At a press conference this morning in Barcelona, DiEM25 co-founder Yanis Varoufakis presented a proposal for a European response to the Catalan crisis – one which is to be discussed by our movement’s members so that DiEM25 tables a formal pan-European policy proposal on the issue of regions seeking statehood.
Here’s Yanis’ full statement:
The EU’s response to the crisis in Catalonia has been hypocritical (it has intervened in the ‘internal affairs’ of Greece, Ireland, Italy etc.) and logically incoherent (by hiding behind the claim that it is a union of states, it motivates Catalan statehood). Moreover, the EU has been responsible for stoking the discontent that led to the current crisis in Catalonia – through austerity and large bankers’ bailouts. The time has come to Europeanise the solution to a problem that is European in both its nature and causes.
Any regional government requesting the EU’s support in staging a legally binding independence referendum must comply with these six conditions:
- The region’s elections must first be won (with an absolute majority of the voters) by a party (or a coalition of parties) proposing such a referendum.
- Any subsequent referendum should be held, in coordination with the EU at the earliest one year after that election, to allow for a proper, sombre debate.
For the EU to sanction the referendum, and for continued membership of the Union by any new state emerging from such a referendum, the constitution of the new state must commit to:
- Guaranteeing freedom of movement between the new state and the rest of the European Union, including of course the rest of the ‘old’ country
- Affording its citizens the right to (but no imposition of) citizenship of the new state, the ‘old’ country and/or the European citizenship.
- Working together with European authorities to maintain at least the same level of fiscal transfers to the rest of the country in the form of investment funding that is channelled, under the supervision of European institutions (including the European Investment Bank, and its offshoot the European Investment Fund), into the poorer regions of the old country.
- Working together with European authorities to eliminate any trade surplus or deficit with the ‘old’ country as well as other EU member-states.
No one has the right to prohibit citizens of a European region from aspiring to statehood. At the same time, no region can aspire to statehood and, at once, to membership of a democratic, well-functioning European Union without respecting the basic principles of a democratic, well-functioning European Union.