Spain’s geopolitical challenges lie within its own territory. In recent times the country successfully dealt with ETA, a movement looking to declare independent the Basque region. Nowadays the ongoing threat for its integrity is Catalonia. Last week (27 October) the local parliament officially declared independence for the second time in history, the first one was in the 1930’s.
The declaration is a consequence of recent events. On 1 October the region held a self-determination referendum. It is estimated that the turnout was 43%, the “Yes” received 90% of valid votes. Madrid tried to ban such vote, and the central government image was tarnished by the use of force against voters.
The terms of the vote were straightforward, power transfer from the Spanish constitutional monarchy to a newly independent republic. It should be noted that Catalan members of parliament who were against the proposal abstained.
Things don’t look promising for the ‘new republic’ of Catalonia. The government of Mariano Laroy already implemented decisions to dissolve Catalonia’s assembly. Besides, the international community expressed that it won’t recognize such State. The President of the Council, Donald Tusk, of Europe was clear in his tweet:
For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 27 October 2017
A stance sponsored by Jean-Claude Juncker. According to the President of EU Commission, Europe doesn’t need another fissure. A clear mention to the Brexit.
In Spain (30 October) national authorities have charged Carlos Puigdemont for rebellion. Mr. Puigdemont, former Catalan regional President, fled to Brussels and remains in a hidden location. According to many news agencies, he will seek asylum in Belgium, taking into account that is unlikely that any European leader will meet him.
If it is difficult to foresee the next episodes for this imbroglio. However one thing can be taken for granted, Catalonia’s economy will suffer as more than a thousand companies have left the region. These enterprises were not willing to take risks of being left outside of the European single market.