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Put the brakes on Catalan independence

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11.10.2017

Expectations before Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's appearance in the regional parliament on Tuesday were enormous, and he has faced severe pressure in recent days.

The delay at the beginning of the parliamentary session was down to last-minute talks with Puigdemont's left-wing coalition partners in the Catalan government, whose radical views meant his subsequent speech would inevitably be seen as an "unacceptable betrayal."

In the end, the speech by the president of the "Generalitat de Catalunya" largely remained faithful to the arguments he had made in recent months, though he did go further when he said that the recent exit of companies from Catalonia would have no "significant impact" on the Catalan economy.

DW's Maria Santacecilia

Looking backward - and forward

Puigdemont also used his speech to recall the "humiliations" Catalonia had suffered at the hands of the Spanish state in the past 15 years: changes made by the Constitutional Court in sensitive matters regarding autonomy in 2006; the continued refusal of the central government to hold a popular vote on Catalan independence; punitive measures against those who merely wanted to start a national inquiry on independence on November 9, 2014 - and finally the violent action of Spanish police forces during the referendum on October 1, 2017.

Despite the unlawful context of the election, Puigdemont insisted on its legitimacy and proclaimed Catalonia's independence as an independent republic - though he then immediately abandoned the call for independence and demanded dialogue.

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