Cataloniens ekspræsident Carles Puigdemont tog tirsdag imod sin nyvalgte afløser, Quim Torra, på et hotel i Berlin.
With a soothing hand on each other’s backs, they stepped out of the elevator and into a flash light from photographers. After all, a bit of a rarity that two presidents from a country that does not exist, take the media in a completely different country to explain their situation.
So it was nevertheless Catalonia’s ex-president Carles Puigdemont which late Tuesday accepted his newly elected successor, Quim Torra, at the hotel in the West Berlin district where the former currently resides. Although Carles Puigdemont still faces up to 30 years in prison in Spain if he handed over for trial from Germany, spirits were high at the press conference.
“Guten Tag und vielen Dank,” shouted Carles Puigdemont initially in German to the many journalists and photographers. After which he and successor proceeded to answer questions on alternating Catalan, Spanish and English.
The two presidents
Both gentlemen, as mutually called each other ‘Mr. President ‘, made it clear from the start what the goal is for Catalonia. The northern Spanish region since the government Carles Puigdemont printed referendum on October 1 last year, according to the Spanish Government in breach of the Spanish Constitution and therefore illegal, been in a kind of political deadlock.
After Carles Puigdemont later that month declared Catalonia as an independent republic, prompting Spain to put the region under central control from Madrid, the usually large degree of independence, been put out of action.
“My first act as president will be to send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, urging to give the lift the government’s control of Catalonia and our finances. He can determine the time and place, but we have a dialogue now, “said Quim Torra.
Spanish party leaders threaten
The new president, who this week was elected with a majority of one in Catalonia’s parliament, la Generalitat, is a confident independence politician. This has caused concern in Spain. It brought together government leader Mariano Rajoy of the conservative party PP with the leader of the Socialists, PSOE, Pedro Sanchez, while the press conference in Berlin.
From the meeting issued the two party leaders a declaration in which they criticize the ‘xenefobiske character in Torras public statements “and warns that together they will confront” any challenge’ from the new government in Catalonia.
This means that any time is ready to restore central rule from Madrid. “It will be much easier to implement the second time ‘which Social Democrat Pedro Sánchez said.
Section 155 must be repealed
As soon as Catalonia’s parliament has elected a new government expected Spain to abolish the use of the so-called Section 155 of the country’s constitution. The article gives the central government in Madrid the opportunity to intervene and take over regional autonomy, if a region acts contrary to Spanish law.
The leader of the civil ciudadanos which is supporting party of the government Rajoy, Albert Rivera, is averse to repealing the central control of Catalonia.
“With a racist president who says he will establish a Catalonian republic, there is no alternative but to stick with the Constitutional provisions,” said Albert Rivera at a news conference this week in Madrid.
But what about the economy?
Besides the political regime, the question is whether the Spanish government will immediately give control of the Catalonian economy back to the regional government in Barcelona. In Madrid feared officially that the Catalonian government will use public funds to finance the ongoing struggle for independence.
Just that – using tax money to an illegal election campaign – is the smallest part of the charges against Carles Puigdemont. He is also charged with encouraging and committing violent insurgency – rebeliion – against the Spanish State.
German courts have doubts
A charge of the courts in Germany have so far found groundless and therefore refused to extradite the former president, who stays at large in Berlin.
“We still consider as Puigdemont as our legitimate president and we will never give up the fight to remove the unfair charges against him. Nor do we give up to get freed political prisoners from Catalonia in Spanish prisons. Several of our ministers are imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. The kind should not take place in the EU, “said Quim Torra at the press conference.
Here pointed to the two presidents on the symbolism of their meeting. Quim Torra:
“It is important that my first visit as president was here to Berlin, while my second visit will be to visit the political prisoners from Catalonia in prisons. They are democratic and honest politicians who have only done what the people asked them to do. ”
According to several German media, the Spanish intelligence service CNI, provoked German politicians and courts by acting on German soil without permits. The Spanish intelligence service had mounted viewfinders in the car, Carles Puigdemont and a small retinue drove in from Finland to Belgium when he was arrested at the border between Denmark and Germany in March.
A behavior that supposedly does not exactly have voted the German courts to extradite ex-president to be prosecuted in Spain.
At the press conference stated Quim Torra that he sees himself as a “sort of temporary janitor to the president’s back.”
Spain does not negotiate with separatists
At Politiken questions about how he will get the Spanish Government, which has so far refused to negotiate with representatives of the separatists in Catalonia, in conversation, he replied:
“I can only say that we urge Spain to dialogue, I do not dictate what the dialogue should be about. But we must now meet as two equal partners with mutual respect, “said Quim Torra.
At his side added Carles Puigdemont:
“Catalonia and Spain is in a political conflict that must be solved politically and not through the courts, not by the prosecutor or the police, but at the negotiating table. It is shameful that the Spanish government will not realize it. We have tried to get them to talk with us for years. ”
“Poor education, Spanish snobbery … ‘
The new president of Catalonia, who recently described himself as “a separatist in emotions’ in parliament, is burdened by numerous statements on Twitter with very negative content against Spain and Spaniards. Several of the messages are gone, but some of the more controversial you could read statements like:
“Spaniards know only to plunder”, “shame is a word that the Spaniards long ago deleted in their dictionaries ‘and’ Above all, it is surprising tone: Poor education, Spanish snobbery, feeling bad – horrible.”
At the press conference in Berlin failed Quim Torra to answer questions about his Tweets, but let Carles Puigdemont say:
“We catalonere have no problems with the Spaniards, only with their government. On the contrary, I see a good opportunity to engage in dialogue with all in Spain, which is also fighting for a republic ‘.