Barcelona wants to decide

In a plenary session, the City Council of Barcelona has solemnly stated the support of the majority to the law of consultations that the Catalan Parliament passed last week and to the right of Catalans to decide our future. This process is the culmination of a series of historic events over the last few years, when many citizens have expressed their desire to be heard and vote freely in a consultation.

Once again, on 11 September we witnessed the latest expression of this will in the streets of Barcelona. 1.8m Catalans demanded the right to decide about our future. On this historic National Day, the world watched Barcelona and marvelled at the civic, peaceful, unbeatable spirit of the demonstration.

Barcelona has been the capital city of Catalonia for a thousand years and it is admired and loved all over the world. Barcelona is at the forefront of the world's cities in terms of culture, knowledge, creativity, innovation and welfare. I always say that, in the European context, Catalonia as a nation is the same size as Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands and Finland. But its capital, Barcelona, is in the same league as other capitals such as London, Berlin, Paris and Rome. Barcelona is the world leader on many fronts and it perfectly showcases our national aspirations to the world.

In the last thirty years, Barcelona has taken a big leap ahead. We made the right choices and now, halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, we are in a position to lead the push for social welfare, economic reactivation and quality of life of the world's cities. Barcelona is appreciated by everyone, but that is not enough. The greatest recognition must come from ourselves, by exercising our democratic right to decide, under the law. Barcelona must also be recognised as a capital city of democracy.

My commitment as Mayor is to get everyone involved in the exercise of this democratic right to decide: those who are in favour and those who are not; those of us who want Catalonia to achieve the same freedom as any other EU member state and those who are content with the status quo. Consulting, voting, exercising the right to decide can never be seen as a divisive or sectarian element. On the contrary, voting is a sign of political maturity, of commitment to the coming generations. Voting will afford us the legitimacy that we need to strengthen our institutional structures which, at the end of the day, are the guarantors of freedom, equity and the general good.

We must all work as one, also with the other Catalan municipalities. Catalonia and Barcelona, its capital city, is immersed in a political process that stems from our history but that, above all, aims to realise the aspirations of many people who hope for a better future. Our process seeks to be peaceful, legal and democratic, respectful of the rights of Catalans to express their views at the polls.

That's why local governments, led by Barcelona, must support the President and the Catalan Parliament to help make the vote possible. Yesterday hundreds of councils, large and small, held plenary sessions all over the nation to express their support and commitment to guarantee individual liberties and the democratic process by providing all the necessary means and resources. This is my commitment, too.

As we have seen in Scotland, it is possible to establish a peaceful, democratic framework for the peoples' right to decide to be exercised, where citizens are allowed express themselves freely by means of their vote. Now is the time for us in Catalonia to exercise our democratic right, too. Experiences such as these allow us to picture a better, more democratic political future that is committed with the European project. Like our cities, a new human-scale democracy is here to serve the people. I encourage you to be a part of this historic time.