On 12 November, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised a dialogue between Josep Borrell and Joan Llorach on the occasion of the presentation of the book "Las cuentas y los cuentos de la independencia".
Josep Borrell. Jean Monet Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, former Secretary of State for Finance and former Minister of Public Works, Transport and Environment of the Government of Spain.
Joan Llorach. MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Founder and CEO of the technology company Interactora.
<strong>Josep Borrell and Joan Llorach</strong> (12 November 2015) The arguments of Catalan nationalism in favour of its position are a fallacy that has become an unquestionable truth in Catalonia because all governments have neglected their functions in this regard and have not disproved these arguments. For former minister Borrell, the failure to disprove the fallacy of 'Spain steals from us', constantly repeated by the nationalists, has caused a part of Catalan society to feel aggrieved and to support independence. <strong> </strong> It is possible that Catalonia has an excess of solidarity, because it is a rich community. But that excess has never been more than 1% or 2% of Catalan GDP, not 8% as the nationalist discourse claims. This is how Josep Borrell, former Secretary of State for the Economy and former Minister of Public Works, summed up his criticism of the Catalan nationalists' argument that 'Spain is stealing from us'. Borrell, who spoke with Joan Llorach, founder and CEO of the technology company Interactora, in the debate held at the Fundación Rafael del Pino on the occasion of the presentation of their book <em>Accounts and tales of independence,</em> pointed out that a large part of Catalan society believes the fallacious arguments of nationalism because nobody in Madrid has denied anything they have said. "All the governments have left the ring," he said. According to Borrell, there are plenty of arguments to counter the fallacies of Catalan nationalism, but because they have not been put forward, Catalonia's problem has been magnified. "A part of Catalan society has signed up to independence because it feels aggrieved", he stressed. In his opinion, 20% of the Catalan population believes that Spain is stealing from us' because they are constantly bombarded with false information that is never disproved by other bodies. The problem, according to Borrell, is that by neglecting our functions, "we have allowed falsehood to become unquestionable truth". To demonstrate his assertion, he gave the example of the fiscal balances. According to Catalan nationalism, the German federal government calculates and publishes them every year, when this is not the case. In the same way, the US federal government has never calculated or, of course, published them. The only thing there was about it in the United States fifteen years ago was a study by an institute of a southern university and nothing more. However, nationalism, in its message, transforms this isolated and unofficial fact into something that the US federal government does every year. Llorach, for his part, pointed out that there are two types of arguments used by Catalan nationalism: the economic one, i.e., that of the 16 billion (8% of GDP) that Catalonia overpays to Spain, and the political one, centred on the low quality of democracy in Spain. In his speech, he refuted both. In relation to the argument of the 16 billion, Llorach warned that this calculation does not include, for example, the cost of what the Spanish state does for Catalonia, of the services it provides. In the same vein, Borrell pointed out that the calculations made by the pro-independence supporters do not include other very important things, such as the pension of those who contributed in Catalonia during their working lives but enjoy their retirement in another part of Spain. As for the political arguments, Llorach denied that the nationalists are in contact with other European governments, which are supposed to support them when the time comes for secession. In fact, Llorach pointed out, neither France, Germany nor Italy have the slightest intention of setting a separatist precedent with Catalonia. The nationalists, Llorach added, use the argument of the low quality of democracy in Spain because it does not allow them to hold a referendum on self-determination. To defend their position, they claim that Obama said that self-determination is a universal right, when what the US president was talking about is countries with dictatorial regimes that massacre their citizens.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.