Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia

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Coat of arms of the Generalitat de Catalunya

The Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia is a Spanish organic law and forms the basis of the legal system of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia . It is recognized in Article 147 of the Spanish Constitution as part of its own legal system and regulates the rights and obligations of the citizens of Catalonia, their political institutions, their responsibilities and relations with the Spanish state and the financial resources of the Generalitat de Catalunya . These consist of the political institutions defined in the Statute of Autonomy.

The 1979 Statute of Autonomy

Grave of President Lluís Companys (executed 1940)

The first democratic elections since 1936 led to a political majority on June 15, 1977 seeking the restoration of the Generalitat and autonomy. These were dissolved in January 1939 by a law of the Spanish fascist state under General Franco , whereupon the Catalan Prime Minister Lluís Companys was executed by the Franquists and has not yet been rehabilitated. At the following Diada Nacional de Catalunya on September 15, 1977, almost a million Catalans demonstrated in Barcelona for Llibertat, amnistia, Estatut d'Autonomia ('Freedom, Amnesty, Statute of Autonomy').

Parliament of Catalonia at Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona

This forced the Spanish government under Adolfo Suárez to restore a provisional generalitat on September 29, 1977 and to allow the re-entry of the previous president Josep Tarradellas from exile. He was formally appointed President and a Provisional Government was formed to prepare for this Statute of Autonomy and the following parliamentary elections.

The statute was confirmed by a referendum in Catalonia and ratified in November 1979 by the Cortes Generales of the Spanish state . On December 18, 1979, King Juan Carlos I signed the Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia as an organic law of the state . It came into force on December 31st.

The draft statute was drawn up by members of the parliament of Catalonia , the “Commission of Twenty”, in a parador near the municipality of Vilanova de Sau . The statute is therefore also called the “Statute of Sau” and thus follows the tradition of naming the statutes of Catalonia according to their place of origin - like the “Statute of Núria ” in 1932.

The 2006 Statute of Autonomy


The main features of the Spanish state are decentralized . In addition to the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”, Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution guarantees “the right to autonomy of nationalities and regions”. Nationalities refers to the Basque Country , Galicia and Catalonia . In summary, the following competencies are regulated in the Statute of Autonomy: language and official languages, education, universities, research, culture, economic and social areas, media, (regional) political institutions, electoral system, legislation, administration of justice, penal system, agriculture, transport, tourism, finance and taxation and budgetary stability. The list is not exhaustive.

Adoption of the statute

The political institutions of Catalonia were based on a 1979 statute of autonomy until 2006. On September 30, 2005, the Catalan Parliament passed the “Draft of a new Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia ”, also known as the “ Miravet Statute” after the place of negotiation .

On November 2, 2005, the Miravet Statute was presented to the Cortes Generales (the Spanish Parliament) and explained by three speakers from the Catalan Parliament. The spokesmen for the Catalan parties CiU , PSC and ERC justified the need to reform the existing 1979 statute by saying that it had been dealt with in a central parliament (Cortes) with numerous politicians from the former Franco regime . The changes since Spain joined the European Union 26 years ago and the fact that Catalonia is a nation must be taken into account .

At the end of January 2006, Mariano Rajoy's PP began to collect 4 million signatures against the statute in a nationwide campaign (una firma contra los catalanes) . In the petition, the opposition party called for a national referendum, which Congress rejected in mid-May 2006.

After long and emotional negotiations between the parties represented in the Cortes, around half of the articles in the draft statute were changed. On March 30, 2006, the Spanish Congress voted on the text; the ERC voted against - although the party had been the driving force behind the reform - and protested against the "watering down" of the bill. On May 10, 2006, the Spanish Parliament finally approved the statute with the votes of PSOE , CiU , IU , PSC, ICV , PNV , CC and BNG , after the Senate had already approved the bill. ERC , EA and PAR abstained and the PP voted against.

In a final referendum on June 18, 2006, 73.9% of Catalans voted for the new statute; the ERC had recommended that the proposal be rejected. One big disappointment, however, was the low turnout of around 49% of eligible voters.

After King Juan Carlos I signed the statute on July 19, 2006, it came into force on August 9, 2006.

Action before the Constitutional Court

On July 31, 2006, the PP (Partido Popular) filed a judicial review complaint with the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) , attacking 114 of the 223 articles of the Statute of Autonomy as unconstitutional. Among them were around thirty similar or even identical articles which the PP had still endorsed in the Statute of Andalusia and the Balearic Islands (government under PP). In addition, Rajoy's PP tried to expel several constitutional judges; on February 5, 2007 they succeeded in this in the case of Judge Pérez Tremps because of bias (6: 5 votes). Before his appeal to the Constitutional Court in 2004, Tremps had worked as part of a group of ten legal experts on an opinion on the statute. Judge García-Calvo died in May 2008, and the PP and PSOE alternately blocked the appointment or extension of several judges in the Senate. After almost four years of deliberation, the court pronounced its verdict on June 28, 2010. Instead of the regular twelve judges, only ten had decided and four judges had expired. According to this, 14 articles are unconstitutional in whole or in part. For 27 other provisions, it determined that and how they are to be interpreted in accordance with the constitution according to the detailed explanations in the reasons for the judgment. With regard to the heavily controversial designation of Catalonia as a “nation” in the preamble of the Statute of Autonomy, it ruled that this has no legal effect in the interpretation of other norms (in particular nothing can be deduced from this that could give Catalonia a special position compared to other autonomous communities who do not define themselves as a "nation"). Otherwise, the action was dismissed.

Reactions to the judgment

Rally on July 10, 2010 in Barcelona
Saló de Cent, the historic council chamber of the city of Barcelona

At the beginning of 2007 - three and a half years before the verdict - Javier Pérez Royo, professor of constitutional law at the University of Seville , spoke of a “coup d'état” in the face of an attempt to expel Judge Pérez Tremps. The drafting of the statute was one of the “most intensive processes of democratic legitimation of a legal norm” in Spain. This process was the real goal of the PP, not because of the complaint against the statute, but with the maneuver to shift the balance in the constitutional court. The democratic will has been undermined, that is the real meaning of Pérez Tremps' rejection. In mid-2019, Pérez Royo further analyzed that the court had formally issued a judgment at the time, but materially destroyed the two pillars on which the territorial constitutional model rested (bloque de constitucionalidad, term for the constitution-autonomy statute team). This model was agreed in the Transición , with a particular focus on Catalonia and its integration into the Spanish state. The court caused some damage by ignoring the referendum result and interfering with the pact between the two parliaments. Since then there has been a constitution and a statute in Catalonia, but the citizens do not recognize them.

The ruling of the Constitutional Court aroused great indignation among the population and the various institutions of Catalonia. On the initiative of the cultural association Òmnium Cultural , over 200 groups and institutions called Som una nació. Nosaltres decidim! ('We are one nation. We decide!') For a rally on July 10, 2010 in Barcelona, ​​to which over a million citizens took to the streets.

In numerous city and district parliaments, declarations and resolutions were passed in favor of the Statute of Autonomy. The city of Barcelona convened a special meeting of the city council. It took place in the medieval Saló de Cent , the historical council chamber from 1369. The councilors of all political directions except the PP defended the content of the statute in a sharp joint declaration, called for participation in the rally and condemned them Attitude of the constitutional court. Similar decisions were also taken in the councils of the cities of Girona , Lleida and Tarragona . In addition, the Diputaciones Provinciales, the self-governing bodies of the provinces of Barcelona and Lleida , which are directly subordinate to the state, joined the general outrage. Mayors and local councilors drafted a manifesto for freedom of choice, which around 1,400 mayors and elected officials had joined by the end of August 2010.

The municipal council of El Port de la Selva was the first municipality to not be satisfied with a decision in favor of the Statute of Autonomy. In addition, he declared himself “morally excluded from the Spanish constitution”, because the striving for self-determination in Catalonia no longer finds a place in the constitution after the judgment of the court. The local council also questioned Spanish sovereignty over Catalonia. By December 2010, more than 110 other cities and municipalities followed this example, including nine main towns of comarcas (district towns).

At the Spanish level as a whole, the PSOE - unlike its Catalan sister party, the PSC - welcomed the ruling, which had confirmed the constitutionality of the Statute of Autonomy in the central points. The conservative PP did not want the outcome of the proceedings to be viewed as a failure. In their view, even if a single provision had been declared unconstitutional, the lawsuit would have been justified. The left-wing IU joined the Catalan parties' criticism of the judgment.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Raul Zelik : Tractor Catalonia. Autonomy: How the region has moved further and further to the left under pressure from the right central government in Madrid. derFriday, October 1, 2017, accessed on October 6, 2017 .
  2. Enric Juliana: La Pragmatica corriente. La Vanguardia, November 8, 2012, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  3. a b c d El Estatut catalán. La cronología. June 28, 2010, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  4. Luis R. Aizpeolea: El PP recurre 30 artículos del Estatuto catalán que aprueba con el mismo texto en el andaluz. El País, July 4, 2007, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  5. ^ A b Javier Pérez Royo: El Constitucional acepta la recusación de Pérez Tremps planteada por el PP. El País, February 5, 2007, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  6. Julio M. Lázaro: Los símbolos "nacionales" son los de una "nacionalidad". El País, July 10, 2010, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  7. ^ Judgment of the Constitutional Court of June 28, 2010 (STC 31/2010) (Spanish) ; official English translation (PDF, 439 kB)
  8. La Vanguardia: La dignidad de Catalunya. November 26, 2009, accessed June 26, 2020 (Spanish).
  9. ^ Javier Pérez Royo: Golpe de Estado. El País, February 10, 2007, accessed June 27, 2020 (Spanish).
  10. Javier Pérez Royo: Quiebra de la Constitucion. El País, January 4, 2013, accessed June 27, 2020 (Spanish).
  11. ^ Pérez Royo: "The Tribunal Constitucional dio un golpe de Estado en Cataluña". June 30, 2019, accessed June 27, 2020 (Spanish).
  12. ^ Report in SPIEGEL-ONLINE from July 11, 2010
  13. Report in AVUI of 2 July 2010
  14. Manifesto of the mayors and municipal councils for freedom of choice ( memento of the original from August 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Current list of supporting mayors and municipal councils ( memento of the original from October 2, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Report in AVUI of 6 July 2010
  17. reports in AVUI from December 6, 2010 with the names of the supporting cities and towns