Who Says What?

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas

American lawyer, UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

A referendum like the one that was held in Quebec and Scotland is a reliable method to check the public opinion and to avoid artificial consent in order to guarantee the authenticity of the expression of public will in an environment that is free from threats and the use of force.  30.01.17

Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem

Actor

“The wish of the people, the society, to decide about its future and to vote is fundamental. If a majority says yes, it must be assumed.” 15.02.17

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Human rights activist and 1980 Nobel PeacePrize

“The Spanish Government will not allow any referendum because their goal is to keep the statu quo. But the people must keep insisting that their right to self-determination be respected. (…) Catalonia, as the Basque Country and many other regions, want their right to self-determination and their sovereignty to be recognised. The United Nations refers to the peoples’ right to self-determination. This is important for Catalonia, as they want to call a referendum so that the people can decide whether they want to stay in Spain or become an autonomous, sovereign and free region. This is important, the peoples’ right to self-determination has to be respected”.  12.10.16

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Professor at Columbia University and 2001 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

“In the current context of open markets, I’m sure things would work out for Catalonia as an independent country. Small countries find it easier to operate independently in the present globalisation environment.”  7.10.16

Algirdas Saudargas

Algirdas Saudargas

MEP (EPP Group) and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Lithuania

“If Catalans feel as a nation and want to do more things and decide more things for themselves, they will do that sooner or later. The Lithuanians ask only for the relationship between Catalonia and Spain to be solved in a peaceful and negotiated way. I believe the Catalan approach is peaceful, and nothing suggests it will not continue like that.” 25.02.16

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland

“The will of the people has to be respected. Why not do the same in Catalonia as in Scotland?” 16.02.16

Benoit Hellings

Benoit Hellings

Belgian Ecolo MP following Foreign Affairs and Defense issues

“Catalonia, as all people in the world, has the right to choose its destiny.” 13.01.16

Dana Rohrabacher

Dana Rohrabacher

Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe at the US Congress

“I see no reason why the Catalan people should not be allowed to decide whether to be a part of Spain; like any other people, they have the right to decide. Catalonia has the same rights as any other people. In the long term, it would be better to allow a Scottish-style referendum. It’s better to let people decide whether to remain in a country, instead of making them feel they are being forced to stay, because this creates resentment and bad feelings and weakens the sense of unity that a country needs.” 09.09.15

Krzysztof Charamsa

Krzysztof Charamsa

Polish priest and theologian. Assistant secretary of the International Theological Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican

“There is a fundamental principle for the social doctrine of the Church, which is the right of selfdetermination. It is therefore inadmissible in the name of the Church to qualify as immoral those who defend a nation’s rights or identity.” 08.09.15

Iannis Varoufakis

Iannis Varoufakis

Greek-Australian economist and former Minister of Finance of Greece

“I’m not against Catalonia’s independence push. I believe in the right of self-determination. If you live in Barcelona and you really feel colonised, internationalism doesn’t mean that you have to accept the colonisation.” 02.09.15

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister of Japan

“We shall respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world.” 14.08.15

José Mujica

José Mujica

Former President of Uruguay 2010-2015

“I am radically in favour of the right to decide of the Catalans.” 09.07.15

Franc Bogovič

Franc Bogovič

MEP with the European People’s Party and former Agriculture and Environment minister of Slovenia

“I can understand that Yugoslavia or the USSR didn’t accept a referendum, but it’s not very normal that Catalonia is not allowed to hold one, being part of the Spanish democracy. In democratic countries, the people’s will is the most important. These processes are not easy for anyone, but in the end the people must have the chance to decide.” 12.06.15

Pavel Durov

Pavel Durov

Founder of the social network Telegram Messenger

“I am a big fan of Catalonia and a frequent visitor to Barcelona. I hope Spain and the UN will recognize its independence soon, provided that is what the majority of Catalan people want, of course. But it seems the movement for independence is strong. Why is Spain so afraid to hold a referendum in Catalonia, like the one in Scotland?” 03.06.15

Christy Burke

Christy Burke

Lord Mayor of Dublin

“The ballot box is a wonderful thing. Catalans can do that, the ballot box speaks volumes. I hope Catalonia will go forward in the way that Ireland did and Ireland will be able to help Catalan leaders to make an adequate country possible, a decent and independent country, through self-determination. We certainly understand the position, the views and the feelings of the Catalan people because we know how it is like to be treated as second class citizens.”  28.05.15

Ada Colau

Ada Colau

Activist and future mayor of Barcelona

“Catalonia is a nation and must be able to freely decide on its relationship with Spain. That’s what millions of people have asked for. In any democracy, citizens must be able to decide on the issues that affect them. We are committed to the right to decide. Barcelona is the proud capital of Catalonia and will support Catalonia in its right to decide. In “Barcelona in Comú” there have always been people who are pro-independence, others are federalists and some others do not consider it a priority, but we are all united in the commitment to the right to decide.”  25.05.15

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein

Author, social activist and filmmaker

“I believe in self-determination and I believe in democracy and I think that if there is a democratic desire for independence it should be respected. Whether it is in Catalonia or in Scotland or in Quebec, where I was born.” 27.03.15

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

Former First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party

“Catalonia is not Scotland and Scotland is not Catalonia, but you can find parallels, things that are universally true, like the right of self-determination. Catalonia has to find, as we found, the way to an agreed process in order to be able to decide on its future.” 19.03.15

Arthur C. Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks

President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

“North American leaders have sympathy for the idea of self-determination, which is something very American. We will not tell you what you have to do, but if you want to become independent, this is fine with us.” 12.02.15

Francesc Pardo

Francesc Pardo

Bishop of Girona

“I think it is very important that citizens were able to express themselves on November 9 and now those who have the responsibility to govern must be consequent and solve the problem according to the people’s will. There will be no solution if there is no negotiation and dialogue.” 08.02.15

Sitapha Savané

Sitapha Savané

Senegalese professional basketball player with Joventut Badalona

“They call me independentist because I defend the right to decide. The right to decide is obvious in a democracy. We have lost a lot of time in a useless debate. We have to follow the laws? Of course we have. But we also know they can be changed and they must adapt to solve the problems. What I miss is more debate on the pros and cons of independence.” 05.02.15

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen

American actor

“In the long term, I think the Spanish government is making a mistake in not doing what the United Kingdom did with Scotland. Let them vote.” 12.12.14

Carlos Ferrater

Carlos Ferrater

Architect, author of three buildings in the Barcelona Olympic Village

“The Constitutional Court’s challenge of the statute approved by our Parliament was the most critical point in our relationship with the State, the final proof that Catalonia had no place. All of this feeling of impotence finally broke out with the denial of the right to decide. Altogether it triggered a shared, supportive and clamorous movement of civil society; any people has the right to decide on its future. Catalans are asking for this right peacefully and democratically.” 11.12.14

Mário Soares

Mário Soares

Former President of Portugal (1986-1996)

“Catalans must say if they have the right to decide on their political future.” 09.12.14

Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager

Danish politician and EU Commissioner for Competition

“With or without a referendum, listening to the people is something that I always find positive, also when you don’t agree with them. If you don’t listen to others, you will never get any wiser.” 20.11.14

Paul Preston

Paul Preston

English historian and Hispanist

“I think that people have the right to decide on their own future. I signed the manifest as a way to express my democratic solidarity with the people who want to vote, anyone who wants to vote. Decisions must come after a civilised debate and this won’t happen until people are allowed to hold a vote. The fact is that everyone sees Madrid’s behaviour as antidemocratic. Until Madrid recognises the need for a vote, public opinion in general will reject such antidemocratic, narrow-minded behaviour from Madrid.” 18.11.14

Jordi Savall

Jordi Savall

Musician

“You have to ask the people what they want. You must let them vote in a referendum and watch the result. The first step is to know what the people in Catalonia think and afterwards it is everyones responsibility to accomplish the will of the majority.” 03.07.14

“Gandhi said that if a law goes against human dignity, you must be able to go against this law. If the Spanish Constitution doesn’t allow an important part of Catalan society to express themselves, it loses its value because it goes against human dignity. Catalonia has the right to vote and it’s unfair that basic rights are denied.” 17.10.14

Ken Follett

Ken Follett

Best-selling author

“I understand that Catalan people are very angry when somebody says ‘you don’t even have the right to choose’. I think it’s clear that it’s a political mistake to say to people ‘no, no, you can’t even state your opinion’. Nobody is going to accept that. That’s not the way to end the story. And I understand the anger of people who say ‘I have the right to choose, it’s a democracy!’” 02.10.14

Aleix & Pol Espargaró

Aleix & Pol Espargaró

MotoGP riders

Aleix: “I can’t conceive that in present times we should not be able to vote and decide on our future. I believe that we live in a democratic country and of course we must be able to decide what we want for our children.”
Pol: “We hope that they let us decide and that we all can give our opinion. In the end, things should be like this. Once the people have spoken, it will be one thing or the other, but the right to decide must be for everyone.” 27.09.14

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

US President

“We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future. These are simple truths, but they must be defended.” 24.09.14

Joaquín Sabina

Joaquín Sabina

Spanish singer

“Catalan independence remains unclear. But people must have the right to vote and decide on as many issues as possible. In very democratic countries, like the United States or Switzerland, they hold referendums very often. If you forbid asking questions, it’s because you fear the answers.” 21.09.14

David Cameron

David Cameron

United Kingdom Prime Minister

“We are a democracy, you cannot hold people inside the United Kingdom against their will, and we should be proud of the fact that we are a democracy and that we vote about these things.” 10.09.14

“The Scottish National Party was elected in Scotland in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that, we could have put it off but just as with other big issues, it was right to take – not duck – the big decision. I am a passionate believer in our United Kingdom – I wanted more than anything for our United Kingdom to stay together. But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say.” 19.09.14

Xavi Hernàndez

Xavi Hernàndez

FC Barcelona football player and team captain

“We absolutely have the right to vote. We must vote, the people must express themselves and I am in favour of the consultation, of course.”17.09.14

Gerard Piqué

Gerard Piqué

FC Barcelona football player

“I am in favour of the referendum in Catalonia. I think this is what is most democratic, because in the end the people must have the right to vote.” 16.09.14

Graham Watson

Graham Watson

Member of the European Parliament and President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – ALDE

“I understand how the Catalans feel and that they want to decide on their future in a referendum. The union between Catalonia and Spain has never been voluntary, unlike the case of Scotland and the UK.” 18.07.14

Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff

Canadian author, academic and former politician

“Spain can’t avoid, or shouldn’t avoid, that Catalans have their collective momentum, to call it some way, and say what they want. In Canada we had referendums and they didn’t destroy the country. A referendum in Catalonia would not destroy Spain. To oppose to it is a mistake from Spanish politicians. I don’t personally like referendums too much, but I don’t see what other option there is if citizens don’t like the constitutional order. It’s a democracy, they must be able to express themselves.” 11.06.14

Helder Costa

Helder Costa

Portuguese dramatist and playwright

“I can relate very well to the wishes of my Catalan friends. I know that Spain is a monarchy, but citizens are entitled to vote. It is necessary to distinguish between citizens and subjects, and citizens need to be able to vote.” 08.06.14

Ettore Messina

Ettore Messina

Basketball coach

“I don’t know all the details but what is clear from outside [Catalonia] is that one thing is what laws say, and another thing is the power of the people. We live in a world where we must look for solutions to protect the rights of minorities in a political way and not in an aggressive one. Catalonia has a history, a language and an identity. A time should come when both sides sit down together and find solutions. They cannot ignore the fact that over one million people demonstrated on the streets of Catalonia. I don’t know the precise legal details but I don’t understand why Catalonia cannot be a normal country.” 18.05.14

Guy Verhofstadt

Guy Verhofstadt

Leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and former PM of Belgium

“The EU should not intervene in this issue and it should certainly not intervene in a negative way as it has been doing until now. We need to take into account what people think. We can’t build a European Union where the voice of the people is not taken into account. Spain and the Catalans have to decide and we must play a positive role in the dialogue between them. You can’t play a negative role like Mr Barroso has done in recent months.” 15.05.14

Ska Keller

Ska Keller

German politician and Member of the European Parliament for the Alliance ’90/The Greens. Candidate for the European Commission Presidency

“If I am elected as President of the EC, I will support Catalonia in allowing a consultation vote on its political future and its relationship with Spain.”10.03.14

“The Scots and the Catalans should have the right to decide on their future. If I became President of the European Commission I would be very pleased to welcome them if they decided to be independent.” 15.05.14

Alexis Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras

Leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left in Greece (Syriza) and of the Party of the European Left

“The European Left respects the people’s right of self-determination. But clashes between peoples will never bring any positive results. We want to respect the people’s right to decide on their future according to international law. Catalonia and Scotland could also have a broader autonomy in their respective federal communities.” 15.05.14

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu

Archbishop emeritus for Capetown, Nobel Peace Prize winner and XXVI Catalonia International Prize 2014

“It is not a good sign to force people into a union that they do not want when it feels like a yoke around their neck like we are seeing now. If people are feeling strongly that they want to pull out of a union, then it is far better to listen to them and hear them rather than to force them into a relationship that they do not want.” 08.05.14

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist

“There’s a referendum coming up in Catalonia, another one in Scotland, asking about autonomy or independence. That’s dissolving the European State system, something that has just been going on for a while, and reconstructing the languages.” 08.04.14

José Bové

José Bové

French farmer, politician and syndicalist, and co-leader of the European Greens

“From the moment that Catalonia has decided to organize a referendum, I don’t see how Madrid could oppose the result, as long as it is transparent and with observers that can verify that it is democratic. Opposing it is absolutely against the people’s right to decide their own future.” 05.04.14

Martin Wolf

Martin Wolf

Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times

“If an overwhelming majority of Catalans wants to be independent, it must be accepted. I believe in self-determination. That’s why I supported the Scottish referendum.” 09.03.14

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

Two time Latvian president

“It’s the human point of view of the identity of people and how they identify with a nation state. If at some point they feel that the central government does not represent their interests and that they have an identity that they want to defend, according to the principle of self-determination, one should allow for a referendum because a referendum is an expression of people’s choice and people’s opinion.” 23.02.14

Andreas Unterberger

Andreas Unterberger

Austrian journalist & blogger, Board of Directors of the Hayek Institute

“Can a province, a Bundesland, a region declare itself independent? From Scotland to the Basque Country, Europe will be confronted with this basic question in the near future. If we take democracy seriously, we can only come to one conclusion: if regions really want to leave the state they belong to and they are ready to pay the costs for it, then it should be possible for them to do this. Otherwise it’s pure colonialism and imperialism.”18.02.14

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Deputy Leader of the SNP

“Every country has the right to self-determination. (…) The agreement between the governments in London and Edinburgh to authorize an independence referendum in Scotland is a model for how these issues can be solved in other countries too.” 13.02.14

Ken Loach

Ken Loach

Film Director

“I don’t know the Catalan case in depth, but all people have the right to self-determination. (…) In the case of Scotland, they can build a better country. They are more radical, they are defending the welfare state and their services better. If I was a Scotsman, I would vote for independence.” 13.02.14

Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes

Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting

“Sometimes autonomy works, sometimes peoples end up being independent states, sometimes there are unions, and so I think as a general matter we support there being a process of reviewing these issues in each country, but ultimately each country, each set of peoples, is going to make their own determinations.” 31.01.14

Huw Evans

Huw Evans

Professor of Law at the Cardiff Metropolitan University – Wales

“An independence referendum should be possible in Catalonia. The Spanish Government doesn’t respect the principle of democracy: it only takes into account what is in the Constitution, but does not take into account democratic principles. If the Spanish Government denies the right to self-determination to the Catalan people, it is violating basic universal rights such as freedom of expression.” 09.01.14

Daniel Turp

Daniel Turp

Professor of Constitutional and International Law at the University of Montreal (Quebec).Former Member of the Quebec National Assembly with the Parti Québécois

“Article 2 in the Spanish Constitution, which determines the indissolubility of the territorial integrity, is against international law, because there is a superior law that establishes the right of all peoples to become a sovereign state. (…) Spain has to solve this problem when there is a clear majority in favour of the independence of Catalonia. The right for self-determination is not exclusively for colonial cases.” 10.12.13

Javier Pérez-Royo

Javier Pérez-Royo

Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Seville – Spain

“Democracy and the right to decide should go together: nobody in Spain can be deprived of the right to decide. The Constitution itself provides procedures for its own revision, but amending the Constitution is science fiction, and even more so if it has to be done unilaterally by Catalonia. Spaniards have the right to decide what they want and this should be accommodated in the Constitution.” 22.11.13

José Antonio Pérez Tapias

José Antonio Pérez Tapias

Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature at the University of Granada – Spain

“The Catalan people’s right to decide, in a legal consultation under the umbrella of the Spanish Constitution, seems a compulsory step towards a federal state. Given the political situation in Spain, the federal state we need must be plurinational.” 11.11.13

Alain G. Gagnon

Alain G. Gagnon

Professor of Political Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

“Catalonia has the full right to decide on its own future because it is one of the historical founding nations of contemporary Spain. We must democratically listen to its voice. It’s as simple as that.”30.10.13

Michael Moore

Michael Moore

British Liberal Democrat MP and former Secretary of State for Scotland

“To have a political situation where legalities are holding up the will of the people is difficult. (…) Europe has evolved a lot over the centuries, particularly over the last one. Ultimately, if the people in Catalonia decide that they are going to become an independent country, I would be very surprised if that was not recognized internationally.” 23.10.13

Graham Watson

Graham Watson

Member of the European Parliament and President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party – England

“I’m certainly not opposed to a referendum in Catalonia if that is what the Catalan people want, nor would I have any problem with a self-governing Catalonia within the European Union. (…) The EU has to be a sufficiently strong but sufficiently flexible entity to allow people to express themselves within it. That may mean some changes of boundaries. But we are democrats and if that is what the majority want, then that is what must happen.” 22.10.13

Bardo Fassbender

Bardo Fassbender

Professor of International Law and Public Law in the Universities of Munich (Germany) and Sankt Gallen (Switzerland)

“The legitimacy of an independence referendum in Catalonia would depend on many circumstances and on the context. Free elections are the basic instrument in such a process, but so too would be a high participation and the number of affirmative votes. The role of international observers is also very important. If these conditions are applied, there will be few doubts; if not, then Europe will express its doubts.” 15.10.13

Johannes Hahn

Johannes Hahn

European Commissioner for Regional Policy

“Of course there is no provision in the Treaty about what to do in the event of independence and that’s why some legal experts have the opinion that then Catalonia should ask for membership. However, we should resolve this issue in a more relaxed manner, since if there is independence, it will not happen from one day to the next.” 08.10.13

Nils Schmid

Nils Schmid

Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Financial and Economic Affairs of the state of Baden-Württemberg – Germany

“Of course the process in Catalonia must be based on a referendum, because it’s up to the people to speak out and to decide. The Spanish Constitution should foresee this or provide the legal framework.” 01.10.13

Algirdas Butkevicius

Algirdas Butkevicius

Prime Minister of Lithuania

“Every country has the right to self-determination and has to find its own way. (…) I’m pleased that the Lithuanian example (the Baltic Way) has inspired the Catalans. I welcome all pacific ways to express solidarity among people and the right to self-determination.” 14.09.13

Valdis Dombrovskis

Valdis Dombrovskis

Prime Minister of Latvia

“If there is a clear will of the people and a clear demand for a referendum in Catalonia, I think it’s definitely worth paying attention to and looking at the ways of how to deal with this.” 13.09.13

Günther Dauwen

Günther Dauwen

Director of the European Free Alliance – Flanders

“We believe freedom, democracy, and the right to decide on your own future are core values of Europe. We would welcome Catalonia and a Catalan Republic to be a new State within Europe if the people so decide. Please remember this dream: the world is watching us. The world is watching you. Together we cherish this dream, let’s realise this dream.” 02.07.13

David Cameron

David Cameron

United Kingdom Prime Minister

“I don’t believe that, in the end, it is right to try to ignore these questions of nationality, independence, identity… I think it is right to make your arguments, take them on and then you let the people decide. But that is the way I want to do things in the United Kingdom and I would never presume to tell people in Spain how to meet these challenges themselves. That is a matter for the Spanish government and the Spanish Prime Minister.” 12.06.13

Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman

Polish sociologist

“Catalans don’t want to break Europe, they want to stay in. It’s an unprecedented case for the European laboratory, but problems are there to be solved and not settled down. We should avoid unnecessary extra obstacles. Why could Catalonia not be a member of the EU just as Spain is? What is the difference between having 27 member states or having 35?” 12.06.13

Allen Buchanan

Allen Buchanan

Professor of Philosophy at Duke University (USA)

“A strong argument in favour of Catalonia’s right to non-consented secession is that Spain has not shown good faith in answering their demands for more autonomy.” 26.05.13

Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon

Secretary General United Nations

Asked about Catalonia: “The United Nations has a firm and principled position that human rights should be upheld and protected. All the pending issues between countries and among countries should be resolved through peaceful means and through dialogue, respecting the genuine aspirations of the people concerned.” 02.04.13

Louis Susman

Louis Susman

US Ambassador to the UK

“If the Scottish people decide by their best judgment to stay in the UK, that would obviously enhance it. If they decide for their best reasons that they want to be outside the UK, we will find ways to work together. We have to. It doesn’t make any difference: if Catalonia left Spain, we’d have to figure out how to work with it.” 21.02.13

Franz Schausberger

Franz Schausberger

Austrian politician and historian, founder of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) in Salzburg

“In dictatorships, most secessions lead to wars. Democracies should find peaceful solutions for this, just as Slovakia and the Czech Republic did. The causes for secession almost always lie in the incapacity of a state to accommodate and establish a constructive dialogue with regions that wish for more autonomy. Besides, in times of economic crises, regions that are economically strong (but are also affected by the crises) feel they are being treated badly by the central government.” 27.11.12

Bodil Valero

Bodil Valero

Green Party Member of the Swedish Parliament & spokesperson for foreign affairs

“Sweden was the first state to recognize the independence of Kosovo, something that, by the way, Spain has not done yet. And Sweden is a democratic country. Therefore, I understand that Swedish democrats have to be in favour of the Catalan referendum.” 11.10.12

Vicente del Bosque

Vicente del Bosque

Spanish national football coach

“Catalans have the right to defend independence. I believe it is the freedom of every people to choose their future.” 14.09.12


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