Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oriol Junqueras: "Rajoy's outstretched hand is a big lie"

Jordi Basté interviewed Oriol Junqueras, the president of ERC [Catalan Republican Left] and leader of the opposition in the Catalan Parliament this morning on his radio show, El Món a RAC1 (The World on RAC1). They kindly made the transcript available, and gave me permission to translate it into English.

The president of ERC does not trust the offer of dialog from [Spanish President] Mariano Rajoy to [Catalan President] Artur Mas. Oriol Junqueras believes that “Rajoy's outstretched hand is a big lie”. In an interview on El món a RAC1, he explained that “the Spanish government systematically breaks its promises” and “encourages Catalans to tell them, ‘this time you're not going to fool us’”. Junqueras defends the position that if the sovereignty process must be accelerated, “the Catalan government must look to Europe for a bridge-loan” that could be guaranteed on the basis of recovery from the fiscal deficit. On the budget approval process, the Republican leader assumes that the debate is not on the deficit ceiling but on the degree to which it will not be followed. In the interview with El món a RAC1, Oriol Junqueras, president of ERC also said:

“We are all trying to fulfill our agreements. The Spanish state tends to make offers when things get out of hand, and then they go back on them. This is a lesson we have learned over and over. They have deceived us so many times that I hope that everyone's eyes are open this time.”

“I have spoken with Artur Mas and when I did, it was not yet known that he had spoken with Rajoy. Yes we spoke about the rest of the matters.”

[On the Mas-Rajoy meeting] “It doesn't seem good or bad that he didn't mention it to me. I do value the importance of dialog, but with the Spanish government there's not really any point, because they don't ever fulfill what they promise. Yes, I would be worried if there was a temptation to trust those who have always betrayed our confidence.”

“They are always generous with their promises and miserly in their execution. I can't avoid an ironic smile when faced with so many unfulfilled promises. Whether Catalonia collects 100% of the IRPF [an income tax] is not the problem, but rather how what is collected is distributed, and that is still decided by the State. Until we have the capacity to manage our own taxes we will continue to be in the hands of the Spanish.”

“It is a dramatic situation. The more pressure that comes from the Spanish governemnt, the more motives we'll have to make decisions in the process of self-determination. If it is not in our hands, it will be in the hands of those who don't fulfill their commitments. It's pretty hard for them to argue in Catalonia against the fiscal asphyxia. If we don't keep our wits about us, we will believe their promises that they never keep.”

“I don't believe in Rajoy's outstretched hand. It's a big lie, as it has always been. They always come around with nice words and promises that they never keep. There are rulings from the Constitutional Court that say they don't have to fulfill their own fundamental laws. With what confidence can this process be faced? It is only with the strength of the citizens of Catalonia, to whom we need to look in these moments of national drama.”

“ERC maintains its confidence in the President of Catalonia. It is necessary for all of us. And he is conscious that these promises, that haven't even been made yet, will not be kept. They should start keeping the old promises that they made long ago and haven't fulfilled yet. ”

[On upcoming meeting with Mas] “I don't have a date, but I don't know, I'm not in charge of my agenda. I don't know which day it will be.”

“It doesn't bother me, really. The Government has to talk to everyone.”

“Notice how many houses of cards we build when we don't even have the cards.”

“There are people who, in good faith, tell us to trust the Spanish government. But how can we trust a Spanish government that is now asking for a 6% deficit ceiling from Europe when this very same government was just shown up for lying about complying with the deficit ceiling? This is a government that doesn't keep its promises, the Spanish government constantly lies, it tried to deceive the European Commission with respect to the deficit, it holds the records in the most number of complaints filed for trying to bypass European directives. What kind of trust can we have in a government that specializes in avoiding fulfilling its commitments, that specializes in bypassing European directives and that holds the record for the most environmental infractions in the whole of the European Union? How can we put our future in the hands of a disaster like that one?”

“What is a terrible risk for the people of Catalonia is to continue as we are. What is a risk for any citizen is to continue to put our future in the hands of the Spanish government like the present one and the one before, and the one before that that is doing everything so badly. That is a risk, it's obvious. What is a risk is to keep trusting a government that has brought the Spanish State to having six million unemployed people. That is a risk. What beats all is then to say, ‘no, what would be risky is to leave this state’. What is really terrifying, what is literally horrible, is to stay in a state that has all these problems I mentioned earlier, the highest unemployment in Europe, the record for not complying...”

“If we accelerate the process, we will have to pay the salaries at the end of the month, taking into account and relying on the international context, relying that there will be someone who will finance us, since we do have the capacity to pay off this debt. Why does the Spanish State have such little credit? Because it spends much more than it brings in. Last year, the Spanish State collected 160 billion euros in taxes and spent 240 billion. One third of what the Spanish state spends, one out of every three euros, is added to the debt. In Catalonia's case, it's totally the opposite because the Catalan citizenry pays more taxes that what is eventually spent in our country. And therefore, since we pay more in taxes that what is eventually spent here, in contrast with the Spanish State, we *can* give a solid guarantee that we will be able to be responsible for our commitments, because we pay more in taxes than what is spent here.”

[There is more but I don't have time to translate it now though I heartily recommend listening to it. There is a transcript on El món a RAC1's page, and the original Catalan audio there as well.]

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