Catalan leader Artur Mas presses EU on secession issue

Liberal nationalist PM demands answers to how Brussels will respond if new states emerge within European Union.

Catalonia’s regional leader sought to call the European Union’s bluff on Wednesday over a rising tide of national fragmentation and secessionism within the EU, demanding to know what Brussels will do if some of the union’s member states splinter for the first time in EU history.

Increasingly at odds with Madrid over the legality of his drive to secure a mandate for a Catalan independence referendum, Artur Mas, the liberal nationalist prime minister of Catalonia who has called early elections for later this month in a bid to obtain that mandate, insisted that if a new country emerged from the Spanish turmoil a separate Catalonia would be entitled to remain a member of the EU inside the euro single currency zone.

“The big umbrella is the European Union … within Europe we can have a different political status,” Mas said.

He came to Brussels to try to sway minds on Catalan secessionism and to demand answers to the pressing questions being thrown up by the prospect of the emergence of new states within the EU.

It has been a promising few weeks for independence movements, with the three-year euro crisis fomenting an upsurge in fragmentation within the 27-member union and within some of its bigger countries.

Read @ The Guardian