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It could be - but so far, at least, the EU seems to be fairly solidly behind the EU decision to stay out of it. (Well, except for Scotland.... but that's kind of understandable.)

Unfortunately, it does not seem as though this situation will end well, no matter what happens.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Is the situation in Catalan a possible threat to wider EU unity?
In my opinion the EU is not under threat. Regional independence movements are a regular occurence in history.
National or transnational governments should be able to take them in their stride when they arise.
Journalists tend to write inflammatory or sensationalist articles warning how the alleged danger may spread.
Well they must earn their living after all.


Ref to article in the Guardian : Beyond Catalonia : pro- independence movements in Europe.
I don't know how to give you the link with my tablet 😶
 

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Frankly, there have been threats to EU unity for quite a while and no doubt they will be ongoing. You only need to take a look at politics around Europe to realise that. Oh, and many supporters of Brexit (just as an example) believed/wanted/hoped that the Brexit referendum result would start a trend. And of course the FN has been around in France for quite a while. Not forgetting the recent elections in Germany, of course.

As for Catalonia - I guess we will have to wait and see how that pans out. Should Catalonia really break away from Spain, it could just as easily act as a catalyst for better unity as for decreased unity (same goes for Brexit BTW) because it would give others an insight into negative/positive impacts in real wprld situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you're forgetting Yugoslavia, Georgia, Chechnya...

Things can get ugly out of nationalist feelings.
 

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I worked a season in Catalonia about 6 years ago and it seemed clear to me just from everyday life, from my colleagues' attitudes and conversations I picked up in bars etc, that feelings were running pretty high even then. Although it seems a bit harsh I think the EU is right to keep out of it. It's a Spanish issue and it's very hard for third parties to fully understand the problem, going right back to its historical roots and everything that's happened since as perceived by both sides. And history has shown over and over again the dangers of countries taking sides and becoming involved in sensitive issues that they don't fully understand. IMHO.
 

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Agree with ET here. It seems that the "reasons" for independence are based on long-standing historical stuff that is strictly related to Spain and Catalan relations with Spain over the years (centuries?). There hasn't been a clear case made to countries external to Spain.

Some nationalist movements have clearly been religion or ethnic-identity based, where there is more motivation for outsiders to get involved. But as Tusk has said, we don't really want or need to suddenly have the EU turn into a union of 95 countries, from what used to be 28. (Begs the question of whether 28 is a manageable number or not - but another discussion for another time.)

I understand that there are strong passions involved, but just what the "issues" are I don't think many folks outside of Spain really have any comprehension at all.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Agree with ET here. It seems that the "reasons" for independence are based on long-standing historical stuff that is strictly related to Spain and Catalan relations with Spain over the years (centuries?). There hasn't been a clear case made to countries external to Spain.

Some nationalist movements have clearly been religion or ethnic-identity based, where there is more motivation for outsiders to get involved. But as Tusk has said, we don't really want or need to suddenly have the EU turn into a union of 95 countries, from what used to be 28. (Begs the question of whether 28 is a manageable number or not - but another discussion for another time.)

I understand that there are strong passions involved, but just what the "issues" are I don't think many folks outside of Spain really have any comprehension at all.
Cheers,
Bev
I think the EU is right in calling on Spain to seek to address issues in depth and not in a heavy-handed way (just as I think Spain was wrong in using violence to try to prevent the referendum). Rajoy IMHO needs to work a little bit harder to find a peaceful solution (I don't it's likely that a fresh election will solve much, if anything). It's a shame that the EU didn't (couldn't??) agree to send a mediator, because I thiink it's likely that increased autonomy for Catalonia might be a solution - but that requires genuine discussion between the parties.

IMHO it's not just that most people outside Spain don't understand the issues, that's also the case for many of the other regions in Spain - eg. the average Andalucian has no such understanding because their situation is, and has historically been, very different - not to mention the significant economic reliance of the country as a whole on Catalonia.
 

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For 5 years I lived in North Catalonia - it's called France -departément 66 Pyrénées Orientales. There was quite an emphasis on Catalan culture, language and really terrible Catalan music. However, I never detected any political comments for an independence movement. Indeed, the Catalan separatist movement in Spain doesn't seem to mention their compatriots north of the border.

I'm not sure how this will end, and I can't see they can go back to the situation of say last year -
something has to move. I'm not clear on whether the support for Catalan independence is really rock solid - what do you need to have a strong negotiating hand?

We live in interesting times?

DejW
 

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Perhaps, "A quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing." is not really applicable here. UDI and partition of established nation states does rather have a tendency to prolonged violence.
 

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This reminds me a bit of the whole Kosovo issue (as I remember it anyhow). The main reason given for the discord had something to do with a battle fought and won/lost some 800 years ago. At least that was the explanation given at the time.

What seems to be emerging here is that Catalonia is the richest region within Spain and there is some resentment about "sending all our money to Madrid and getting little of it back." That's a common refrain in the US when it comes to the states (well, the rich ones at least) - but I'm not sure you can avoid that anywhere in the world. And if all the "rich parts" of the various countries declared themselves independent I suspect we'd have a real mess on our hands.

But the EU is right to regard the Catalonia issue as one for Spain to have to come to grips with. It has been handled rather badly (on both sides) so far, but no one appears ready to change their tactics.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
But the EU is right to regard the Catalonia issue as one for Spain to have to come to grips with.
Bev
My point is that if (serious) conflict does come, surely the EU can 'regard' away, but surely EU stability and world confidence in a united EU will hit hard and hurt the EU, no?
 

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My point is that if (serious) conflict does come, surely the EU can 'regard' away, but surely EU stability and world confidence in a united EU will hit hard and hurt the EU, no?
If the Catalonia situation comes down to serious (physical) conflict, then the EU should get involved to the extent they would with any member nation aggressing (oh, I have been living here a long time now) another country or a faction within their own country. Not sure what that would mean as the EU has been pretty slow to take measures against any member state for not living up to the rules of the Union.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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My point is that if (serious) conflict does come, surely the EU can 'regard' away, but surely EU stability and world confidence in a united EU will hit hard and hurt the EU, no?
I don't see why it would work like that. After all the UK is busy imploding right now but irrespective of Brexit does the world see that as affecting EU unity and stability? I don't think they do, I think it's regarded as the UK's problem. Then there is brexit but again I think the EU is seen to be dealing with it in a united and stable way. People still see each EU state as a country in its own right with its own internal politics and in most cases its own problems, and the EU itself is seen as, if you like, greater than the sum of its parts. IF it became clear that the disunity in one of its member states was affecting the functioning of the EU, I'm sure that it would take steps to protect itself. It's how issues are dealt with that gives people confidence or not, not simply the fact that issues exist because whenever people are involved issues will always exist.

A bit like, each member of a company's workforce has their own private life and in some cases their own personal problems, but it only becomes the company's problem when they bring those problems to work and don't do their job properly. Then it acts.
 

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I find it somewhat amusing that while Catalonia wants to leave one federation (Spain) it wants to stay a member of an even larger federation (the EU).
 

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I find it somewhat amusing that while Catalonia wants to leave one federation (Spain) it wants to stay a member of an even larger federation (the EU).
It's personal though, there does seem to be real hostility against the Spanish.

I was thinking back to my stay there. I knew a very leetle Spanish and had thought that while I was there I would learn some more, naively thinking that my Catalan colleagues would help, but on principle they weren't at all keen to help me practise Spanish Spanish. They made it clear, in a pleasant jokey way, that as far as they were concerened I should be learning Catalan Spanish or they would think I was a traitor, and I don't think deep down it was a joke at all, they're fiercely proud of their language and their culture and they really don't like being seen as playing second fiddle to Spain. In the end it seemed simpler to stick to English and French and gesture-language and forget about learning any kind of Spanish. I had a great summer there but I have to say there was a certain amount of walking on eggshells.
 

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For 5 years I lived in North Catalonia - it's called France -departément 66 Pyrénées Orientales. There was quite an emphasis on Catalan culture, language and really terrible Catalan music. However, I never detected any political comments for an independence movement. Indeed, the Catalan separatist movement in Spain doesn't seem to mention their compatriots north of the border.

I'm not sure how this will end, and I can't see they can go back to the situation of say last year -
something has to move. I'm not clear on whether the support for Catalan independence is really rock solid - what do you need to have a strong negotiating hand?

We live in interesting times?

DejW
Well in the department next to you DejW 11 Aude, we often used to see political slogans, graffiti and flags proclaiming a free Occitan state, which is i believe a a sort of french-catalan dialect.
 

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It's personal though, there does seem to be real hostility against the Spanish.

I was thinking back to my stay there. I knew a very leetle Spanish and had thought that while I was there I would learn some more, naively thinking that my Catalan colleagues would help, but on principle they weren't at all keen to help me practise Spanish Spanish. They made it clear, in a pleasant jokey way, that as far as they were concerened I should be learning Catalan Spanish or they would think I was a traitor, and I don't think deep down it was a joke at all, they're fiercely proud of their language and their culture and they really don't like being seen as playing second fiddle to Spain. In the end it seemed simpler to stick to English and French and gesture-language and forget about learning any kind of Spanish. I had a great summer there but I have to say there was a certain amount of walking on eggshells.
They are a very insular people. SWMBO's cousin is married to a Catalan. The family came to visit us over Easter and we reciprocated by visiting them for a few days. We found the locals quite unfriendly (i.e. not like the Andalucians with whom we are surrounded) and the Catalan mother said that in the few days they were with us she had been welcomed and spoken to by far more people in a couple of days than she had in the twenty years they have been living where they are (just north of Barcelona.)
 
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