First Scotland, then Catalonia, now Northern Italy and next Bavaria? Independence seems to be contagious at the moment. The precise manner in which regions struggle for greater autonomy or independence might be different, but the motivations are the same: many people in Europe are increasingly in favour of self-determination. Catalonia is in the headlines today. Which region will it be tomorrow?

The EU is in a pickle. It doesn’t want to encourage the disintegration of European states, but nor does it want to interfere in Member States’ internal affairs either. If the Commission is seen to be on the side of the Catalans or acting as an intermediary, it would set a precedent that would also apply to other regions. Anyway, European integration was supposed to make national independence movements irrelevant. Why should people in Northern Ireland or Südtirol care which side of an invisible border they are on?

The Spanish government has now decided to take measures against Catalonia, which may enter into force on Friday after a vote in the Senate. What happens next? New elections, and an official declaration of independence? Civil disobedience? Basque separatists are also closely following developments, gauging the reaction of Spain’s central government.

The Northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto have also voted for greater autonomy. In contrast to the Catalan vote, they do not want a formal split from Italy and the referenda are covered by the state constitution. Nevertheless, critics accuse the organisers of merely wanting to keep more tax money in the region instead of revenue going to central government. The model is apparently South Tyrol, a relatively autonomous region in Italy (though even there some still strive for independence or merger with Austria).

Scotland is also considering another referendum. In 2014, a majority of Scots voted against independence – but EU membership was an important reason for their decision, and the majority of Scots also voted to remain in the EU. The Scottish government has said it wants to make a second referendum dependent on Brexit negotiations. While there seems little appetite for another Scottish independence referendum right now (especially after the Scottish National Party’s poor showing in the 2017 election), the issue has certainly not gone away.

The list goes on: Corsica; Northern Ireland; the Danish Faroe Islands and Greenland; even in the heart of the EU, Flanders and Wallonia both claim the capital of Belgium. Why are all these regions struggling for independence? One thing they have in common is that usually they are economically strong. The debate around independence is also being fuelled by tax and spending questions, as an excuse to stop supporting poorer regions in the country after autonomy. So are these democratic revolutions, or economic self-interest?

Is Catalonia’s independence contagious? Should the EU keep out of the way? Or act as an intermediary? And is independence driven by economic selfishness or a desire for greater self-determination? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Phillip Taylor

186 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Pere Planas

    In spain the civil rights are fired by the gobernment. The people of Catalonia need help for save the democracy in this part of the world. All the power of the old franco’s spain are infiltereds in the highest stances of the ministeries. The catalans need the help of every democratic person in the EU.

    • Jose Quintans

      Keep crying.
      The communists taught you to cry, to comply, and to fight to tear down what previous generations of Europeans (Spaniards) build up, instead of learning to build up something bigger.

      Wake up or be swallowed by that stupid ideology.

    • André Alves Figueiredo

      How is spain not democratic ? You criticise the aplication of the 155 article of the constitution and call it undemocratic but tell me, didn’t catalunya voted and aproved the Spanish constitution back in 1978 ? Didn’t catalunya aprove the constitution where is presente the article 155 that makes suspension of autonomy possible ? And Now you call it undemocratic and fascist ? A supreme law of the country voted by catalunya ? I honestly am trying to understand pro independence arguments and complaints but so far, said arguments, only make me see hypocritical stands.

    • Diana Erhardt

      The people in Catalonia need help to be saved of the separatists and nationalists who want to close the borders, separate them from the rest of Europe and limit their rights to move, live and work freely in the other European countries. They want them to loose all the privileges and start from the very beginning to pass all the stages that have already passed. Who´ll get a better life? The politicians who received quite a lot of money to produce such a chaos and destroy the future of their own people.

    • Pere Planas

      what is your interest to speak about my country in this words? Respect my country and opinions first.

    • Pere Planas

      If you want i can show you 1.022 people who was hurted by the spanish paramilitary police in the october’s 1st referendum. This is real, and the hord of madrid are saying that is not. It’s unbeliveble. It’s incredible in that century.

    • Anton Mormoy

      Eso es mentira. Sin matices. Y que sepan que usted es un manipulador

    • Pere Planas

      Eso es cierto. Yo estuve. ¿Y usted? Demuéstre sus afirmaciones.

    • Pere Planas

      Anton Mormoy oiga, si tiene que decir lo que ha dicho usted de mi, al menos justifiquelo.

    • Jose Quintans

      @Diana Erhardt, I agree with you, politicians created this chaos, and then they pretend to be the saviors of Catalonia. Thank you, and stay free.

      @Pere Planas, Catalonia is also my country.
      – Commies and corrupt politicians brainwashed you,
      – Then you put elders in the front line telling them to confront the police,
      – All that in order to gain the attention of the media, pretending to be victims,
      – And then try to force a change on the law (either Spanish law or European law) just for you to fool the whole people of Catalonia and Spain.


    • Francisco Hernández Medina

      Sr. Pere, si Vd acude a un acto que la justicia considera que es ilegal, Vd se arriesga a que las fuerzas de orden público, cumpliendo las órdenes del judicial, le obliguen, por la fuerza si es preciso, a cumplir con la ley.
      Siento mucho que nuestros puntos de vista no coincidan.
      Un saludo.

    • Vincent

      It is very hard to read such comments about the catalan people. Selfishness? I’m french, I lived in England and Spain for the last 20 years. I’ve witnessed the evolution of the political scene and social situation here in Barcelona and Spain. Come on! Have a closer look at the way people are treated around Europe and thank the catalans for opening their mouth. Europe is a big joke and it shouldn’t be. Merkel Macron Rajoy May and all the rest of those selfish people are playing a dangerous game and we’re watching it as if everything was fine. I’m not saying puigdemont is any better but let’s listen to the catalan people they are debating and exchanging while we are watching thinking we know what démocratie is.

    • Manel Carbó

      Pere Planas also is mine, and my thoughts are quite the opossite.

    • Monique

      Desde 800 a 1022 Vaya mentiroso eres pere planas. Ademas el 8++ tambien son mentiras.

    • Eduardo

      En España hay democracia . Y un un sector en Cataluña muy amplio que se salta las leyes . Deja de mirarte el ombligo y victimizarte .

    • Jane Tse

      Catalonia is already a self-autonomous region in Spain. There is nothing to do with democracy. Try not to justify Catalonia’s political suicide with history and ideology. Franco Spain is already history. Ideology has ended when a communist China stands even stronger after the end of the Cold War and democracies in the West are disintegrating by its over-emphasis on individuals, while democracy is never about individual rights but citizen rights and democracy about the people in a collective term and the rule of law. Do not selectively praise democracy, while ignoring its other important aspects.

    • Jane Tse

      Democracy is about citizens not individuals. Individuals think of narrow self-interests. While citizens think of interests as responsible citizens of the democracy. So, stop mixing up individualism with democracy.

    • Jane Tse

      If Catalonia has not organized an illegal referendum which has threatened the territorial integrity of Spain as a nation, no one would use coercive force. People being hurt is the consequence of the referendum not the cause of the referendum.

  2. Natalia Di

    Catalonia is not oppressed by nobody and has a lot of regional competences. The video helpcatalonia is a copy, with false information. Please, read good newspapers. Serious press. Thank you.

    • Michael Šimková

      Which newspapers or media would you consider to be serious and impartial?

    • Johnny Sintra

      Please, clarify and give examples of “good newspapers and serious press…”…

    • Nuria Pons Cañas

      Potser la que hauria de llegir i seguir bona premsa ets tu.
      Catalunya fa temps que està oprimida, menyspreada, i escanyada econòmicament per l’estat centralista i de dretes i ultradretes que governa. És la mentalitat de castella, o conmigo y apechugando, o et foto pero tots costats.
      Siguem seriosos.

    • Diana Erhardt

      Nuria Pons Cañas te manipularon muy bien. ¿Que mentalidad de Castilla? Tus politicos te estan estrangulando economicamente and you’ re the far right nationalists

    • Natalia Di

      Ilya U. Topper Sergio Diego García Maite Alonso

    • Natalia Di

      Por qué? que nivel pq?

    • Natalia Di

      Nuria Pons Cañas que prensa aconsejas tu?

    • Natalia Di

      Isabel Andorra por qué?

    • Anton Mormoy

      Estos que dicen ser catalanes son manipuladores. The Economist considera España como democracia plena, en el puesto 17 del ranking mundial.

    • Vincent

      Get rid of your sun glasses Natalia… that should do the trick. Not only catalans are being oppressed. The whole spanish people are being fools. You’d better thank the catalans to get to open their mouth while you’re being self sufficient dear.

    • Jane Tse

      Totally agreed, if Catalonia has not been enjoying so many privileges as being part of Spain, enjoying the huge domestic market and investments…how can Catalonia develop so well? Everything Catalonia claimed to have owned is a collective contribution of the whole nation.

  3. Jude De Froissard

    False not confuse everything for the sake of creating some upheaval. Every case is so different.

  4. Max Berre

    This domino-effect is something that the media just loves to alarm about. Not impressed.

    • Vincent

      Ahahaha the domino effect is on its way. Have you seen England, France or Spain as divided as they are now for the last 30 years? Catalonia is unfortunately just a start.

    • Jane Tse

      The British pound’s sharp fall without recovery is squeezing the wealth of the British people. Investment has been sustained when bank interests have been kept artificially low when the US is on the rise. Besides, the GDP growth is among the lowers in the G7. More importantly, the negotiation has actually not really touched any real substance. Already UK has been a very strong economy by being the stepping stone and entrance to the EU market and UK is a sovereign state. What Catalonia has?

  5. Jose Quintans

    The Spanish industries in Catalonia received huge investments and enjoyed protection during the years of the dictatorship, with the goal of building up a strong national industry before opening to international markets (the same for Euskadi). They performed well, and now they want to secede, among other things, because they are being told that poorer regions in Spain bleed their wealth.

    That goes against the purpose and struggle during decades of the Spanish people (and nations) to build up a strong common project.

    Does that make any sound to you Europeans?
    Yeah, that goes against the same principle of building up a strong “nation of nations” we call Europe.

    Rich and corrupt Catalonian politicians want to escape from Spain’s tax agency, because since Jan 1st 2018 Andorra will share information with the Spanish administration, so they want their own tax agency to keep rocking the party. Of course there is lot of corruption in the rest of Spain, and Catalonians are biased to see only that part of the story.

    On the lower echelons, anarchists and communists in Catalonia, who don’t care neither about Spain nor EU, not even the western economic model, want to secede and start a stupid utopia. These are being used as useful idiots by the corrupt politicians, being thrown against the law on the streets (of course they both enjoy it).

    Lombardy, Bavaria, etc, all of them see how corrupt politicians in poorer regions waste the opportunity given by the richer regions, and that drives them crazy.

    The same for rich countries in the EU, they see how the opportunities given via economic cohesion mechanisms are mostly wasted and that drives them crazy.

    The problem is much more complex, e.g. without those cohesion mechanisms the market would become much more imbalanced and the rich regions and countries would lose a lot too.

    The EU shall respect the States’ role in the Europe.

    I remember I wrote a few times here about the corruption in Spain, also I wrote to OLAF office to denounce a specific case in which EUR6.5M (supposed to go into a smart city project) were wasted in my region, and as far as I understood they were not allowed to act further, so we lost 6.5M plus a big opportunity to improve efficiency in the region, and also more power (money and influence) was given to the same corrupt politicians.

    The solution is not to stop the cohesion mechanisms, but to improve the control on how funds are spent, and reward the regions where the funds have bigger impact.
    That impact shall be demonstrated, not just with papers, I love EU bureaucrats love paperwork, and they either are blind or lazy or have no power or they are being fooled by these corrupt politicians.

    The EU shall lead to fight corruption and demonstrate it is here to help, improving the European economic and administrative system there where it is more needed.

    In brief: reward / punishment mechanisms plus rankings and flagging (alert) mechanisms to force regions to optimize the use of funds.

    Let’s build up a strong European Nation.

    God bless Europe.
    Heil Europe!

    • Jose Quintans

      I just checked the project I worked in as engineer a few years ago, EUR6.5M budget for a smart city project.
      EUR6.5M wasted.

      I flagged it for OLAF to monitor it, to no avail.

      It was a shame for Europe, and for all of us, and a huge wasted opportunity.

      We need to implement a long term monitoring mechanism.

      Let me explain one more case to demonstrate why:
      In these regions, the network of corrupt politicians and private companies, specialize in catch up European funds.
      They don’t create businesses after looking around and think what the people needs, what the market tells them, NO.

      They first go to see which EU funds are available and for what, so they create business plans to compete for those funds,
      Once the funds are gone, those projects die, and maybe even the company, unless they catch new funds for other new project.

      Of course the outcome does not matter for them, they don’t have any strategic interest for the European regions and they undermine the EU development strategy.

      We need an improved monitoring / reward / punishment mechanism to fight that behavior.

    • Jane Tse

      When country is in good economic performance, no one talks about corruption. Even worse, they corrupt together with. When the country’s economic performance is bad, everyone accuse each other. Why not doing something together for improvement and to save the collective?

  6. Eloy Oliveri

    The catalan separatist revolution is a poshy movement based on lies, propaganda and manipulation. They use Iphones and they never will leave them to take the kalasnikovs. Fortunatelly, the entire world is step by step realizing about their lies. What they call “democracy” is a coup d’etat of the separatists, what they call “opresion” is the spanish constitution, what they call Franco is just Spain, a nation that has the right to exist and remain although they hate it and although they consider themselves as a superior race.

    • Pietr Borrull

      I sometimes wonder if it is not you spaniards considering yourselves an inferior race, after all ive lived in catalunya for the best part of my life and ive never heard anyone say that ‘Spanish people are an inferior race’.

    • Eloy Oliveri

      Don’t be naif, they are more subtle using sentences like “Se os va a acabar la teta”, they consider themselves as smarter and harder workers, what is obviously a mith. You also can see the statements o the current catalan vice president about genetics. Of course this kind os supremacist thoughts are not general, in fact a lot of catalans want to remain Spanish

    • Eloy Oliveri

      Don’t be naif, they are more subtle using sentences like “Se os va a acabar la teta”, they consider themselves as smarter and harder workers, what is obviously a mith. You also can see the statements of the current catalan vice president about genetics. Of course this kind os supremacist thoughts are not general, in fact a lot of catalans want to remain Spanish

    • Victor Bergia

      Catalonians think that they are the cradle of civilization, as declared by their own ANC. Their own pig faced vice president, Oriol Junqueras said that Catalonians are genetically closer to the French, and Spaniards closer genetically to the Portuguese. What a Neanderthal!

    • Carmelita Caruana

      Pietr Borrull I lived in Barcelona and the Catalan sense of superiority and their contempt for the other regions of Spain was blatant.

    • Angela Anjali

      A posh movement!! Is not the first time I hear this statement. I can name a lot of people who aren’t posh as you say, starting by me.
      Regarding to weapons. We are peaceful, but not stupid. We aren’t superior we are only Catalan and want to be recognized as such.

  7. Monique Taxhet

    Break it all up and than start the bloody wars again…if people are stupid enough to vote for such thing….let them reap what they sowed…….

    • Paolo Gazzola

      Monique I’m not sure moving war against people voting is the solution.
      We can debate all the time you want on limiting universal suffrage on a minimun-culture base

    • Monique Taxhet

      Paola Gazzola..the problem is that I strongly believe that nationalism is a very ugly beast that has and always will lead to war…so I believe in closer ties, closer cooperation for all nations…not in the break up of a country into bits and pieces.
      Because the bits and pieces will end up fighting each other. Anyway, the referendum in Catalonia was illegal…and so against the Spanish democratic system. As for violence…as usual both sides..who will ever know who started it.
      But never mind…honestly I’m fed up with people wanting the break up of the EU….but if they win…they will reap what they sowed.

    • Boro Oliva

      Voting in Spain for something outside the Constitution and change it is the right of all Spaniards, not a privilege of Catalan independence. In the referendum voted 2.4 million people of the 7.0 million Catalans, and many voted several times, there are up to 4 times. They know that it has no value and only seek to become victims in front of the world, they voted despite the prohibition of the constitutional court, forcing the government to act in a repressive manner and showing images of other police charges even years before

    • Ivan Burrows

      Monique Taxhet What is the EU if not a ‘fake’ Nationalism ? will you wait it until it repeats the mistakes of European history before you see it for the warmongering abomination that it truly is ?

    • Monique Taxhet

      Ivan Burrows. The EU is about bringing people together peacefully and democratically.
      You obviously will not believe this. Humans will evolve towards no nations, no religions. Globalisation was one first step. Global communication is another one. Nationalism and religions are the cause of all wars. And of course there will always be pockets of resistance. Those pockets are made up of the people who want domination rather than cooperation. The EU is just one step towards cooperation and that’s the real reason why it is fought by nationalists and a certain religion.
      You don’t need to believe this, I do and I’m a very peaceful person, no nation, no religion will ever destroy who I am :-) nice day :-)

    • Karolina

      In Ivan and other Brextards you exactly have one person who wants domination rather than co-operation, Monique.

      Although, saying that, the EU and NATO exactly sought to dominate rather than co-operate with Russia before it started its aggression and Ivan is a tool for the expression and progression of Russian aggression.

  8. Deborah Griffith

    In a weird way it makes the case for a federalised Europe residing over independent regions rather stronger. Not what Putin wanted…

    • Francesco R. Corneo

      That’s the whole point that people against regional struggles for autonomy seem to be missing. It’s in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity – everything that can be dealt with at a local level should be dealt with at a local level; the rest in a centralised way. Big states that encompass very varied socio-economic realities are redundant in this sense, and stand in the way of a functional Europe. Subsidies, defense, energy policy, environmental protection, harmonised market-wide minimum tax rate, the kind of prerogatives for which the bigger the better, that we should take care of in Brussels (with a pan-European party system, not the current “coalitions of national parties” joke). The rest can be done in Barcelona, Venice, Edinburgh, Munich…

    • Martin Cawthorne-Nugent

      To some extent isn’t this is a logical consequence of enlarging to 28 at the start of the millenium? Regions have the opportunity to establish a stronger identity in the context of one Europe, and regions can also bid for EU funding independently of their own national governments. The UK regions would have had relatively little public investment over the past 30 years without EU funds, Westminster’s horizon stops at a line running from Ipswich to Watford gap and on through West Dorset.. .

    • Tim Myers

      That’s what I’ve been thinking F

  9. Pedro Jorge Lemos

    Europe project failed… the security of citizens no more exists and authorities protect more the criminal migrants and muslim predators that his own people. Stupid, crminal and ganancious politicians did that and Merkel was the main one to relaunch the IV reich for sure, the unfair and based on false theories of USA to continue slaving tge world sanctions agains Russia tha helped europe development a lot… so is easy to see the reasons why europe project stinks

  10. Paul X

    Quote: “many people in Europe are increasingly in favour of self-determination. Catalonia is in the headlines today. Which region will it be tomorrow?”…
    ….I totally agree, and would suggest from a EU perspective they should be more concerned about the populations of countries who want self determination from the EU rather than regions within these countries

    • P

      Every since the Brexit debate the Brexiters have been predicting doom and gloom for the EU. So far the EU is performing better than before and it is actually the UK that is suffering as a result of the vote. Brexiters have been waiting for nearly 2 years now (including the pre-referendum debate). The government in Catalunya proclaims independence and they already see the fall of the EU. I mean give it enough time and planet Earth will perish too lool I mean at the end of the day everything dies but I was expecting that you were somewhat predicting a nearer future and that we were leaving the EU immediately after the Brexit vote because the danger was imminent … This is all a big joke … the EU has had bigger problems then Catalunya proclaiming unilateral not well supported independce.

  11. Paolo Gazzola

    Federal Europe of Federal States.
    You grant authonomy to regions, and grant authonomy to States.
    On some matters, of course. lol

  12. Lenox Napier

    I think the EU should be a union of regions. Countries are the wrong size and too wrought with nationalism. (OK, so would regions be jingoistic, but we could laugh at them for their presumption).

  13. Enric Mestres Girbal

    Nobody had the necessity to break away from their main Country until the EU wanted to unite them. Corruption, Capitalism and idiotic policies has caused this necessity.

  14. Ludwig Theile

    destroying the economic power of Europe? is it the coal of regionalism and nationalist movements?

  15. Serge Lauer

    Let them do what they want. Let them turn in chaos. Europe has still it s weak point. There is no federal or constituency control . What are Leaders 19 of the Eurozone waiting for? More separatists chaos.. . United Europe ? How can we considered as Europeans if let split regions apart and rise nationalism. Isn’t the time ripe for real changes now? Or is the spanish Constitution alone to defend it’s democracy ?
    Agree with Arierom Lui.

  16. Jovan Ivosevic

    Dear western europe, (including you Spaniards who had Javier Solana as the head of NATO back then)
    we tried to tell you Kosovo in 1999 was going to open a Pandora’ s box and you laughed. First came south Ossetia and Abkhazia then Crimea, and now it’s seeping into western Europe. Look out for the Basques now and then let’s see if Belgium stays one country and then who knows… maybe South Tyrol. You reap what you sow

    • Corrado Bidoia

      You may want to know that all major particularist movements had been existing for decades before, and are enjoying a moment of popularity for reasons which has nothing to do with an event which took place 18 years before in a region which, despite its geographical position, was never seen as a benchmark for the rest of Europe.

    • Jovan Ivosevic

      The movemente existed sure But the legal precedent didn’t exist and it was created by the West not by anyone in the Balkans. Perhaps if you were not so quick to try and belittle the Balkans and instead paid attention to what I said you would not have missed my point. If the Balkans are not a “benchmark” for the rest of Europe then it sounds Like you skipped world war I in history class. That was a decade before your country became a benchmark for fascism.

  17. Joaquim M Pinto

    Just wait for the general elections in Italy …….if pepe grilo wins they will do a coalition with the northern L and goodbye europe

  18. Chukwunonso Odidika

    Nationalism on the rise……as for me, EU can still be stronger even if it allows new nations to emerge through self determination.

  19. Kirstie Mamoyo Rogers

    If you start with the premis that each human being has the right to self determination the you’d have your answer…

    • Corrado Bidoia

      Thus, every human being should form a state?

    • Kirstie Mamoyo Rogers

      Corrado Bidoia apply logic, of course not. But if many people who have th same idea of self determination then they have the right to pursue it.

  20. Ivan Burrows

    The more power the antidemocratic EU takes from the ‘people’ of Nation States the more those people will revolt. We can only hope the EU falls apart before Juncker and his fellow pro EU lunatics get their army or history will indeed repeat itself.

    • Jose Quintans

      Indeed history is echoing, but your idea that a nation state represents better the will of the people is quite simplistic.

    • Massimo Accordi

      A genius. So why do Catalans want to leave Spain but remain part of the EU? Why is EU membership such a key topic for Scottish independence? Flanders would never leave the Union.

    • Ivan Burrows

      Massimo Accordi Please point out where I have said there is a link between Catalonia independence and the EU ? But the Brussels dictatorship acceptance of the violence used against peaceful people in Catatonia tells you everything you need to know about your future.

      The new motto of the EU: ‘One people, One Nation, One leader’. Sound familiar ?

    • Karolina

      So, Ivan, can you explain to us how Brextards think that the EU can let countries be “independent” and interfere in their internal problems and tell their governments how to handle them at the same time? Do you want Brussels to get involved or don’t you? Or perhaps you just want to complain that it interferes too much so that you can later say that it didn’t interfere because that would make good propaganda?

    • Karolina

      Those people you describe as peaceful, Ivan, always in light of your propaganda mission, were actually trying to vote in an illegal referendum. Not so peaceful really, rather passive aggressive…

  21. Aleix Garcia

    Hi, I’m a catalan and i have to say that The spanish state and many People from there, NOT ALL OF THEM, but too many people hate catalan people because we’re different, not better, not worst, different with our culture and language. For centurys Spain was an imperialist state and they treat us like a product because we’re The most rich nation inside Spain and they can’t loose that.
    They humiliate us every day, they are supremacists.

    • Aleix Garcia

      y muchos son independentistas, no entendeis Nada de lo que pasa aquí, solo nos teneis odio, no teneis argumentos mas que el miedo y la fuerza, todo lo arreglais con cojones.

    • Julian Castro Ordoñez

      In the dais of my live, nunca escuché estupideces al paso.
      Quien os humilla ? a quien le estas contando todo esto esto en ingles ?
      Coje jabon y lavate la cara que no sabes por donde andas.

    • Teresa Paz Arriaza

      Te equivocas, España no siente ningún odio por Catalunya y mucho menos por el pueblo catalán,de echo es una de las comunidades con más autogobierno y capacidad de cobrar impuestos de toda Europa y hasta se vio”normal” tuviesen embajadas . Todo en un concepto de una España plural donde el respeto a la diversidad étnica y cultural fuera la base del Estado. Eso lo han roto los independentistas catalanes bajo el lema España nos roba ….y el odio y desprecio a todos los pueblos y culturas de España supuestamente “inferiores”a ellos.

    • Massimo Accordi

      Haurias d’estudiar una miqueta de història econòmica de Catalunya i no com l’estudieu a l’escola catalana.

    • Massimo Accordi

      In English, so others can read it: do you know why Catalans are starting to get on the nervs of people in Europe? Because you want to keep ‘your’ money for yourselves and not share it with other Spanish regions, but since 1986 you have recieved billions of euros from Europe without complaining. So you exploit the European taxpayer but don’t want to show solidarity.

    • Pere Planas

      That’s the way that spain are convencig us to stay in spain.

  22. Pere Planas

    They aren’t going after Catalan rights. They are going after the rights of anyone who questions their regime. They are going after you.

  23. Luis Hernandez-toribio

    On big scope it is an added trouble for Europe adding the industrial and economical decline, demography and decreased intelectual power. Perhaps not all, but some of these movements are authoritarian ( case of Catalonia) and his philosophical basis belongs to an infamous tradition: from Herder to Heidegger.

  24. Jose Joaquín Gómez Bermejo

    A Álex García se le olvida que Cataluña no ha sido nunca nación pertenecía desde siempre al reino de Aragón y que son ricos por que Franco los puso donde están a costa de las demás regiones de España

    • Martí Lloveras

      A ti se te olvida mas de media historia de los ultimos 400 años

    • Dolors Bayes Francesch

      Franco no nos dio nada.Siempre nos reprimio pero los catalanes luchamos para superar todos los impedimentos y seguiremos luchando pacificamente

    • Inmaculada Noguera Gutierrez

      Inventáis la historia a conveniencia, en un vídeo una profesora decía que un rey catalán se casó con la heredera de aragon. Dando lugar a la corona catalanoaragonesa. PERDONA?????? Casi me troncho de la risa. Seguid inventando,cuando descubráis que Adán y Eva eran catalanes ya nos avisáis.

  25. Boro Oliva

    It is not entirely true, in Spain the provinces enjoy autonomy, and Catalonia is the one that has the most powers, self-government, education, police, television, etc … but historically on request independence as a matter of pride. And now they take advantage of the bad moment of management that has the current Spanish government to try to obtain an independence bypassing all the Spanish laws, forcing the government to act and spread images to deceive Europe. it’s all a montage.

  26. Fernando Mn Gr

    “After Brexit will leave Netherlands, France, Germany…” They said, but nothing else happened. Why Catalonia is going to be different?

  27. Boro Oliva

    Catalonia is the province with the highest degree of competences granted to its government. Together with the Basques they are the only ones who have their own police, teaching in personalized schools, self-government and a long list of competitions in their favor that has no other province in Spain. The revindication of Independence that he is asking for now is not because they are wrong, it is because they have been asking for it for a long time and are now taking advantage of the weakness of the Spanish government in order to get the victims. They voted in an illegal referendum bypassing all the laws and forcing the government to act by means of the state police disproportionately because the Catalan police did not fulfill the obligation to close the schools, order that was given not by the government, but by the constitutional court which is responsible for addressing unconstitutional acts like this. the pro-independence people provoked the police to leave in all the international media and to cause an effect of victims. Not only the government, but the total of the rest of Spain is against that Catalonia can carry out its own referendum without the support of rest of Spain, something that we should approve the rest of Spaniards according to our own Constitution. Neither Catalonia nor anyone can circumvent the laws at their convenience as they have done now, convinced to cause a victimizing effect in Europe and the world. Spain has a Constitution and laws to be changed must vote the whole of the Spanish people. Not only a single area as it is Catalonia, whole Spain is against this, by right and law

    • Martí Lloveras

      Your opinion, nothing more nothing less.

    • Boro Oliva

      Claro , tengo derecho a opinar , no a hacer lo que me de la gana , por lo menos sin consecuencias ……..nada mas , nada menos

    • Boro Oliva

      Sure, I have the right to say, not to do what I want, at least without consequences …….. nothing more, nothing less

    • Elena Cortacans Colom

      Boro,next time you start your” essay” saying: From my point of view…

    • Boro Oliva

      from the point of view of 47,000,000 Spanish, less 2,000,000 independens who managed to vote, some up to 4 times

  28. catherine benning

    Is Catalonia just the beginning?

    The big mistake made by the EU officials is, Europe was and is a democracy. As a result the citizens must have the ability within there own sphere to eliminate politicians they no longer see as fit for purpose. EU officials are exempt from the nation States natural justice. The people in power are too far from the personal accountability various ‘regions’ people can deal with. Your leaders stay far too long in power and have no respect for the wishes of the people you claim to be leading.

    In fact, the EU takes more notice of those from outside its sphere than from those inside. Other continents and their people are considered in far greater detail than those who pay for your keep. And in a democracy this is nonsense and has to be rectified promptly. Which via your system cannot take place. Hence the peoples of Europe want rid of this expensive and worthless club. The only way they can bring this about is by electing their own leaders who promise to rid them of the EU.

    The logic being, once the EU is out of the way, those who run their individual state policies will be replaced by ones who will have to satisfy the voters requirements. No more short lists of individuals unsuitable for the needs of the country. No more false elections of individuals who have a hidden agenda in their political remit. Accountability will prevail.

    So, yes, of course Catalonia is only the beginning. As this tune explains.

    • Scott Bauer

      Catherine, I concur with your decentralized position. Would love to see your reaction to the following argument that supports Catalan independence notwithstanding the Spanish Constitution of 1978’s prohibition of secession. Below is a slightly modified excerpt from the book “Intergenerational Justice”:

      Thomas Jefferson stated ‘one generation is to another as one independent nation to another’, he said, thus insisting on the right of citizens of each generation to re-make their institutions, commitments and policies according to their own interests and values. Following this line of thought, Jefferson, at one time, suggested that the constitution ought to be renegotiated in every generation, thus allowing younger generations a chance to construct a political society according to their interests and needs.
      Paine and Jefferson thought it wrong that the freedom of democratic citizens to govern themselves should be limited by decisions over which they could exercise no control—whether made in another country or by people of the past.
      Jefferson’s idea that generations are politically independent, implies that past generations or their deeds cannot be a source of obligations for existing citizens. Citizens can only be expected to take collective responsibility for their own political decisions. An implication of this position is that states cannot be expected to act as morally responsible intergenerational agents that keep their commitments.
      Future citizens are entitled to reject commitments made by their forebears.

  29. Zé Miranda

    Well we kind of openned the door with Kosovo. I guess that countries that supported that secession never thought that they would be facing similar secession desires from within 7 years down the road. Now there is absolutely no legal or moral argument to be against those potencial secessions since we already established precedent…

  30. Giorgio Clarotti

    To see a map of Europe of the regions, pse see here Europe is the small peninsula at the top left of Asia. Practically irrelevant. Only a united, federal EU can influence the world affairs and therefore defend and keep its way of life. #ToFedEU

  31. Scott Bauer

    There is intellectual precedent for the current generation of Catalans rejecting the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Thomas Jefferson’s argument is that the constituting acts of prior generations cannot bind future generations. I paraphrase below, somewhat out of context, a powerful summary of Thomas Jefferson’s view from the book “Intergenerational Justice”:

    Thomas Jefferson stated ‘one generation is to another as one independent nation to another’, he said, thus insisting on the right of citizens of each generation to re-make their institutions, commitments and policies according to their own interests and values. Following this line of thought, Jefferson, at one time, suggested that the constitution ought to be renegotiated in every generation, thus allowing younger generations a chance to construct a political society according to their interests and needs.
    Paine and Jefferson thought it wrong that the freedom of democratic citizens to govern themselves should be limited by decisions over which they could exercise no control—whether made in another country or by people of the past.
    Jefferson’s idea that generations are politically independent, implies that past generations or their deeds cannot be a source of obligations for existing citizens. Citizens can only be expected to take collective responsibility for their own political decisions. An implication of this position is that states cannot be expected to act as morally responsible intergenerational agents that keep their commitments.
    Future citizens are entitled to reject commitments made by their forebears and to deny liability for their deeds.

    Thomas Jefferson stated ‘one generation is to another as one independent nation to another’, he said, thus insisting on the right of citizens of each generation to re-make their institutions, commitments and policies according to their own interests and values. Following this line of thought, Jefferson, at one time, suggested that the constitution ought to be renegotiated in every generation, thus allowing younger generations a chance to construct a political society according to their interests and needs
    Paine and Jefferson thought it wrong that the freedom of democratic citizens to govern themselves should be limited by decisions over which they could exercise no control—whether made in another country or by people of the past.
    Jefferson’s idea that generations are politically independent, implies that past generations or their deeds cannot be a source of obligations for existing citizens. Citizens can only be expected to take collective responsibility for their own political decisions. An implication of this position is that states cannot be expected to act as morally responsible intergenerational agents that keep their commitments
    Future citizens are entitled to reject commitments made by their forebears and to deny liability for their deeds.

  32. Tona Romeu

    Catalunya és nació molt abans què la vostra admirada pàtria corrupte !!! Llegeix història abans de parlar !

    • Javier Raya

      Jaja! Q ignorancia! Y Castilla, y Asturias, eran más viejos a q España… porque España es el resultado de la reunificación de varios Reinos… por cierto, Catalunya como ente soberano independiente nunca ha existido, sino como entidad dependiente de otra… como mucho puedes decir que Castilla, Leon, Corona de Aragón, el reino de Granada, Navarra, etc han precedido España (por ciertos, el primer Parlamento europeo es el de León)… O sea, que menos humos. Vuestro nacionalismo supremacista no tiene fundamento alguno, tampoco histórico.

    • Antonio Jimenez Rodriguez

      La historia que se han inventado tus famosos republicanos que no han proclamado la república aun y OS siguen engañando, despertar ya de una vez.

    • Tona Romeu

      Qui ha de despertar és España !!! Esteu abduïts !!!

  33. Stefano Pessina

    Just to be clear, the referendum hold in Northern Italy was not about independence, it was about autonomy. That’s a pretty big difference. I know the article explain it, but the caption is misleading

  34. A Fra Bal

    The only way to build people’s Europe is to de-construct european nation-states.

    Catalonia is indeed the beginning of a new Europe.

    • Ivan Burrows

      That’s pretty much what they said in Berlin & Moscow in 1939, you Europeans have learnt nothing from your history & are destined to repeat it. How many will you kill this time around, 50 million, 100 million, more ?

  35. Xavier Macià

    Most Catalans would be happy to be part of plurinacional state that respected and valued different cultures, languages and customs. Unfortunately Catalans live in a state that devalues their culture, misuses their financial resources and generally views them as second class citizens.

  36. Xavier Ossorio

    Catalans have been brainwashed and adoctrinated in schools since a young age. Fortunately the other half of them are strong enough not to let this brainwashing determine their way of thinking. Spain does respect catalan language, culture and autonomy , catalonia has its own television, internet domain ( .cat ) uses catalan in most of its education without restraints , every national day is respected and allowed, millions of euros of investments on ports , airports, infrastructures etc.. are provided by the State , spanish territory buys around 60% of catalan products and its the main engine of its industry , everybody knows Dictator Franco did oppress them and prohibited the use of catalan etc, that is a fact and also history that belongs to the past , spaniards do not hate catalans , other than friendly jokes about them related to being tight with money , they have been told that spaniards hate them , which is false for the utter most part , they have been taught they are victims of suffering and oppression, when in fact nobody was ever oppressed , everyone had freedom of speech , demonstration , culture and language rights ,full democracy in its most advanced levels in the world. Spain has a financing system which applies to the autonomous communities (not only catalonia) where money is collected and distributed to guarantee poorer regions develop as well, this is regarded as unfair for catalonia and i do believe it should be revised , also the concept of nation inside the state should be honoured and respected , these are the two mistakes spain should fix , other than that , open your eyes, shut your ears for a minute and try to really see things for what they are, if you are a cataln nationalist, do you really believe everything youve been told to believe? what if the catalan government actually used your patriotic feelings for their benefit? what if you were to some extent being manipulated? what if not everything that looks the way it does were the way it seems to be? what if the nationalism actually led catalonia to a disaaster instead of bringing that glory that it has been promised by politicians? not forcing any beliefs in you , just ask yourself the question freely and try to see and hear beyond the clouds and noise thats in the air

  37. Eva

    This is not an identity independentism. There are poople feeling spanish that join the catalan republic. This is not due to the economical aspect (however, this issue is important). Above all, this is a struggle against the legal fascism.

  38. Chris Van Dam

    Probably not. Although perhaps Frysia may be next of course. And Bavaria. Bretagne perhaps. Flanders. Rutland. Legoland…Hm, maybe you’re onto something…Then again…

  39. Marialuisa Wittlin

    almost all of these Regions are part of a country and government that exploits certain regions. Ex. Madrid: collect taxes from Catalonia and spend the money on hair brained schemes like airports with no passengers, AVE lines that run without passengers while at the same time refusing to improve infrastructures in Catalonia, the most populated region. In most cases it does not start with the independence idea, but it eventually becomes a question of survival and quality of life if the centralistic government is ignoring or punishing certain regions..

  40. Ashley Smith

    The self determination diversion will be found wanting when the public wake up to the fact it is not nationalism or even regionalism nor is it ethnically based. It’s just opportunism, a naked attempt to decentralise power for personal gain. Some things are better when handled regionally, some are not.

  41. Alex

    What is wrong with wanting to keep tax money in the region exactly? It’s a good thing to do for anyone.

  42. Zap Van Der Berg

    i hope not, but cmon Debating Europe, im not closing to negative topics but if we only focus on the negatives well end up getting it, why not post the same question unders “how can we achieve more unity in europe?”

    • Jane Tse

      Self-actualization, very correct!

  43. Eva

    The centralist governments in the greatest european states (created in a clear opportunism in modern times) is arriving to the end.

    Societies changed,are more sophisticated. People belive in democracy, so that, they claim decentralisation of governments to organize thw society and construct the progress. The great states that would’t understand it, are condemnated to dissapear in 2 or 20 years. They have the arms,we know, we have the poople; that’s scareing and beautiful. I know there is a problem in the ue, they shoud study and talk carefully about it.

    Only fascism is able to block democracy, as in 1936.

  44. Karolina

    I believe it is the end as well.

  45. Miguel Michael Sanchez

    No, it’s over! Nobody trust in a “new country” who change laws illegally just because they don’t like them! No other country in the entire world recognize a Katalonian State!

  46. Marios Tsamandouras

    Franco was a criminal. The result of tollarating the crimes of Franco is creating the fascists and the of Rajoi the thief.

    • Miguel Michael Sanchez

      Not all Spaniards vote Rajoy, but 70% of Spanish voters want unity

    • Marios Tsamandouras

      Respect on that. But says little if we ask every other than the people in question. Doesnt seem logic to ask spanish for the rights of incas too.

  47. Wendy Harris

    No other country in the world should recognize one that uses brutality to suppress its own people. I know that if the Scottish were ever treated that way the English would defend them (almost all of us have Scottish blood or Scottish friends). Would the Spanish people stand by and watch this happen to the Catalans? Surely what happens next depends on how the Government deals with this problem?
    What do the Catalans really want? To be an entirely independent country or one that remains within a united kingdom of Spain but has its own devolved parliament? I don’t know the answer to this question but I would like to see it posed in an approved referendum.
    I only know that the more you try to keep something captive through cruelty and bullying the more it will try to escape.

    • Pablo Lobo

      Mossos de escuadra. The catalan police is the most violent against their own people. For years. No case in blaming spanish police.

  48. Vitor F Veiga

    No… catalonia it’s a long time Spanish problem. It got to the current point because of Spain’s governments fault…

    • Pablo Lobo

      Wrong. Catalán polítics blamed Spain for the crisis.

    • Wendy Harris

      Then why don’t they let them hold a proper referendum?

    • Carmen Rodikaa

      Because large numbers of Spaniards from other regions were brought to live there, since Franco’s time, to deny Catalan nationality. Exactly what Russians did in their USSR

    • Jose Antonio

      Wendy Harris, if you are asking me why then you dont know what is happening…

  49. Pablo Lobo

    Would be the end of EU. Russia is helping Cataluña’s far left to desestabilize Europe

    • Carmen Rodikaa

      Why not Soros – he is the “devil” of our time, whenever an enemy is needed 😃😃😃

  50. Luísa Cunha Ventura Gagean

    We need to know the result of the elections. Real elections. The independent group seems to be crazy. Spain is a whole country, with autonomias.

  51. Yannick Cornet

    I could wish it is the beginning of a Europe of Regions, which would be more attuned to citizens at local level and yet coordinated by the EU, without the middle management layer of countries that seems to become increasingly irrelevant – which I think they realize since they are so paranoid about it, at least in the case of Spain. Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders, .. these regions are tired of the social construction they have been forced in by history, but they have never said they wanted to opt out of the EU. The EU should certainly take heed of this.

  52. Stamatis

    How lazy is this article? What difference does it make what we think if we lack the background knowledge that outlets such as yours should have thought their duty to provide? The EU is us but as member states, period. It’s not a federation, it’s not an empire, it’s not a faceless bureaucracy (read the Commission). The EU is our elected governments. Don’t expect any elected governments to give up any part of their territory and, most importantly, don’t accuse “the EU” for this.

  53. Sari Bruno

    For me it is not so much question about independence as much as money for most people; bad government`s finances. Perhaps at the local level it should be easier to collect taxes from everybody.

  54. Nikolas Argiriades

    European Union is not democratic any more, that is the reason of all of the problems that seem to be unsolved.

  55. Helmut Kuhnrich

    Hopefully yes.. we need a restart…a EU for the people and her diversities not a pro greedy financial and political monster based on financial statues…

  56. Artem

    Well I don’t really think it’s the beginning of independent small states, as it would be very difficult for them to exist in Europe, especially in the economic way. This struggling is just a waste of time, as nothing would really change. I don’t believe in Catalonian exit. They (small states) are too weak for such actions.

  57. Oxman

    You have forgot about Åland Islands, Skåne, Jämtland…

  58. Jose Quintans

    From time to time I think “let them fall”, when I remember the idea of breaking European states down into regions in order to re-balance the power within EU, although the process and order is very important, e.g. the last state standing would have a bigger advantage, and the upper hand in negotiations in the EU.

    Also the process would be painful, and could put the EU at risk in the meantime.

    It would be advantageous to boost EDTIB, but taking the Iberian peninsula as example, it is good to have a big state like Spain managing the peninsula.

    Anyway, these independentists in Catalonia drive me crazy with their stupidity. They don’t even fact-check their statements.
    Their center of power is emotional attachment to their specific culture, although it is ‘wrapped with a bunch of lies’, and disrespect for the rest of Spaniards.

    I don’t care anymore, although they will deserve a punishment if they get it with such dirty tactics.

    Let’s focus in Europe.

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