“Societies develop when they have inclusive political & economic institutions,” Marta Rovira at #CoppietersAwards
Marta Rovira, Member of Catalan Parliament, Secretary General of Esquerra party and Deputy leader of JxSi coalition, spoke on behalf of the European Free Alliance at the first edition of the Coppieters Awards ceremony, which took place on the 14th of December 2016 to celebrate the political work of Mr Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland and current Scottish National Party Member of Parliament and International Affairs Spokesperson.
With this award, Centre Maurits Coppieters recognized that through his leadership, Mr Salmond has advanced Scotland’s democratic right to decide its political future and helped transform Scotland into a fair, open and democratic society. He embodies a respect for cultural diversity, peace, democracy, cooperation and a united Europe, just like Maurits Coppieters himself.
You can read the entire speech by Marta Rovira below.
“Good evening and thank you very much for the invitation; thank you president of the Centre Maurits Coppieters for the initiative, Xabier Macias; president and Secretary General of EFA, François Alfonsi and Jordi Solé; former first minister of Scotland and current MP in Westminster, Alex Salmond; elected membres, representatives…
Economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson say that societies develop economically and democratically when they have inclusive political and economic institutions. That is when many people participate in political decision-making, so law does not benefit only a small fraction of society but rather the general population. Under those conditions, citizens have incentives to invest and innovate because many can get rewarded for that.
On the other hand, societies –historically and also nowadays- get poorer when very few people control the political arena and, therefore, the economic domain. This is, sadly, what is happening in most Western countries and we can see it with rising inequalities.
It goes without saying that, in Spain, the level of inequality is extremely high. Depending on the year, Spain is the most unequal EU state, or the second most…
So far the Spanish government spent 37 billion of taxpayer’s money in bailing out the private banks; almost 2 billion in compensating the losses of a private natural gas deposit; this week we learnt that it is intending to bail out the highways around Madrid for 5.5 billion; it already spent 100 billion in building and maintaining a huge high speed train network -and many of those trains without any single passenger-, and counting, and counting and counting… All taxpayers money going to the oligarchs’ pockets.
I think that it’s now clear that national movements seeking independence within the EU, such as the Catalan, the Scottish, the Welsh or so many others movements may have their roots in national identities, but what we are really willing to do is to revert this strong current trend and get back our inclusive political and economic institucions for the benefit of everybody. We want to stop the current trend where extractive institutions massively benefit big corporations instead of citizens.
As we all know, change does not just happen. For it to happen, it requires a huge previous effort of many people.
And this is why we are here, to thank Alex Salmond all his endless work for a more prosperous Scotland -and more prosperous for all people, and not only for a few.
Some people think that getting the right to a Scottish referendum just happened. Democracy in London ‘was strong enough to accept it’, they say. Well, things do not just happen. They require a huge effort, they require persuasion, they require courage, they require persistence, they require audacity. They require winning political struggles. Thank you Alex for jumping over this hurdle because you got a right to hold referendums for Scotland, and you also put our hurdle a bit lower. History will remember that moment.
I said that our national movements are democratic. They are also pro-Europe, pro-EU, and very much so. It wouldn’t make sense at all that the EU would not work together with movements that believe in the EU, that create prosperity, that are very democratic. Because if the EU disregards those movements that are democratic and are pro-EU, who is at the end going to support the EU? The eurosceptics, the far-right parties?
I am pretty sure that we will be able to work together and tackle the present and future challenges of our societies and Europe”.