The PP candidate Pablo Casado has suggested that Catalan independence supporters should go to Brussels or Germany if they want to leave the Spanish state, because "Catalonia is not going to leave Spain".
He has said that he is not worried about the imprisoned pro-independence politicians, but he is concerned about the "hundreds of thousands of Catalans" whom the Spanish government "is abandoning", because it is Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra who are in charge in Spain.
Visiting Barcelona as part of his campaign to become new leader of the Popular Party (PP), Casado also said that no Spanish policeman has to apologise for "defending rights and freedoms" and he believes that the Spanish government should not have a dialogue with the independentists.
He venido a la Jefatura Superior de Policía de #Cataluña a dar mi apoyo a la @policia, y a las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad del Estado, que defienden nuestros derechos y libertades y que no pueden ver conculcado ni su trabajo ni su función de defender la democracia pic.twitter.com/9cM7QAFqoX— Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) 1 de juliol de 2018
On Sunday, the central day of the campaign for the PP leadership primaries, Casado visited Catalonia, participating in an event with supporters in Barcelona and another in Lleida to watch the Spanish football team's World Cup match. In the Catalan capital, he went to the Spanish Police Headquarters on Via Laietana, where he greeted the officers guarding the door. On the first day of the campaign he had visited the Guardia Civil barracks in Altsasu (Navarra).
He has given support to the former Director General of the Spanish Police, Ignacio Cosidó, and has maintained a brief dialogue with the president of the Catalan Association of Victims of Terrorist Organisations (ACVOT), José Vargas, who has asked for more support in policies favouring victims.
"Let them leave like Puigdemont"
Casado made this gesture to give his maximum support and "admiration" to the Spanish National police and the Guardia Civil in their work, especially in Catalonia. He said that there is no need to apologise for officers who are doing their duty of defending rights and freedoms'.
"On the contrary, it is the irresponsible rulers who have to apologise for leading citizens to try and break the law and above all causing social confrontation, the division of families, the almost irremediable economic failure and international ridicule".
And he added that "nobody wants to leave Spain, Catalonia will not leave Spain, if independence supporters want to leave, they should leave like Puigdemont, to Brussels or Germany".
"If I become president, Catalonia will be the centre of my action, because it is the greatest challenge", he assured. "There will be no contemplation or dialogue with those who want to break the law, there must be no sympathy for those who are destroying Spain". In fact, he criticised the PSOE for "talking about reforming the Constitution to please those who want to break up Spain".
He also criticised the transfer of political prisoners to prisons closer to home: "I am not concerned about the prisoners who were in the Catalan government and committed very serious crimes, I am concerned about the hundreds of thousands of Catalans whom the Spanish government is abandoning, because it is Torra and Puigdemont who are really in charge", he said.
Asked about the possible application, once again, of Article 155, he said that he would do it again and that it should have been applied earlier and more extensively because it was a "failure". "Everyone can see what has happened and continues to happen on [Catalan public TV channel] TV3, indoctrination and the inability to have teaching in Spanish in Catalonia", he said.
Si soy presidente no habrá contemplaciones ni diálogo con quien quiere romper la legalidad, aquí no caben simpatías con los que fracturan España. Los principios de unidad, libertad e igualdad son inquebrantables y para ello es fundamental la función que cumplen las FCSE pic.twitter.com/R3xuSjBLaR— Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) 1 de juliol de 2018
Apart from the legal and constitutional response, Casado believes that the Spanish government must carry out more political action and have more institutional presence in Catalonia, but "not photo opportunites or appealing to dialogue with those who want to impose sectarian and supremacist ideas".
Winning municipal elections to "kill" independence
Casadao says that unionist parties could win the mayoralties of Barcelona, Tarragona, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat or Badalona. "All this majority force can change society, the concept of Tabarnia is a symbol of what has to happen in the municipal elections", he explained.