown time and time again that although heads of States tend to prefer the status quo, the EU is capable of evolution and creativity. He adds that the Catalan people are EU citizens by right, in addition to their nationality, making the legal implications more complicated. But the question at hand is, and should remain political not legal.
When asked if there was a risk that other European regions may take Catalunya’s lead he replied that a democratic act is never a threat. All countries and situations are unique but he shared his profound sense of admiration for Belgium’s political maturity and sense of dialogue and compromise which have lead to finding solutions to very sensitive and emotional issues.
Mr Altafaj concluded that the next step was to open discussions and negotiations in Madrid and Brussels.