Catalonia has been shaped over the course of time through the contribution of the energy of many generations, traditions and cultures, which found in Catalonia a land of welcome.
The Catalan people have maintained a constant will to self-government over the course of the centuries, embodied in such institutions as the Generalitat - created in 1359 by the Cervera Corts - and in its own specific legal system, assembled, together with other legal compilations, in the Constitucions i altres drets de Catalunya (Constitutions and other laws of Catalonia). After 1714, various attempts were made to restore the institutions of self-government. Milestones in this historic route include the Mancomunitat of 1914, the recovery of the Generalitat with the 1932 Statute, the re-establishment of the Generalitat in 1977 and the 1979 Statute, coinciding with the return of democracy, the Constitution of 1978 and the State of Autonomies.
The collective liberty of Catalonia found in the institutions of the Generalitat a nexus with a history of affirmation of and respect for the fundamental rights and public liberties of the individual and of peoples; a history which the women and men of Catalonia wish to continue so as to enable the construction of a democratic and advanced society, one of wellbeing and progress, in solidarity with Spain as a whole and incorporated into Europe. The Catalan people continues today to proclaim liberty, justice and equality as higher values of its collective life, and manifests its desire to advance in a way which will ensure a dignified quality of life for all those who live and work in Catalonia.
The public authorities are at the service of the general interest and the rights of the citizens, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.
In the light of all the foregoing, and true to the spirit of the preamble to the 1979 Statute, this Estatut assumes that:
- Catalonia is a land rich in territories and peoples, a diversity that has defined and enriched it over the centuries and that strengthens it for the time to come.
- Catalonia is a community of free persons for free persons, in which each individual may live and express diverse identities, with a firm commitment to community based on respect for individual dignity.
- The contribution of its citizens has shaped an integrating society, which sees endeavour as a value and which is innovative and enterprising, values which continue to drive its progress.
- Catalonia's self-government is founded on the Constitution, and also on the historical rights of the Catalan people, which, in the framework of the Constitution, give rise to recognition in this Estatut of the unique position of the Generalitat. Catalonia wishes to develop its political personality within the framework of a State which recognises and respects the diversity of identities of the peoples of Spain.
- The civil and associative tradition of Catalonia has always underlined the importance of Catalan language and culture, of rights and duties, of knowledge, of education, of social cohesion, of sustainable development and equality of rights, and today, especially, of equality between women and men.
- Catalonia, by means of the State, participates in the construction of the political project of the European Union, whose values and objectives it shares.
- Catalonia, with its humanistic tradition, affirms its commitment together with all peoples to constructing a peaceful and just world order.
- In reflection of the feelings and the wishes of the citizens of Catalonia, the Parliament of Catalonia has defined Catalonia as a nation by an ample majority. The Spanish Constitution, in its second Article, recognises the national reality of Catalonia as a nationality.
In exercise of the inalienable right of Catalonia to self-government, the members of the Catalan Parliament hereby propose, the Constitutional Committee of the Congress of Deputies agree and the people of Catalonia ratify this Statute.