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Joint statement by the universities and research centres of Catalonia

Leaders of the universities and research centres in Catalonia (some sixty institutions representing nearly 90% of the whole system) met today to assess the situation here in Catalonia resulting from the actions of the Spanish state in recent days. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the student associations and the unions.

We have witnessed an attack on the honourable standing of the academic and research institutions of Catalonia, which have been included by the Spanish Ministry of Finance in a list of bodies whose accounts need to be controlled and, thus, that are suspected by the Ministry of possibly acting fraudulently. This list has been sent to banks so that they can block and control day-to-day financial activities without any kind of direct prior warning for the universities and research centres. This jeopardizes academic and research activities, even if these activities are supported by European Union or private funding. It also damages both the international credibility and reputation of these institutions, which is critical when it comes to taking part in international projects or capturing and retaining talent.

For this reason, the institutions present:

1. demand that the Spanish authorities responsible immediately revoke these unprecedented and unacceptable measures, and
2. will inform the European and international bodies of the serious crisis that this has led to.

In turn, regarding the demonstrations that may take place over the coming days, the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) wishes to make clear that one of the roles of universities is to train highly qualified professionals, and critical and socially responsible citizens. With this in mind, shared guidelines will soon be agreed upon to allow students, teaching and research staff, and administrative and service staff to take part in any demonstrations that may take place.
Barcelona, 21 September 2017