mfioretti: catalunya*

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  1. Be smart: We can't say it too often: The real problem with fake news is that people don't believe real news. That's terrible for society and democracy, making good decisions less likely.
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  2. 4. La inexistencia del Estado de Cataluña. El principal inconveniente de los planes de Rajoy radica en la práctica inexistencia del Estado español en Cataluña. Pudo observarse en el fallido plan de neutralización del referéndum del 1 de octubre, aunque no se trata de una gestión concreta, sino de un problema estructural. Únicamente el 9% de los empleados públicos de Cataluña proviene de la Administración central. La cifra es superior en la Comunidad Valenciana (16%) y en Andalucía (19%), mientras que en la Comunidad de Madrid alcanza el 39%. Ya explicaba en este periódico el profesor Andrés Betancor (Universidad Pompeu Fabra) que la presencia del Estado “es puramente residual, testimonial” y circunscrita a los cometidos de la Hacienda pública y de la Seguridad Social.

    No teniendo músculo el Estado en Cataluña —842 jueces, 5.900 efectivos de los cuerpos de seguridad—, la crisis ha puesto en juego la emergencia de los refuerzos, pero también la precariedad con que se desenvuelven, resumida en el transatlántico del Piolín.

    5. La precariedad del Estado mismo. El poder, el peso, del Estado español tiene más que ver con una visión mítica que con una realidad operativa. Más allá de la crisis catalana, el Estado se halla expuesto a una crisis de autoridad y de funcionamiento. Tanto por las sucesivas transferencias realizadas a las comunidades autónomas como por la política de privatizaciones —el Estado no lleva a casa el teléfono ni el gas ni la luz— y la circunstancia de una plantilla de funcionarios “analógica”, desmotivada y tentada por el sector privado. Es la perspectiva desde la que el propio Estado no podría emprender un plan de “socorro” en Cataluña sin que terminara resintiéndose el resto del territorio y la propia eficacia de la Administración, aunque el despliegue de refuerzos policiales no pone en peligro la seguridad el territorio.
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2017-10-28)
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  3. before Eurosceptics start using Catalonia as another opportunity to lash out at the EU for its passivity and cynicism, a few reminders may be useful.

    The EU has long been ill at ease with separatist issues within its member states. It has no mechanism to sort out a dispute of this kind. Article 4.2 of the 2009 Lisbon treaty states that the EU “shall respect” the “essential state functions” of its members, “including territorial integrity” and “maintaining law and order”. The EU has no power over how a member state decides to organise itself or its constituent regions.
    King Felipe accuses Catalan authorities of fracturing Spanish solidarity – video

    Supporters of Catalan independence may well argue this needs to be fixed, but no one in the EU wants to open a Pandora’s box. The EU will only deal with a case of newly declared independence if that independence results from a negotiated, legally based process. That is not the case in Catalonia, but would have been the case in 2014 if Scotland had voted to secede from the UK.

    The Catalan vote was “not legal” and the issue was “an internal matter for Spain”, the EU commission insisted on Monday. Just as it had in the case of Scotland, it also made clear that if the region seceded from Spain, Catalonia would find itself outside the EU, with no automatic way back in. There are clear limits on the EU’s powers of mediation. It’s true that it played a role in addressing the Northern Ireland question (and still does today), but that was only made possible after a peace accord had been reached.
    I was Catalan, Spanish and European. But Mariano Rajoy has changed all that
    Irene Baqué
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    This leaves the issue of fundamental rights. On this point, the EU commission statement that “violence can never be an instrument in politics” is, to say the least, timid. The wording steers clear of laying any blame. The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, may have been spared a dose of EU wrath because of his party’s link to the centre-right group in the European parliament.

    But whatever political calculations are at work, the EU commission lacks the tools to determine whether a government has violated human rights. These are enshrined in the 1950 European convention on human rights, which the European court of human rights is responsible for upholding, and which the Council of Europe also monitors. Perhaps a court case will one day be mounted against the police action in Catalonia, but that will be up to the judges, not to EU institutions in Brussels.

    Drawing a comparison with Poland and Hungary is also hazardous. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and the government in Poland have dismantled democratic checks and balances, curtailed media freedom and put the independence of the judiciary in jeopardy. However dismal the situation in Spain, nothing comparable has been undertaken by Rajoy. It also takes a good deal of twisting of historical facts to equate the Spanish police’s heavy-handed tactics in Barcelona with the repression, systematic arrests and curtailing of individual freedoms under Franco.

    The EU has set itself the goal of countering rising illiberalism and nationalism, and it’s struggling

    It took a long time for the EU to react to Poland and Hungary’s erosion of the rule of law. As a recent report by the Open Society European Policy Institute points out, EU leaders “are reluctant to criticise one of their peers because they worry about setting a precedent that could one day be used against them”. But the same report stresses that in the end the EU decided to take steps against these governments not simply because they had trampled on democratic practices, but also because their capture of independent state institutions was undermining the implementation of EU law itself. The European club’s integrity was at stake. Spain has not gone down that road.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-04)
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