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"Catalonia will become independent, its example will be followed by the Basque country"

"Catalonia will become independent, its example will be followed by the Basque country" GazetaExpress

Pablo Gonzalez, is a Basque journalist, along with hundreds of other journalists from around the world witnessed Madrid’s police violence against the Catalans, while the latter were voting in the 1 October independence referendum.

During an interview with Gazeta Express, Gonzalez says the brutal intervention was experienced badly not only by supporters, but opponents of the independence as well.

According to him, the Parliament of Catalonia will declare independence, but Madrid will use violence to prevent the Catalonian Assembly from doing so.

 The journalist evaluates that Catalonia will become an independent state, but this is not going to be an easy ride. According to him, the Catalan example will be followed by the Basque country and other regions in Spain.

But, what will happen next to the region that was troubled during the recent weeks? Is there any potential for Civil War in Spain, as some European officials are predicting? Can the Catalan referendum ignite separatism movements in other regions in Spain and are the cases of Catalonia and Kosovo comparable?

Read the interview with the Basque journalists, that recently has been covering the Ukraine crises, while in the past visited and reported on Kosovo, too.

Express:

A week ago, Catalonia held a referendum on breaking away from Spain. Madrid sent police officers to stop the referendum. How did the citizens, including those who oppose the independence, view the police intervention?

Gonzalez:

Overall bad. Nobody likes to beat their relatives, friends or neighbors just because they want to vote peacefully.

Express:

What are the main reasons why the Catalans want to break away from Spain? Are all Catalans in favour of the independence?

Gonzalez:

The reasons are several, mostly being historical and cultural. Catalonia is an ancient nation with a long journey in its desire for independence. Another reason is uncooperativeness of the Madrid government when it comes to dealing with the negotiations on the status of Catalonia within Spain.

Another reason is the economy, after the crisis of 2008 accelerated the discontent of the Catalans and their desire for independence from Spain, in order to spend their money as he pleases without subsidizing other less prosperous Spanish regions.

The latest data before the referendum says that about 60% of the Catalans support independence. It is very possible that now the figure is about 75-85%, but there is no reliable data at the moment.

Express:

Is Barcelona unhappy only because of financial reasons and is that why they want to become an independent state?

Gonzalez:

It's not just that. History and culture also play an important role in this.

Express:

You are a citizen of Spain, and Basque – do you support Catalonia independence?

Gonzalez:

Yes, I totally support the independence of Catalonia. I hope they will open the door for us.

Express:

Tomorrow, the regional parliament of Catalonia is expected to declare independence. Do you think they will be able to do so and do you believe that Spain will use its police forces, again?

Gonzalez:

They will declare independence, but it is not clear whether immediately or to be effective in a time like 3 or 6 months. The Spanish state is sure to attempt a solution with force of what they consider a problem of separatism.

Express:

What would a situation like that lead to, if there will be arrests and violence? Do you think there is a possibility for a Civil War as some in Brussels are warning about?

Gonzalez:

It is very difficult to make predictions now, we do not know the exact plan of either side, Catalan and Spanish. As stated in the official Spanish charges, violence seems almost guaranteed, but surprises can happen.

Of course civil war seems something very distant, but those things are never foreseeable. At the beginning Catalonia is in a situation of great disadvantage. Anyway, if a conflict erupts, only international mediation can prevent a large number of victims.

Express:

What if other regions in Spain have the same tendencies as Catalonia?

Gonzalez:

At least The Basque Country. Others for the moment no, but potentially Navarra, Galicia and others can follow Catalonia.

Express:

The Catalan issue is being compared to Kosovo. You have visited and reported on Kosovo, do you think it is right to make such a comparison?

Gonzalez:

In some kind we can make this comparison, but the situations are different, Kosovo had a terrible war on their territory. It seems now for Catalonia an ethnic cleaning is needed to legitimize the self-determination movement. But for sure Kosovo can be a legal precedent for Catalonia.

Express:

Do you believe that in the end, Catalonia will indeed become independent?

Gonzalez:

I hope that yes, but it will not be easy.

Express:

If Madrid stops the process by using the force, how will things evolve? Will there be any chance for coexistence between two nations?

Gonzalez:

Coexistence for sure. Will be two of the friendliest countries for sure, at least from Catalan side. No reasons for hate or big problems.

    Date: 10 October 2017 16:32
    Author: GazetaExpress

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