Mas making love to France

Artur Mas has been on an official visit to France. He celebrated that Spain has permitted Catalonia its own sub-representation at UNESCO in Paris. He also took the opportunity to suggest that the concession for Rodalies commuter trains in Barcelona might be sold to SNCF when Renfe's license expires in 2015.

Similar noises were made a while back when it was suggested that France be the defender of Catalan independence and territory, rather than Spain or Catalonia itself. A proposed meeting with the French minister of defence was cancelled – allegedly after pressure from Spain.

So it's privatisation of public infrastructure, but done in a clever way that in theory could help get the French on-side when it comes to independence (and thus make us forget that we're talking about basic state services). Going further down that road could be risky: an independent state with no infrastructure to call its own isn't much of a state.

[I'd like to add that I raised the France question a while back on this blog, and had a lot of comments from Catalans who thought France's position was utterly irrelevant. Rather short-sighted of them, in my opinion. I assume they'll be writing to Vilaweb to complain, now that the pro-independence website has published an editorial entitled 'France is key for Catalonia's diplomatic recognition'.]

3 thoughts on “Mas making love to France

  1. There has effectively been no liberalisation of SNCF, and much of France's local train network is now on tatty old buses, so sounds interesting.

    Mas isn't a great reader, but even he should know that suggestions to Paris that it should save Barcelona from Madrid have traditionally consistently ended in French invasions, with huge celebrations when the Spanish finally drive them out.

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  2. Not sure this can be called privatisation. The French company would simply be granted a concession to operate the train service. Even if Renfe gets the contract, it is always a good idea to have some competition in order to get a better deal.

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