SPAIN’S Prime Minister has compared the push for Catalan independence to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, saying both stem from “invented grievances”.
Pedro Sanchez, who touched on both issues while address Spain’s parliament yesterday (Wednesday), said supporters of both causes ignored their own responsibilities while blaming others.
The Prime Minister’s speech came as Catalan Generalitat President Quim Torra ramped up his push for the region’s secession by invoking Slovenia’s independence struggle in the 1990’s.
Sanchez said Brexit was a lesson for Spanish politics. He added former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to call the Brexit referendum in 2016 had plunged the country into “bewilderment”.
“Brexit and Catalan independence move in the same way with invented grievances and binary decisions which require a choice between identities and processes in which a third party is blamed and one’s own responsibilities are ignored,” Sanchez said.
“Brexit has taught us lessons we should learn from. We need to strengthen democracy against lies,” the Prime Minister added.
Sanchez then turned to Torra’s comments. The Catalan leader called for the region to adopt the ‘Slovenian Way’ to independence which some claimed was a subtle call for violent insurrection.
“I was a witness of the civil war and ethnic cleansing. I worked in a square riddled with the hatred of nationalist bullets,” Sanchez said.
“¿Por qué obligarnos a decidir si somos catalanes, españoles o europeos? ¿Por qué no podemos serlo todo y empezar a votar por algo que agregue y trascienda los bloques del nacionalismo?” @sanchezcastejon #SánchezCongreso pic.twitter.com/VV2kmSSccb
— La Moncloa (@desdelamoncloa) December 12, 2018
Sanchez worked for the UN in Bosnia during the civil wars that erupted during the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.
The Prime Minister spoke more broadly on Brexit and said the deal agreed between Britain and the EU was the only one possible.
He added Spain’s position on the EU Withdrawal Agreement would not change as British Prime Minister Theresa May continues to seek further concessions from the bloc.
Pablo Casado, the leader of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) opposition, said during the debate that Spain had been “humiliated” on the issue of Gibraltar during Brexit negotiations.
“His negotiation on Gibraltar was a failure. May and Gibraltar leader Fabian Picardo were acclaimed when they said Spain had not achieved anything,” Casado said.