The Catalan vice-president and economy minister, Pere Aragonès, in Glasgow this Monday, called for a referendum agreed with Spain, like the one held in Scotland in 2014 in agreement with the Westminster government. "What's the path? We'll keep fighting for a binding referendum, accepted by the international community", said Aragonès in a speech to the annual conference of the Scottish National Party. The vice-president argued for this option with a result "accepted by all parties, including the Spanish government".
"We'll continue to defend democracy, which is the only way to have the people's consent", he said, adding that the Catalan government will also fight for an "independent republic of Catalonia within an inclusive Europe", as well as "international solidarity with the case of Catalonia".
"We have many challenges ahead of us", Aragonès said in his speech, which covered events in Catalonia and Spain over the last year: the 1st October referendum, the 21st December election, the blocks to investing the first three candidates proposed for president and prime minister Rajoy losing the motion of no-confidence.
"But, after a year of repression and attacks in Catalonia, during which we've seen things which we'd never have imagined could happen, we're still here, fighting, and this is the path to victory," he said.
During the speech, full of comparisons between Scotland and Catalonia, the vice-president denounced among other events, the pretrial detention of the ministers of Puigdemont's government as well as Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart and Carme Forcadell and the "persecution" of pro-independence mayors and members of the Committees for Defence of the Republic. "Imagine the Scottish government imprisoned without trial for having organised a referendum. [...] Imagine the leaders of Saturday's marches in Edinburgh and Glasgow locked in prison," he said.
Support for Scotland, for ever
Turning to his hosts, Aragonès said that Catalonia will "always" support Scotland "whatever it decides". "Because we believe that the future of Scotland is in the hands of the Scottish people," he said. He thanked the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her government for condemning the police violence on 1st October and defending former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsatí, who currently lives and works in Scotland.
The minister ended his speech quoting Voltaire and taking Scotland as a point of reference for Catalonia. "Voltaire said, 'We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation'; now, in name of the citizens of Catalonia, I say to you: We look to Scotland for all our ideas of democracy".
Aragonès was speaking at was a conference fringe event called "Scotland and Catalonia - Onwards to Independence" alongside MEP Ian Hudghton, who is president of the SNP.