This list has one aim: independence
Romeva heads an electoral candidate list that includes leaders of civic bodies and political parties that are part of an attempt to bring sovereignty to Catalonia
'We are here because all the other scenarios have proved impossible'
'I get the feeling that many people, of all stripes, believe that the moment has come'
The Junts pel Sí electoral list proposes a cross-section of independence support, headed by someone with progressive background. When he announced in March that he was leaving ICV, Romeva said he had no intention of joining the list of any other political party.
What changed since March for you to accept joining a candidacy list?
The context changed. Firstly, this is not a party list, it is a joint list made up of ERC, with CDC, MES, Súmate, and so on. Also, this list has a very specific objective. As I said when I left ICV, and still say, I don't see myself as an MP in an autonomous community. What is different is that this list has an objective, which is to get a specific mandate, so that we can achieve independence in the shortest time possible.
At some point you will have to choose sides.
All of us on this list, once the independence process has begun with constituent elections, will go one way or the other. It is absurd to think that I have accepted Mr Mas's line, because it is he who has accepted mine. And Oriol Junqueras also has his own ideas. This list is strictly a tool.
Are you ready to speak with one voice in the campaign? And for the day-to-day running of a country?
Consensus has to be found to allow that. We are here because all the other scenarios have proved impossible. The ideal option would have been a referendum, and we did everything to make that happen, including 9-N. This is an exceptional situation. Then there is this outgoing government, which has to act as a government of national unity, to represent the range of options, and do two very important jobs. One is to provide an institutional framework with the state structures we lack. But the day-to-day will have to be managed and decisions will need to be taken. That's why it is important for this period to be as short as possible.
When did you decide to get involved with this?
When I realised that the situation was stuck in a cul-de-sac from which we could not get out. I was concerned to see people tense, uncomfortable and frustrated after all those years of mobilisations and trying to change things peacefully and democratically. That is why, without looking for it, different people from different sides said to themselves: “Maybe I should give it a go”. And I am also talking about Carme and Muriel as well as myself.
Did the fact you had coincided with Junqueras in Brussels help?
Circumstantially, yes. The mistake would be to assume that people who coincide share the same ideology. I am someone involved in a lot of issues, such as the management of common assets, energy management and equality of rights in all spheres. And I have no intention of giving that up. But not all the decisions affecting those issues depend on Catalonia, they depend on an agent that moreover is in the role of adversary. In such a situation it is to be expected that people of different beliefs come together for a specific aim, in this case independence.
Are things heating up with the adversary, the State?
I am sure of it. So far there has been no offer, no proposal, no willingness to talk, just insults and legal proceedings.
Are you ready to go to prison?
What a question!
You are infringing the Constitution and the law. The threats are not jokes.
Ok, it is no joke. We are all aware we have a collective responsibility to take advantage of this opportunity. When I am on the street I get the feeling that many people, of all stripes, believe that the moment has come. This feeling comforts me. We do not know how the State will respond. I do not know what it is capable of. What is clear, is that no one is going to build such a special thing as this without taking on some risk.
Given your experience in Brussels, what do you expect from the EU?
That depends on if there is a clear majority in favour.
Let's assume so.
Europe has two key principles: legality and democracy. The Spanish State puts a lot of emphasis on the legal aspect, fulfilling the law, which for the EU is obligatory. However, it is also true that laws change according to the context, and that is why the EU puts democracy on the same level as the law. If a majority here democratically vote for independence, the EU will have to assimilate this situation. That does not mean support it, but to accept it as fact. After that there are a number of possible responses and each member state has its own view. There is also an important precedent in Scotland.
Does the proximity of the general elections open up the chance of a change in the government's attitude?
It does, but it will depend what happens in Catalonia. If on September 27 a majority vote for Catalonia to become a state, a very different scenario could develop. What I do not expect is a proposal from either the government or the opposition parties. If there is a change, it will only be as a consequence of what happens first in Catalonia.
Is it possible for the 27-S elections to truly be considered a plebiscite?
I think so. You cannot see the vote in terms of autonomous elections. Legally they will be called as such, but in practice they will not, because a great many people understand that this is the only way. And we are not talking about a few people. Many media outlets in Madrid are obsessed with Mas, Mas, Mas. Yet on 9-N more than two million people turned out to vote, despite the circumstances, which cannot be described as the obsession of a single person.
Do you consider the Catalunya Sí que es Pot list as an adversary?
Not at all. If we are where we are it is because we could not do what we wanted to do, which was vote in a referendum. And there are parties that are now part of the Sí que es Pot movement that were explicitly in favour of voting. It is true that until September 27 there will be a lot of people who are not with us, whether related to CUP, ICV or EUiA, because they do not feel comfortable. From September 28, however, the process that will begin will have to take everyone into account. I would also say to many of those people that if there is no clear majority in favour, there will be no offers possible from the State. That is why I do not buy the argument that first we have to see what happens in Madrid. On the contrary: what happens in Madrid depends what happens first in Catalonia.
Can you see yourself as president?
If the result is in favour there will be a new government with a mandate, and the president could well be Artur Mas. My role is irrelevant and will depend totally on the mandate that this government has.
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