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‘Ready for the final showdown’

The conflict between Catalonia and Spain explained on the front page of the Danish newspaper ‘Politiken’

08 August 2017 01:18 PM

by

Helle Kettner | Barcelona

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“A referendum will end 800 years of bitterness and culminate the struggle for independence from the big Spanish neighbor,” says one of the most-read newspapers in Denmark, Politiken, describing Catalonia’s history in an article on Monday. “Catalonia’s strong leader is ready for the final showdown with Spanish dominance” is the article's headline.

“Catalonia’s strong leader”

The “strong leader” in question is Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, according to the Danish newspaper. Politiken emphasizes that “Spanish President Mariano Rajoy's opponent believes in democracy”. The newspaper paraphrases an article in the Spanish newspaper El País written by the Catalan writer Josep Ramoneda, who says that the Spanish government “hopes to resolve the Catalan problem with help from the Constitution and the judges” and by “provoking panic”.

The article explains that Carles Puigdemont is the first of 129 Catalan presidents who has decided to take his country towards independence. “It was with defiance and pride that Carles Puigdemont, as the leader of the autonomous Catalan government, on June 9 this year took the step which could be decisive for Spain’s and Catalonia’s future,” wrote the experienced European correspondent Michael Seidelin.

Spain’s iron grip

Politiken explains the Catalan president’s origins and emphasizes that he feels Catalan to the bone and comes from a family that waits for the day when an independent Catalonia becomes a member of the European Union on an equal footing with Spain “which has kept an iron grip on Catalonia for centuries”. The article also refers to declarations that the Catalan president made in the French newspaper ‘Libération’, in which Puigdemont said: “I am basically Catalan, but circumstances have made me Spanish. In other words, I belong to a State that I did not choose myself.”

The “threats” from the Spanish government

Regarding the Spanish government’s stance, the Danish newspaper quotes the Spanish president as saying that the Catalan referendum will not take place, and that “this authoritarian madness will never win over our democratic state’s self-confidence and balance”. The article also quotes the Spanish vice-president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, who said that “Spain can stop that initiative in 24 hours”. It also mentions that the Spanish defense minister María Dolores de Cospedal pointed out that “the army and the Guardia Civil’s assignment is to defend the Constitution and the country’s territorial integrity”.

  • “Those were not empty threats”

    Politiken · August 7 2017

“Those were not empty threats,” says Politiken, explaining how the Spanish police Guardia Civil has interrogated high-ranking Catalan government figures over the past weeks. “The message is clear: They may risk prison, fines and seizure of values if they participate in the organization of the referendum, which according to the Constitution is illegal,” the article continues.

An expensive divorce

“When a couple is no longer getting along, a divorce is often the best solution,” the Catalan president once said. Politiken’s article ends by talking about this “divorce” between Catalonia and Spain, as the Catalan president called it. The Danish newspaper foresees that it will be expensive, since Catalonia has to assume part of the Spanish debt. According to the article, critics believe that the independence project divides citizens and that the juridical aspects would not allow a referendum to take place. Nevertheless, the article concludes that the Catalan president has left the judicial matter behind; as he said to Catalan television “now it is about politics and the people’s right to self-determination”.

Catalonia’s history

Regarding historical facts during the last 800 years in Catalonia, Politiken mentions the “fascism terror” during Franco’s dictatorship, when the Catalan language, the “senyera” (the Catalan flag) and the traditional “sardana” dance were prohibited. The article reminds the readers that thousands of Catalans were imprisoned or exiled and many politicians were executed by Franco’s regime.    

 

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  • A Dane reading about Catalonia in Politiken (by Nils Gisli)
  • Front page of the Danish newspaper 'Politiken' on Monday August 7 2017 (by Nils Gisli)

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