Today, the highest representatives of the universities and research centres of Catalonia (60 institutions, representing around 90% of the university and research community) have met to assess the current situation in Catalonia resulting from the actions of the Spanish Government over the last few days. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the trade unions and students’ associations.
It has been concluded that the good repute of the academic and research institutions of Catalonia has been undermined by their inclusion by the Ministry of Finance and Civil Service in a list of institutions whose budgetary powers have been rescinded and which are, therefore, in the eyes of the Ministry, suspected of being liable to fraudulent behaviour. This list has been communicated to the banks in order to block and assume control of the management of ordinary financial affairs, with no form of direct prior notification to the universities and research centres. These actions are a threat to academic and research activity, including that funded by European Union resources or private funds, and damage both the reputation and the credibility of the institutions at an international level, thereby putting in peril their participation in international projects, and their ability to attract and retain talent.
It is for these reasons that the attending institutions:
1. Demand the immediate reversal by the appropriate authorities of the Spanish Government of these extraordinary and unacceptable measures.
2. Will communicate the critical situation created by these actions to the relevant European and international agencies.
Furthermore, regarding the protests that may take place over the coming days, the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) has declared that one of the functions of universities is to train highly qualified professionals and at the same time to produce socially responsible and critically thinking citizens. Accordingly, a common policy will shortly be agreed upon to facilitate the participation of students and teaching, research, and administrative and services staff in the protest actions that take place.
Barcelona, 21 September 2017