Friday, March 13, 2009


All Catalans here present, and those who have not been able to travel with us, but are here in heart today, have come here to proclaim that we want Catalonia to have a place in the World, alongside the other nations of Europe. We are here because we want a free nation, a modern nation, one which is advanced just, responsible, cultivated, open to the World and proud of itself. Because we have full right to this and beacuse we want a state of our own.

From the Middle Ages to the XVIIIth Century, the Catalan nation, the Catalan countries, had its own independent political identity. As Pau Casals remembered at the United Nations in 1971, Catalonia, birthplace of European democracy, was the first nation to have a Parliament, even before England. At the outset of the Modern period, the Catalan nation entered a confederation with the crown of Castile and, despite the imperialist ten
dencies of Spanish monarchs, for centuries maintained its own state until, through the force of arms, the Spanish king, with the help of France, conquered Valencia in 1707, Catalonia in 1714 and Majorca in 1715. They then proceded to dismante our institutions of government and our Parliament and did their utmost to wipe out our language and our identity thus converting us into Spaniards.

From then on, the Catalan nation has been submitted to Spanish rule, and the most recent attempt by President Francesc Macià to constitute a Catalan Republic, within the federation of Iberian nations, en 1931, was brought to a cruel end by the Fascist alliance of dictator Franco with Hitler and Mussolini.

Once democracy was recovered, in 1977, Catalonia recovered her dream of of regaining her political status within a democratic federation. However, as a result of the Coup d’État of February 23rd 1981, Catalan hopes of reaching a bilateral relationship with Spain have been progressively dashed. This has become clear in the appalling episode by which our Statute of Autonomy has been mutilated, a process which will doubtless be confirmed by the forthcoming sentence of the Spanish Constitutional Court, in which a body made up of biased judges at the service of the Spanish parties shall decide against the will of our people as expreesed at the polls.

Depence on the decisions of the State of the Spanish people is leading us to a desperate situation. Daily the Catalan language is losing vigour and prestige as its social usage is progressively reduced as Spanish institutions launch campaigns of cultural homogenization highlighting the idea that there is one language, theirs, which is superior. Parallel to this, the difference between the taxes our citizens have to pay and the public services we receive in exchange is a case of outright spoliation defying comparison in the western world. It daily affects the lives of millions of people and puts social cohesion at risk.

The survival of Catalonia, as a nation, and Catalan as a thousand-year-old language of culture which is part of Europe’s heritage, are at risk. The Catalan people must opt for pacific mobilisation in defense of our individual and collective rights.

All of us have understood that it is the moment to say “enough”. The Europe of States is being consolidated along the lines of the will of the States that make it up and the dream of a Europe of People and Nations has been swept away for many years, if not forever.

We have come to Brussels with two objectives. Attaining them depends on us Catalans alone.

We want the Catalan national parties to once and for all place independence as an objective on their election programmes and self-determination as a priority in its Government action. We do not want government agreements which fail to make clear that the Government of Catalonia will promote self-determination with a view to obtaining independence to enable us to become state in the European Union with the same rights and obligations as the rest of current member states.

From here we wish to show the World that there is a conflict in Catalonia, a conflict of a pacific nature. The catalan people have the right to self-determination and wsh to exercise that right. We want to have the chance to decide our own collective future. We want to vote on this.

Europe has to know that the Spanish Sate will never be a democracy if it denies us the right to decide for ourselves. All we are asking for is a real democracy, we want to freely decide our own collective future as the citizens of Montenegro and Greenland have recently done, and as the Slovakians, Slovenians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians did a few years ago, and as the Irish, the Poles, Finns, Hungarians and so many other nations of Europe did beforehand, as they progressively recovered their freedom.

With hope, with strength and with courage, we want to raise our voices and say:

We are a nation, we want to exercise our right to self-determination, we want to vote on this!

We want a State of our own, Long live Catalonia! Visca Catalunya!