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16 de maig 2018

Quim Torra's investiture speech (12 May 2018) in English

This is an unofficial English translation, by M.M. and M.S., of candidate Quim Torra's investiture speech on Saturday May 12, 2018.

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Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rt. Hon. President Mas, Rt. Hon. President Benach, Rt. Hon. President De Gispert, Hon. Mrs. Conesa, elected representatives to the Congress and the Senate, Minister Borràs, authorities, ladies and gentlemen who follow us in the chamber and the rest of the building, and those who follow us through the media throughout the country, also most affectionate greetings - more affectionate than ever - to the relatives of those in prison and exile. [In Occitan] Also to the Aranese that are following us from the Val d’Aran.

I should not be here today.

I should not be making this investiture speech and should not be asking for your confidence for a government programme. Today, here andnow, the legitimate president of Catalonia, Rt. Hon. Sr. Carles Puigdemont should be on this spot.

And it should be he, addressing us in freedom inside this chamber, who presents us with the government program for our country. And he should be accompanied by all the political and exiled prisoners who cannot be here either. They too, in freedom with us and their families, should be able to listen.

So my first words are to convey my heart-felt thoughts to all who, for the simple act of allowing the people of Catalonia to vote, are now deprived of their rights, deprived of freedom without conviction, hostages of a State that has violated the most basic democratic rules.

Our fellow Members cannot be here: President Puigdemont, Vice-President Junqueras, the board members Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, nor the president of the our Parliamentary Group, Jordi Sánchez. Nor can Speaker Carme Forcadell, Ministers Toni Comín, Lluís Puig, Joaquim Forn and Raül Romeva. Nor can Ministers Clara Ponsatí, Dolors Bassa and Meritxell Serret. And, still in prison and exile, are my dear friend Jordi Cuixart, the secretary general of Esquerra Marta Rovira, and the ex-deputy of the CUP, Anna Gabriel.

We shall repeat it as often as necessary: ​​We shall never tire of remembering them, because we will never tire of fighting for their freedom.

At the start of this investiture debate, I want to make it clear that:
  
  • Our President is Carles Puigdemont.
  • We will be loyal to the mandate of October the first: to build an independent state in the form of a Republic.
  • And our government program is one of social cohesion and economic prosperity for Catalonia.

With determination, I present my candidacy for the presidency of the Generalitat to serve these three purposes:

  • The best way to remake our country after the Article 155 attack is to form a government.  
  • The best way to protect and defend the interests of political prisoners and those in exile is to form a government.
  • The most powerful way for the country to advance Republicanism on all fronts is a government working to achieve this.
If you wish, we could summarize it as Joan Fuster did: ‘Any policy undertaken without us will be undertaken against us”. So let's undertake it ourselves.

By way of introduction, allow me to delve deep into the workings of the government program to let you know where we are: in an exceptional stage.

Today in Catalonia, democracy is on trial. Innocent people have been arrested; honorable politicians are in exile; professors, teachers, mayors, civil servants, CDR social activists, comedians and journalists are being investigated.

Today, in Catalonia, the universal right of any people to self-determination is criminalized. The civic rights of expression, of demonstration and of thought are trampled underfoot and threatened.

These facts place Catalonia in an unimaginable political exceptionality for any European country in our environment.

  • Nothing will be normal at home until we retrieve our institutions.
  • Nothing will be normal at home until we recover democracy.
  • Nothing will be normal at home until people who simply defended and exercised democracy so that we could vote in the self-determination referendum on October 1 are free.

Some would seek to make us believe that we live in a normal country. On the contrary, we live in an exceptionally abnormal political moment, of enormous gravity. And, of course, this exceptionality directly and profoundly affects the legislature and everything that can be derived from it: first and foremost, this very investiture.

If you allow me a personal observation, I would like to say that I think that nobody is as pained as I am to have to come to this investiture.

And I think we need to pause for a moment and talk about the four investitures that have been attempted in recent months. To do this strikes me personally as being a duty of political justice; but it is also relevant when it comes to seeing to what extent the rights of our fellow members have been violated and crushed, and I have no doubt these violations will end up being resolved in our favour in International Courts.

First of all, that of President Puigdemont on January 30, which was blocked by the combined efforts of the Spanish government and the Constitutional Court, while threatening our institutions.

Secondly, that of my colleague Jordi Sànchez, unfeasible because a judge prevented him from exercising his rights as a member of Parliament.

Thirdly, the investiture of Minister Jordi Turull. Can anyone imagine that in any country in the European Union, in the middle of an investiture debate, the member of Parliament who is the candidate can be sent to prison? Can anyone imagine that this can really happen in a democratic state? Do you believe this actual scenario could be possible in Norway or in the United Kingdom? Well, it happened here, in Catalonia, in that was probably one of the greatest indecences that our Parliament has experienced and that, personally, I cannot stop thinking about.

And, finally, the renewed attempt to hold the investiture of Jordi Sànchez, based on the precautionary measures approved by the Committee of Human Rights of the United Nations. As Professor Neus Torbisco, Professor of Human Rights in Geneva, says, these are measures of extraordinary importance, given that very few have been granted.

Well, does Mr. Llarena not consider that the United Nations should have any importance? When a resolution of the United Nations has no influence, how arbitrary is that? Who controls the judiciary in Spain?

Four attempts at an investiture. Someone has frivolously suggested that it has been a waste of time. And I wonder: a waste? Really? A waste?

Well, if so, how will we win the battle in the International Courts, if it is not indicating each and every time one of these procedural and judicial barbarities has been committed?

That's why the itinerary followed during these months in Catalonia has been so important. It has likewise been vital that the itinerary be followed in the extraditions in Germany, Belgium, Scotland and Switzerland. This is how, day by day, we have been able to show the very serious attacks in Spain on the civil and civic rights of our fellow citizens, and our political and social representatives. This is how every day, from exile, we have laid the foundations that have to allow us to finally prevail against injustice.

I said at the beginning that President Puigdemont should be the person delivering this speech today. And it will have to be President Puigdemont who does so, as soon as possible,.

On two separate occasions, this Parliament has acknowledged that he is the one who has the favorable vote of the absolute majority of the chamber. But against this reality, the State has mobilized all its tentacles of power - both the imaginable and the unimaginable - to prevent it. In a frenzied race towards the abyss of repression, the state has prevented us from choosing the person who legally and legitimately won an election.

Any trace of respect for the citizens of Catalonia has been eliminated. But our response will never change: we will persist, insist and invest.

If you allow me, this is one of the central ideas of the Republican project that I present to you. Moreover, I have to confess that I have accepted the responsibility to go through with this investiture:

  • First, because I understand that the moment demands from us all the responsibility and attitude of service to the country which we are capable of.

  • And second, I have accepted the responsibility to carry out this legislature, because of the provisional situation that the country is enduring, that can only end with the freedom of the prisoners, the return of those in exile and the recognition and acceptance of the democratic will of the Catalans.
Certainly, in view of the situation created there were other possible solutions. We have studied them thoroughly and, in our opinion, forming a government is the one that best follows the Republican path that began with the referendum on October the first, goes through the political declaration of independence on the 27th and the revalidation in the December 21st election.

But this is not enough: a government needs to express, in its same configuration, our unyielding desire to continue the Republican mandate granted by the citizens.

Therefore, let us start a transition stage, which will allows us to move forward in our project with all the strength, force and resources, while establishing a provisional framework. In fact, a framework of commitment and challenge for the whole nation. For we will have a strong government, stronger than I, above all we will have a strong and united country, to face together the challenges that we encounter.

In a few days the application of article 155 will be formally lifted. I see you telling me “No”. The government of the State is obliged to do so.

There will no longer be any reason for it to continue in force if you, my fellow deputies, vote in favour of my candidacy. But we have no excuse to not work tirelessly for the Republic.

And to this point, I now have to make not a confession, but a confirmation. If you grant me your confidence and we therefore inaugurate this legislature, from that moment both I and the government I shall have the honour of presiding will assume all the responsibility that derives from our acts.

Only we, the government that emerges from this investiture, shall be held accountable for  what we will do, never in any way the people who are today in prison, in exile, being investigated or at risk of being so.

How and in what way we propose to advance in the construction of the republic is our exclusive responsibility.

So three important words define the starting point:
 
  • Exceptionality: Prison, exile, lack of rights, lack of democracy. Provisionality: this situation can not continue like this. Responsibility: forming a government  
  • And nevertheless, allow me to add two more words: dialogue and life.

To speak of dialogue, I will draw from the inaugural speech of Minister Turull. At one point, he indicated one of the most important values ​​that make us human: pact, dialogue and understanding.

  • The Minister said: "We are people of understanding and want to reach agreements. The pact and giving one’s word means everything in this country that has always anxiously sought firm consensuses. We have always done this, and we want to continue doing so. Because if we stop doing it, we will no longer be ourselves. And today, solemnly, after the unquestionable victory of the independentist forces in the past elections, we offer our extended hand to the Spanish government. Let's ask to sit at a table to politically solve the political problems have. From government to government ".

I fully share the words of the Minister.

And today I am pleased to recall the words that the current King Philip VI, then Prince of Girona, delivered on April 21, 1990, right here in this Parliament of Catalonia. The then prince said: "Catalonia will be what Catalans want it to be ".

And the following day, in Girona, he continued by adding: "The well structured Constitution, with the Statute of Autonomy and the democratic nature in which society expresses itself, allow for the absolutely free pursuit of any project. Democracy expresses its projects through the polls."

[In Spanish] Well it turns out, Your Majesty, that there are political prisoners in this country; it turns out that there are exiles in this country; it turns out that there are hundreds of Catalans being prosecuted for having freely pursued their project, a democratic project, independence; it turns out that we voted for it on the 1st of October and the 21st of December, but the will expressed in the ballot boxes has not been respected.

Your Majesty, not this way.

So, shall we talk, Sr. Mariano Rajoy? Shall we sit together at one and the same table, your government  and the government of Catalonia? We are ready to start the discussion tomorrow. Without conditions, without vetoing anything. With the due institutional respect between Governments and the urgent need to rechannel politics towards politics.

We shan’t hold this up. We do not give up anything, not even to reach agreement with the government of Spain.

But if we talk of a dialogue, I also have to address a few words to the President of the European Commission:

(In English) I would also like to address a few words to Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

Dear Mr. Juncker, we appreciate your words this week, regarding the Catalan crisis. As
you probably know, the 25th of April, members of the European Parliament [presented]
in Barcelona the European Union - Catalonia Dialogue Platform and I regretted the
"unacceptable silence" of the European institutions over the situation in the country,
urging them to be engaged in the Catalan crisis and mediate in order to find a political
solution.

"Democracy is all about understanding each other, speaking to each other, finding the
way of compromise" said Ivo Vajgl, on behalf of the Platform.

The Catalan crisis cannot go on for one more second.

[The] Catalan people, as European citizens, deserve the support and mediation of the
European Community. There are Catalan democratic politicians in prison and in exile,
as well as the leaders of two of the largest civic organizations in Catalonia. All of them
charged with rebellion, risking from 15 to 25 years in prison.

This is not acceptable in the Europe we aim [for], the democracy we expect and the land of
the human and civil rights we dream [of].

I have requested dialogue with Spain and with the European Union. And I also ask for dialogue among ourselves. I contend that insulting cannot be defended as a way of referring to each other. Nor can the justification that wearing a ribbon on one’s chest, of whatever colour, amounts to a provocation.

In order to talk respect is needed. Coexistence requires respect. That is why, apart from dialogue, I want to talk to you about life.

All the processes that are constructed in freedom and for the freedom of all will always have the great challenge of achieving that reason and peace prevail. That is why they bear in themselves the seed of an inescapable challenge and a justified hope.

Txarango’s song says: "We’ll have everything and we’ll talk about life." And yes, it's true, we need and want to talk about life! This is also in the title of a book by Anna Gabriel, today in exile, "I parlarem de vida” (“And we will talk about life").

García Márquez, in a brilliant essay entitled “Por un país al alcance de los niños” ("For a country within the reach of children"), says that "the immense creative energy that for centuries we have wasted on predation and violence will finally open up for us the second opportunity on the Earth that the unfortunate strain of Aureliano Buendía did not have. For a prosperous and just country we dreamed of: within reach of children. "

Maybe it's true, maybe it's only through our children's eyes, clean and clear, that we’ll be able to learn how to find the way out.

What the arrests and exile broke was the life of many families. And what has to be repaired is the stolen life of all these Catalans. We have to overcome this injustice, and we must overcome it as a country. We must devote all the necessary efforts, for in Catalonia we recognize the free life of men and women in its most exalted state.

Do you know how many letters have been sent to those in prison and exile in the last 6 months? Half a million. Half a million letters. This was made public by Ferran Civit MP a few days ago. The number is stratospheric and demonstrates to what extent we face a challenge that has made all of us reflect.

And that is why we shan’t prevail unless we underline that the Catalan political crisis is also a humanitarian crisis. That's why we need to do everything to move from prison and exile, to life; to pass from repression and authoritarianism, to where we all rescue life.

All of us citizens and all the Members of this chamber have to give a true, sincere, political response, to affirm - above all - respect for the other, and fight to give it as a collective citizens’ "we".

You and all citizens can rest assured that we are willing to do all that is necessary to be able to talk about life in this country. We aren’t that far, or rather, we should not be that far from the "existential revolution" that Vaclav Havel called for, which would infuse hope for the "moral reconstruction of society and the rehabilitation of values ​​like trust, sincerity, responsibility and love." This is the way, the only way possible.

And yes, it's true, we'll all have to take risks. But as Professor Joan Vergés said recently in an interview: "If there are no risks, it is a sign that you are not fighting".

Often, in the most difficult times in these past months, I wondered how we managed to overcome it all, all together. How have we managed to cope with a situation as dramatic as the one we are living through today?

And the only answer I can find is that, were Catalonia not a people anchored in its values, we would not have been able to prevail. The values Minister Turull reminded us of: of peace, of being welcoming, of being plural. And how we shall always rebel against injustice, fear and threats. I also remember the words of our beloved Patrícia Gabancho, her legacy for us to move forward, like any other normal country: talent, project, leadership and unity.

I can only add that we ask - that we demand - more of ourselves. We have to go even further, putting the focus more intensely on wherever it is most necessary to do so, as when I spoke to you about life.

Let me give you an example. In his book "The Meridian of Paris", Lluís Calvo draws a map of the old meridian finally defined by Francesc Aragó, a Catalan scientist at Estagell in the Roussillon, and from Dunkirk to Ocata, going through Paris, Occitania, Prats de Molló and Sant Joan de les Abadesses. In an published interview, he said that "the book ends in the lighthouse of Sa Dragonera, where the meridian goes.

It is a light that can still guide us. The light of collective rights and dignity. The light of the spirit, of culture and freedom. We need to return urgently to humanism".

Montserrat Roig had already warned: "Culture is the most revolutionary political option in the
long term".

I am completely convinced of this: the Catalan Republic can only move forward if it is built around people, with them at the centre. And we need to base our political struggle on legitimacy, integrity and the deepest respect for all.

Freedom and culture. This is the way we have to go.

Let me now move into the section of the speech devoted to explaining what we are going to do from now on. And the answer, coming from the pro-independence majority, is that we will build the republic, based on republican values ​​and on the broad national constituent debates.

I understand Republicanism as a society of free and equal citizens, not subordinated, not dominated, but empowered and participatory.

It is in them, in the citizens, that the raison d’être for the Republic lies: without free citizens there is no republic.

And in order for this to be truly achieved, we absolutely need institutions free of corruption, maximizing transparency in management and recruitment, and encouraging the participation and collaboration of citizens, in order for them to be truly at the service of the citizens.

I understand citizens, evidently, as political actors and not as subjects.

The construction of a Republic for all must become an opportunity for real change so that improvements can be made in all areas of our lives; guaranteeing political, personal, social, economic, and sustainability rights.

Equality must be the central basis of public policies by introducing the gender perspective and protocols against sexist violence and sexual discrimination in all areas.

And a beacon as regards cultural, origin and linguistic plurality. In short, an irrevocably inclusive society where no-one is excluded on account of their characteristics in any area of life.

Equality goes hand in hand with fraternity, understood as the scrupulous respect for human rights and human dignity.

It is thus, in a republican way, that the nation becomes yet again, and more than ever, a daily plebiscite, a voluntary union day by day.

And in parallel to this attitude that should frame every step taken during this legislature, we will promote a constituent process, involving the citizens. We aspire to turn it into a great Catalan national debate on the future of our country, to trace the social, economic and institutional model that we imagine for it. This debate should truly involve all citizens and be able to form broad pacts and national consensuses.

We have a unique opportunity, which few countries have in their history. Let’s take advantage of it. Let us inclusively design from scratch the country we want to live in, and how we want to live in it, without a priori positions.  

Let us do this radically, getting to the heart of the problems, with a disruptive view of the autonomous regime, that clearly drags us towards becoming residual, and that has been shown to be unsuitable for the ambitions of a country that aspires to more, to much more. It aspires to so much that it wants everything.

I insist that this must be a participatory process involving everyone. This is a bottom-up process which after the public debate - which we hope will be massive - should end up becoming a draft of the Constitution of the Republic of Catalonia.

As Professor Jaume López says: "A constituent process is an opportunity to put into practice the fundamental principles of a democratic regime. The power of the people, the power of citizenship in its utmost expression." I ask myself: Who can fear our country being built on the maximum radicalism possible?

In short, ladies and gentlemen, in this legislature we want to go from the restitution of our institutions to the recovery of democracy in its utmost expression: the drafting of a constitution.

This is the republican way to build a new country.

As I said at the beginning, this vision of the legislature is subject to the provisionality in which we will move. Putting the legislature in motion gives us the capacity to initiate all means of political republican action. Here and in exile. The Assembly of Elected Officials on the inside, and the Council for the Republic in the European Free Space.

But no-one can avoid realising the first essential milestone ahead of us: the holding of trials against Catalan democratic politicians. The country will be put to the test; everyone, government, institutions and citizenship, must know how to seize the moment. Let us make ourselves worthy of it, so that the sacrifice of so many friends and colleagues deprived of freedom and in exile will not be in vain.

And we still must consider a second great event, the local elections, which we have to see as a new and magnificent opportunity to strengthen our sovereignty and to count on the municipalities to build Republic, the republic of the municipalities.


Now I should like to talk about what the inspirational principles of this legislature will be, and therefore, the foundations that will shape the Government’s Plan.

  • Firstly, the democratic reestablishment of Catalonia’s institutions, accompanied by a common front against repression.
  • Secondly, policies of progress and social cohesion for a better country, that can allow us to counteract the attempt to fracture our society, with the will to move towards a Republic for all.
  • Thirdly, policies of economic prosperity, that will allow us to create wealth, move the country forward, and implement out a good redistributive policy.
  • And fourthly, Catalonia place in the world and internationalizing the Catalan case.

First of all, then, we will embody the inspirational principle of democracy. This is the supreme value that has to prevail in the country and institutions above all others. It is the citizens who have the capacity to decide the future and to guide decision-making, and those of us who are at the head of the institutions, those of us that represent the sovereignty, have to listen, have to obey and have to comply with the mandate that has been granted to us.

In this regard, I am confident that this House will no longer be a quagmire, a breeding ground for filing court cases, and will recover the possibility of making policy in capital letters, that is, the art of discussing, contrasting ideas and projects, and making things possible. We shall all win in the process.

And the first priority of the Government in this area will undoubtedly be to democratically restore the Catalan institutions. It is urgent, and is legally necessary, for the State to accept the 21 December mandate, that is to say, to rectify, repair and restore everything that has been removed without the permission of the Catalans over the past few months in which we have endured, stupefied - as the European citizens that we are - by the repression and cutbacks in fundamental rights in a generalized manner against all kinds of people and groups.

And we also need to remember September and October of last year, and the violence and repression directed and authorized by the leadership of the Spanish government, promoting the deployment to, and installation in, Catalonia of thousands of policemen. Its very minister Zoido priced the cost of this deployment at almost 100 million Euros. It's unacceptable, it's intolerable. How can a European democracy justify not only repression but also the spending of public funds simply to ban and suppress an idea?

And all this bitter reality has been accompanied by a tendency for the Spanish state to recover our powers, to take over the finances of the Generalitat and the local authorities, and to exhibit an undisguised will to strangle the Catalan economy, ranging from the unbearable fiscal drainage to the inefficient management of infrastructures, an energy system which harms competitiveness, and the irrational rigidity of a judicial and bureaucratic system against SMEs.

So in short, taking into account the will of the people of Catalonia expressed at the polls, we shall restore legality and repair the damage inflicted on citizens.

And in this regard, I announce to you that the Government will appoint a Commissioner, assigned to the Department of the Presidency, who will be in charge of developing an emergency plan to evaluate and repair the effects of the application of Article 155, not only in the Administration, but also throughout the country.

And I will also advocate concrete measures to be taken by the Government immediately: we shall withdraw the ignominious case filed against the 9 November 2014 poll, which was presented a few weeks ago by the Generalitat, mandated by 155 and against the criterion of the Generalitat’s own legal office, before the Court of Auditors, and in which the payment of more than 5 million euros is required of them. And I take this opportunity: I should like to extend my deep appreciation for, and admiration of, Artur Mas, Joana Ortega, Irene Rigau and Francesc Homs, for having made possible the poll on November 9 2014, one of the decisive moments of the process that Catalonia has experienced in recent years.

On the other hand, for us democracy is also to strive for a digital Catalonia that truly places us in the 21st century, which discards the analogical, anachronistic and bureaucratic state of the last century. We need to promote a Catalan digital citizenry, that connects government and people, to manage to leave behind the concept of "I am the state" and move on to "We are the state."

The second principle that inspires the Government Plan that I am submitting to the Chamber is social cohesion. That is to say, the set of progressive public policies for a better country to respond to the main demands that society puts to us. There is no other way, for all those who want a Republic for everyone, simply because we understand the Republic as a tool at the service of people’s welfare. And as an attitude of constant improvement: we have to work and we have to do it well.

We are aware that in our country there are many people who are going through hardships. We are aware that in our country there is poverty, and that is why we want to be able to deal with it, to be able to have instruments to fight it. We already know that if we continue as before, we shall not be able to do enough. We play with our arms and legs tied, and blindfolded, and we shall not succeed this way.

We want a country where no-one is left behind, a country that places the person at the centre of decisions, and which prioritizes prosperity and cohesion. And the Spanish state condemns us to becoming a backwater, to be a second-class country, to lose opportunities, to leave citizens behind.

During the last parliamentary term, the systematic appeals and suspensions by the Constitutional Court of most of the bills adopted by this Parliament have held up the social and material progress of the people of Catalonia. It hasn’t hindered to particular groups of citizens: it has hindered the prosperity of the country, of all citizens. The progressive laws on the climate, the economy, social policy and housing, among others, challenged and blocked by the apparatus of the Spanish state, have brought the welfare state to a crisis.

That is why we shall cope with it, and we shall do so from the bottom up, ensuring public policies that reach everybody, and recovering everything that was laid down and adopted by this Parliament in the suspended laws.

On the first of October we chose to be free, and we did so thinking that this entails the 7·5 million Catalans: we want to build a better country, we want to build the republic of the rights of all, and of all the rights.

One of the priorities in social matters will be the Guaranteed Minimum Income, one of the main social achievements of the last legislature, which offers the hope of giving opportunities of social and labour inclusion to those people and families that have been left behind. We are committed to solving the difficulties caused by Article 155, improving the system and the service channels, drafting the norms and defining a portfolio of services in integration and inclusion policies.

Although I cannot delve into each and every one of these areas, I would like to mention gender policies and diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as the fight against sexist violence, since they are the foundations of the construction of the just, equitable and feminist Republic that we want. We cannot allow, for example, any more shocking sentences like the one handed down a few weeks ago, that denigrates the role of women in all dimensions and that everyone regards as intolerable.

Likewise, we must commit ourselves to achieve equality between men and women in the workplace, and to end unjustifiable wage, opportunity and promotion differences.

We shall be especially alert on, and shall look after, Catalan public health, schooling and housing: these are pillars that underpin social cohesion. For all citizens have the right to the best health system and the best possible schooling. And to a decent home. The Government of Catalonia has to ensure that the model of health and the model of Catalan schools, two models of success, are the same for all. And that we reach this same objective as regards the right to housing.

Naturally enough, the protection of schools has to be linked to the protection of the language in order to ensure that Catalan continues to be a tool of social inclusion, perfectly compatible with a country that aspires to a fluent use of multilingualism.

Finally, we shall give full support to the public and publicly managed media and information media as a necessary tool to ensure the right to independent information, and political and social pluralism.

The third principle is economic prosperity. We want our country to be prosperous and attractive internationally, to grow and generate wealth, to be able to redistribute it thereafter. For we want - and we need - a country with a dynamic, advanced economy. We want a productive economy, with companies that strive to innovate, to adapt to new needs, to grow, to achieve talent and to become international. Ours is not an economy of "pelotazos" (speculative killings) or enriched through the influence that the State grants it.

These will be our top priorities:

  • The implementation of the National Agreement for Industry, which must allow us to develop the industrial fabric of Catalonia and bring the proportion of industry close to 25% of our GDP in the next 5 years.
  • The transformation of the business and industrial model of Catalonia so that it can lead the fourth industrial revolution from the south of Europe: that is, industry 4.0.
  • And to bank on the circular economy, which strives towards maximum material efficiency and which has no waste because it does not recognize it as such, for it is seen and treated as usable resources.

I also want to make reference to the energy field, where we have to make a transition to renewable energies, aiming for all the energy generated in Catalonia tol come from renewable sources by 2050. This is a fundamental aspect of the fight against Climate Change.

In financial matters, it is an obligation to remember and denounce with all our strength Catalonia’s net tax outflow  - 16,000 million euros ever year - which holds us back and prevents us from providing the public services that we deserve or from building the infrastructure that our economy requires to be competitive and to rival other European countries. Without resolving this net tax outflow, any demand for improvement of policies or investments is just pie in the sky.

And the fourth and last inspiring principle of the measures that we propose for this legislature is based on continuing to put Catalonia on the world map and internationalize the Catalan case.

We believe - and it became apparent throughout the past legislature - in the need for an active foreign policy that gives Catalonia its own voice and that fosters international cooperation based on the values ​​of peace and progress. To achieve this, we shall launch and maintain a permanent dialogue with international actors, institutions and organizations, based on the conviction that the Catalan people have issued a clear and democratic message to be heard and respected.

In this regard, we will announce that we will proceed to restore, consolidate and expand the network of government delegations abroad so as to promote the interests of Catalonia in the world, to strengthen their role as an economic, political, knowledge, social and environmental progress and cultural creation motor.

We shall continue to work to help our companies to become internationalized and to achieve new investment opportunities for our country. And at a cultural level, we shall consolidate the Institut Ramon Llull as a fundamental tool for the external projection of Catalonia’s language and culture in the framework of the 2017 Palma Declaration.

On another front, we shall also appeal to the International Community whenever necessary, to report the violation of rights that the citizens of Catalonia suffer through the Spanish state’s illegal actions.

We shall also ensure that Catalans living abroad can enjoy their full democratic rights, and receive the services that the Government of the Generalitat may offer them.

As Parliament approved last week, I want to express our commitment to European principles and values, without which we could not understand what Catalonia is. Europe is an idea, it represents values ​​of freedom, democracy, justice and respect inspired by a long humanistic tradition. The national fullness of our country is linked to European values. There is no European project without Catalonia, or a Catalonia without Europe. But we need institutions that represent and listen to people, who do not close their eyes to human dramas, injustices and violations of fundamental rights.

You will have noticed that I have not gone in detail into many areas of what the Government program will be. On March 22, Jordi Turull MP described in great detail the main measures of the Government that he aspired to lead, commitments, in short, a program to which I obviously also subscribe, and will therefore deliberately will not repeat today.

To conclude this section, I would like to make clear that the guiding principle of the Government I will preside over if I get the support of this Parliament is to think always, and above any other argument, about the needs of the country and of all citizens that comprise it. This is our duty. This is our commitment.

I should now like to speak,, in these final words, to the people of Catalonia.

Dear compatriots, freedom for Catalonia will not be the work of this Parliament, nor of this Government; You have won the freedom of Catalonia. Never give up your personal freedom, defend it as you have defended it, peacefully and radically.

This is the way peoples win their most beautiful victories.

And your victory is the failure of a State that has not just not wanted to negotiate, or even meet to talk; but has used violence against the people. But on October 1 they failed and they will fail if they ever dare to use violence again, because any regime of force that seeks to destroy the ideas and dignity of people will always fail. It will always fail.

This legislature is born having fulfilled its duty of frustrating fear and the very serious threats that have so far been thrown at us. But also with the provisionality of an exceptional phase that requieres the best of us all.

We shall behave with firmness, tranquility, and self-confidence. On behalf of President Puigdemont and myself, I dare to ask of you responsibility and trust. We need you. You need each other. We need to continue together, as of today, making an even greater effort.

Everyone is duty-bound to work for the country, to serve it. This is the commitment of the moment that has fallen upon us. I ask you to comply, to be aware of this grave moment and to demand from yourselves that which is only up to us.

You know that everything that we are doing, everything that it will be up to us to do from now on, cannot be expected through the concession of anybody other than ourselves. Be loyal to what Catalonia asks you for. And then, be sure that we will overcome all the clashes.

Maybe of all the people I've known, outside of my family, no-one has helped me develop as a person as much as Muriel Casals. I was lucky enough to work at her side for several years. Muriel was not just the smile of a revolution, she was a revolutionary who smiled. She overflew Catalonia under reconstruction, tying togehter everything that could be tied, be it people, feelings, ideas or time. And above all, Muriel’s legacy is an incredible legacy, for Muriel gave us hope. In her last book, "Hunger and pride," she wrote "Hope is the virtue that we should stimulate at the present time. Our future depends, on the one hand, on faith in our country, a faith that we have most certainly proved, and on the other, the future needs us to continue practising the virtue of charity, which is what we today call social cohesion. We need to be convinced that the future we want, and want to share with people of different backgrounds, is in our hands. If we have hope, now is the time to get to work".

And to you, my fellow Members, I tell you: the work is now ours. Now is the time to get to work. Today we get rid of the past, of article 155, and we open up a new future before us. Let’s build it together.

As together as the values ​​that Catalonia and the Republic represent, two ideals that are forever inseparable.

Thank you very much.


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