Pedro Sánchez denies Catalonia a Basque-style tax deal because it would prevent interregional solidarity

The PSOE leader is certain that 2016 won’t be the year of independence because many Catalans are keen to give Spain “another chance”

Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s PSOE, is certain that anyone who claims 2016 will be the year of Catalan independence is mistaken because most Catalans are keen to give Spain “another chance”. “Mark my words”, he said during an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1. He added that the socialist party is taking the 2.5 million Catalans who cast a ballot in the mock independence vote of November 9th “very seriously”. That is why he supports a constitutional reform, he added.

Jordi Basté asked him what decisions he would take on Catalonia, if he were in office. He outright denied any chance of offering Catalonia a tax deal like in the Basque Country. He claimed that a Basque-style specific fiscal system would get in the way of solidarity among Spain’s regions and that Catalonia must be “committed” to ensure that education and health care services can be paid for everywhere in Spain. However, he opposed any change to the fiscal system in the Basque Country and justified his view on grounds of historic and regional rights.

No right to self-determination, but fully devolved powers on Catalan language and culture

The PSOE leader made it clear that his party opposes the Catalan nation’s right to self-determination. He suggested that the first priority must be to reach an agreement that includes all the Spanish people and then put it to the vote. Mr Sánchez rejected Catalan independence because he feels that its supporters prioritise reaching an agreement on the terms of the “break-up”.

In contrast, he favours full devolution in all matters pertaining to the Catalan language and culture and welcomes the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. He also supports changing the current tax system --which his own party agreed to-- because “it does not ensure” that Catalonia receives enough funding per capita to pay for basic social services. “It’s not enough”, he stated.

“Like many Catalans and Spaniards, I do not like Rajoy’s Spain”, Sánchez added, and he emphasised that not everybody in Madrid thinks the same way as the PP. He went on to say that a constitutional reform will be possible only if the PSOE wins the next Spanish elections. He stated that the 1978 Spanish Magna Carta needed “new legitimacy”.

Pedro Sánchez said that PM Rajoy had wasted a chance to solve a “serious problem” with Spain’s regional organisation when he failed to use his majority in Parliament to reach a consensus on the matter. In fact, he stated that one of the main differences between the PP and the PSOE at present is precisely the diagnostic of the problem: while the former refuse to admit that it is very serious issue, the latter don’t.

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