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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Catalonia banned “Scottish referendum”

Unlike London, the official Madrid will not risk the territorial integrity of the country

September 30, 2014, 08:48

Text: Stanislav Borzyak


The government of Spain once forbade Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence, furnished in the form of a poll. Separate hot heads in Madrid are already talking about the elimination of autonomy of Catalonia, in Barcelona about civil disobedience. To talk about the war so far, but the acute political crisis is already evident.

Probably not outside the UK is another such site, where so worried about the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence as worried about them in Catalonia. The Catalans rightly believed that, if the Scots say independence is “Yes”, this will be a very important precedent that will affect their own destiny. After independence from Spain Catalonia thinks for a long time.

To the great sadness official in Barcelona, where the supporters of secession from Madrid are the overwhelming majority in the Executive and legislature, a referendum in Scotland failed. However, the Catalans did not stop, and on September 27 the Chairman of the government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed a decree on holding on 9 November “poll on the sovereignty of Catalonia”. It survey not a referendum. In fact, approved by the Parliament of Catalonia law and is called – “On conducting population surveys, not having the character of a referendum”. Thus in the region hoped to circumvent the Spanish law. Yes, even with the positive outcome of such a survey it will not be the Foundation of independence. But it might be the reason for its proclamation in the future, so to speak, an intermediate stage.

It is obvious that the Catalans were inspired by the Scottish example. At least the stipulated rules of the survey are painfully reminiscent of the Scottish precedent. In form it is precisely the vote on the plots. The right to vote is at all who has reached the age of sixteen (in Catalonia, as in Scotland, most supporters of independence among young people) and live in Catalonia. For EU citizens the residency requirement is one year for citizens of other countries – three years (in this matter the Scots were more liberal).

As in the case of Scotland, the motives of the Catalans in the main economic – financial crisis. Catalonia was one of the first Spanish provinces, where it was held industrialization. The objective was stronger to tie her to Spain, but in the end the opposite happened: now it is the most developed region of the Kingdom who simply does not want to feed Madrid. Catalonia is home to only every seventh citizen of the country, while there is almost half of the entire industry, and the capital – Barcelona – is a “tourist Mecca”. More than a fifth of the GDP of the entire country here. The Catalans, Recalling the times active “hispanization” does not want to share the money with the Kingdom, going through hard economic times and choking of unemployment (especially among youth).

There is another similarity: like Scotland, Catalonia wants to secede from the mother country, but to remain in the EU. The odds are she, however, is almost there. Unlike the UK, Spain’s exit from the EU is not going to in principle, and theoretical reception of Catalonia with a warranty block.

Do in this story there are more differences than coincidences. The main one is that the attempt to separate Scotland has taken with the permission of London. In the case of Catalonia referendum-poll – net initiative, which has followed an extremely harsh reaction. So, the first Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria directly promised that the Spanish authorities survey-referendum will not allow. “This referendum will not take place, as it contradicts the Constitution. Arthur Mac was reminded that there is nothing above the sovereign will of the Spanish people and that all the Spaniards must decide what is Spain and how it is organized. No government can get over this”, she said.

Following this, the Council of State of Spain is the highest Advisory body to the government unanimously declared the law on the referendum unconstitutional. This was followed by an appeal to the constitutional court of Spain, which, agreeing with the arguments of Madrid has suspended, adopted in Catalonia law (decision of the constitutional court in Spain, by the way, cannot be disputed). In turn, Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy stressed that a single region cannot single-handedly solve the issue that affects all Spaniards. And the Secretary General of the ruling people’s party Maria Dolores de Cospedal and even accused the Catalan Prime Minister that he behaved like a representative of the “totalitarian regime”.

The reaction is predictable, the benefit is almost traditional. In April, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament already denied Catalonia the right to hold a referendum on 9 November, eleven years earlier, the constitutional court killed the possibility of a referendum in yet another hotbed of separatism – the Basque Country. In General, the Spanish Constitution here in common with Ukrainian, implying that the self-determination of regions and changing the boundaries of the country can be resolved only by national referendum. When Kiev refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum, the fact relied on it.

Why Madrid doesn’t want to go the way of London, is clear: in contrast to the situation with Scotland, where the number of supporters of independence is usually at 30%, the probability of a positive outcome of the plebiscite in Catalonia is very high. There really is a different national identity, another language, another – much hotter – the story of the struggle for sovereignty. Rallies in support of independence, then collect millions of people. Scotland like never dreamed of. So, in Madrid there is no reason to take chances – polls show that independence are already about 60% of the Catalans.

Because the Western community will rely primarily on the opinion of Madrid – a full member of the EU and NATO, Catalan “fighting to win” obviously will not find any understanding. In the best case will be sanctioned further negotiations, which came to nothing lead, because compromise is impossible. Spain is no longer able to give Catalonia more autonomy – more nowhere. So the “minimum program” of the parties is mutually exclusive.

Barcelona are already talking about civil disobedience (even prudent, in General, Mas casually remarked that “to take to the streets once a year is not enough” and “the future is not a gift, it is necessary to win”). In Madrid on the elimination of separatist autonomy in principle (so, in fact, Madrid did whenever in Catalonia has intensified separatist tendencies). War while no one seriously discusses, but then the separatists have little chance that the idea of armed struggle for sovereignty – with all the regional patriotism of the Catalans – will receive massive support. Just because the population of Catalonia wants to be independent because of their greater – in comparison with the rest of Spain, satiety and unwillingness to share, and war from this of fullness will not leave a trace.

In this case, for the Catalan struggle will be to watch very carefully in the Belgian Flanders. If Catalonia believed that is in line for Scotland, Flanders in this “row” of the third. At least this opinion in the local nationalist press.


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