Ruling Catalan party stands alone over nationalist symposium

Tension rises between CiU and PP ahead of controversial "Spain against Catalonia" event

Barcelona -

The ruling nationalist CiU coalition in Catalonia finds itself alone in the defense of a controversial symposium called “Spain against Catalonia” that opens Thursday in Barcelona.

All other Catalan parties have criticized the event, either because of the content of the lectures or because of the lecturers themselves. Even other nationalist parties such as the Catalan Republican Left and Initiative for Catalonia agree that the title of the event is a mistake because it will give new fodder to the non-nationalists. CiU, which organized the convention, is seeking to drum up support for its pro-sovereignty referendum drive, which has lately run into trouble.

Had the political context been different, the symposium would have been little more than a footnote. But given the tension between the central government of Mariano Rajoy, of the Popular Party (PP), and the Catalan nationalists, the convention has become a new excuse for a political battle and an escalation of mutual accusations.

On Tuesday, the Catalan branch of the PP filed a complaint with the public prosecutor, claiming that the event foments racial hatred and could thus constitute a crime. The centrist groups Ciutadans and UPyD said they would be filing their own claims as well. But regional government spokesman Francesc Homs said both the PP and Ciutadans want “the liquidation of Catalonia from an imperialist attitude.”

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