The regional premier of Catalonia, Artur Mas, at a time of swingeing cuts in social spending and a low ebb in his administration’s popularity, this week applied his foot to the sovereignty accelerator by commissioning a panel of experts to design a blueprint for a future independent state.
Among the tasks of the so-called Advisory Council for National Transition, which convened for the first time on Thursday, are to draw up legal and political avenues toward a referendum on self-determination, the creation of regional military force, the official or co-official status of languages, dual nationality, energy supply, taxes, Social Security, state debt and the nation’s museums.
The panel is made up of intellectuals and academics and presided over by a former Constitutional Court magistrate, Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer. “This government is committed to making Catalonia an independent state,” said the regional government spokesman Francesc Homs.
Among the first steps for the 14 members of the panel is to formulate a proposal for the dividing of assets and debts between Catalonia and the Spanish state. For some time Catalan nationalists have argued that if the region will have to assume some of the national debt, it should also receive some of its national heritage, including buildings and museums.
If we have to pay part of the debt, we should also get part of the Prado”
“If we have to pay part of the debt, we should also get part of the Prado,” is the joke doing the nationalist rounds.
Also under consideration is how to guarantee the financial viability of an independent Catalonia in terms of tax and social security contributions.
Perhaps the most troublesome aspect of a hypothetical Catalan state is defense, and whether an independent military structure would be formed, as opposed to seeking a treaty with other state or multilateral organizations.
But before the intricacies of infrastructure become relevant, a referendum must be held to determine the will of the Catalan people. “The starting point is to organize a vote on the right to decide,” said Homs.