Delete
Enough is enough
The Euro Zone: opinion

Enough is enough

Carles Puigdemont gave a characteristically angry speech from his campaign base in the south of France. "This vote," he told supporters in his final rally before Catalans headed to the ballot boxes, "will be a banged fist on the table - a way of saying 'enough!'

Friday, 17 May 2024, 17:53

Compartir

Last Friday, two days before the Catalan election that saw heavy losses for the region's separatists, Carles Puigdemont gave a characteristically angry speech from his campaign base in the south of France. "This vote," he told supporters in his final rally before Catalans headed to the ballot boxes, "will be a banged fist on the table - a way of saying 'enough!' Enough of mistreating our language and culture and saying sorry for who we want to be. The moment to say 'enough!' is now".

Those three sentences expose the flaws of Catalonia's separatist movement, especially now that it is led by Puigdemont. The region's exiled former president has promised to return home once Pedro Sánchez's amnesty bill becomes law, (probably at the end of this month), in order to try and form another pro-independence government - even though last weekend's results are telling him that the majority of Catalans don't want one. The tone and content of his final campaign speech also suggests that he's not the president Catalonia needs right now.

First, long before last weekend's vote, opinion polls were showing that support for Catalan independence has dropped significantly since the illegal referendum of 2017. Secondly, the Junts leader has consistently rejected a dialogue-based approach to negotiations with Madrid, even though his more hardline strategies have failed to advance the secessionist cause and caused a Constitutional crisis. And thirdly, in his attempt to portray Catalonia as the victim of repression by what he clearly still sees as a quasi-Francoist state, Puigdemont makes his home region sound like Gaza or Ukraine - whereas in fact it is one of the richest and freest corners of Europe.

Ever since orchestrating the explosive events of October 2017, Puigdemont has sought refuge within the wider framework of the EU, living in Brussels and serving as one of Spain's MEPs - even though a European court stripped him of his parliamentary immunity last summer. For the former mayor of Girona, then, it's one vote down and one to go: European elections next month will determine whether he holds onto his seat as an MEP, as well as being another key test for Pedro Sánchez's Socialist party.

In an interview with the Brussels-based magazine Politico just before the Catalan election, Puigdemont spoke about the destructive impact that seven years of self-imposed exile have had on his personal life. He also said that if he wasn't able to resume the presidency of Catalonia, he would step back from politics "to get some rest after these very difficult years".

Now that Catalonia seems to be losing interest in the secessionist cause, perhaps it's time for Puigdemont to stop banging on the table and tell himself 'enough is enough'. Perhaps it's time for the region's separatists to let Salvador Illa focus on neglected domestic affairs such as healthcare, education and the drought - things that, for the majority of Catalans, matter much more than independence.

Reporta un error en esta noticia

* Campos obligatorios