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.Is the situation in Catalan a possible threat to wider EU unity?
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.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.
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?But the EU is right to regard the Catalonia issue as one for Spain to have to come to grips with.
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.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.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?
It's personal though, there does seem to be real hostility against the Spanish.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).
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.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?
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.)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.