Catalonia: The Non-Case

BrokenChain

“Given the euphoria built up around the pro-referendum concert on June 29th at FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium, I was surprised at the scepticism shown by a senior official of the European Union”.

On June 29th, on the evening the “Concert for Freedom” was held, I ran into a senior European Union official. He has worked there for years, he has been a Brussels envoy to several countries around the world and knows how core EU policy works. Given his position, he also discretely advises on the independence process that has been ongoing for some time in Catalonia. That was why I was surprised by his scepticism, given the euphoria surrounding the concert. I couldn’t help myself…

— You know Europe well. How do they see the Catalan Case there?

— It’s a Non-Case.

— What do you mean?

— For the European authorities, unfortunately, Catalonia is still a Non-Case. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about it, but that’s how it is.

— But… the massive demonstration of the 11th of September highlighted in lots of international media. Everyone was talking about it. And people from the Catalan government are visiting Brussels to explain the process…

— Yes, yes, that’s all very well, sure. And the human chain set for September 11th will be a great photo opportunity. But in Europe they won’t be losing any sleep over it. Nice pictures of a people… but no headache.

— And so… What’s needed to make the Non-Case into a Case?

Conflict.

— You don’t think there’s conflict? Isn’t Spanish PM Rajoy’s government draconian attitude towards Catalonia’s referendum enough to start with? Or all the Spanish laws being passed encroaching on the Catalan government’s powers. The issue of language, for example…

— No. That’s not conflict as far as Europe’s concerned. What it is, as European leaders say each time they’re asked, is that it’s an internal matter. It doesn’t get past the border.

— So? What would have to happen for it to become a conflict for Europe?

One of two things: first, Catalan President Mas would have to formally ask Mr. Rajoy to call the referendum. If he refuses, the Catalan government would then ask Europe to enjoin Spain to call it. The ball would have passed the border into Europe’s court and will have become a conflict

Read @ Help Catalonia

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