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Foreign Offices
Thought.  London,  03/05/2016

'What’s going on in Catalonia?'

The Catalan civic body Sobirania i Justíca (Sovereignty and Justice), the University of Cambridge Forum on Geopolitics and the think-­tank Project for Democratic Union present 'What's going on in Catalonia' a panel discussion with Professor Montserrat Guibernau, doctor in Philosophy, M. Phil in Social and Political Theory;  Antoni Castells, Professor of Public Finance at the University of Barcelona; Minister of Economy and Finance of the Government of Catalonia (2003-­2010); and Miquel Puig, economist and author; CEO of the Catalan Universities Shared Services Consortium. The event will tackle the key dimensions of the grassroots movement towards Catalan independence on Tuesday 3 May at 5pm at INTO London Middlesex Street

Please, note that registration is free but required.


'Impressive images of mass demonstrations in favour of Catalan independence have gone around the world. A vigorous civic movement, self­-organized and supported by a broad sector of the middle classes, is forcing a change in the way politics is conducted in Catalonia. In the view of this grassroots movement, independence is not only linked to claims of identity (language and culture), but also, and especially, to the desire of establishing an own legal framework, based on complete self-­rule, and oriented towards the creation of an equitable, prosperous and democratically advanced society. This collective purpose, widely shared, is reflected in the configuration of the Catalan parliament, with a political majority in favour of independence following the last regional elections held on 27 September 2015. With a turnout around 75%, 48% voted for independence and an additional 11.5% were in favour of holding a referendum on self­-determination. Defenders of the status quo obtained 39% of the votes. Opinion polls indicate that 80% of Catalans -therefore, including many who voted for unionist parties- want to decide this issue in a democratic consultation, and that 87% would accept the outcome and adapt to the new political scenario. In spite of that, the Spanish government has repeatedly expressed its unwillingness to begin talks on the issue.

What has led such a broad segment of Catalan citizens to decide to support independence? Why have Catalan citizens chosen to organize themselves and to create influential civic platforms, alongside the traditional political parties? How are Spanish political leaders and institutions facing up to this situation? And what about Europeans? Is what is happening in Catalonia just an internal Spanish affair or does it involve the rest of Europe too?

These are some of the key dimensions that may help understand what’s going on in Catalonia, and which the promoters of the event want to put forward for discussion. The Catalan civic body Sobirania i Justíca (Sovereignty and Justice), the University of Cambridge Forum on Geopolitics and the think-­tank Project for Democratic Union, are the event organizers. It is also possible thanks to the collaboration of the Delegation of the Catalan Government to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the London Academy of Diplomacy.

The roundtable has three distinguished speakers:

Montserrat Guibernau, doctor in Philosophy, M. Phil in Social and Political Theory, University of Cambridge, and visiting scholar at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS).
Antoni Castells, professor of Public Finance at the University of Barcelona; Minister of Economy and Finance of the Government of Catalonia (2003-­2010).
Miquel Puig, economist and author; CEO of the Catalan Universities Shared Services Consortium.
 

What's going on in Catalonia
Tuesday 3 May // 5pm - 7pm

Lecture theatre of INTO London Middlesex Street 

Programme:

17.00h – Opening remarks – Isabel Helena Martí
17.05h ­- Introduction ­- Brendan Simms
17.10h -­ Montserrat Guibernau
17.30h -­ Antoni Castells
17.50h ­- Miquel Puig
18.10h -­ Break
18.15h -­ Discussion
18.55h -­ Closing remarks­ – Brendan Simms and Isabel-­Helena Martí

A fruit, cheese and Catalan wine tasting, open to all attendees, will follow the event.'


Coordination and copy text source: Isabel-Helena Martí, president of Sobirania i Justícia and Brendan Simms is director of the Forum on Geopolitics at Cambridge University and president of the Project for Democratic Union.

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