Spain Wars

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10.03.2014

Source: Catalan News Agency

Spanish Government: Independent Catalonia to “roam across space […] excluded from the EU for the centuries of the centuries”

Comparing Catalonia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia
On Monday, in a conference organised by the Nueva Economía Forum in Madrid, in front of Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, Giorgi Kvirikaixvili, José Manuel García-Margallo indirectly compared Catalonia’s case with that of South Ossetia – where there was a war in 2008 between Georgia and Russia – and Abkhazia – which also seceded from the Caucasian country and participated in a war with the same contenders. García-Margallo pointed out that those territories seceded “illegally” from Georgia, organising “illegal referendums”, going against internal and international law”. Now, the international community does not recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries, with very few exceptions that include Russia. The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister continued his argumentation by referring to the current case of Crimea and Ukraine.

In the question and answer time, García-Margallo was asked if the previous statements were valid for Catalonia. The 7.5 million Catalans are EU citizens and net contributors to the EU budget and Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is the 6th largest urban area in the Union and one of the main economic engines in Southern Europe. The Spanish Minister stated that an independent Catalonia “would not be recognised by the EU” and therefore “its EU accession would not be recognised neither taken into consideration”.

Spanish Government: Catalonia can only be independent through a unilateral declaration
Considering Spain’s Constitutional framework the only way Catalonia could become an independent country is through a unilateral declaration of independence, stated García-Margallo. According to the Spanish Government’s interpretation of the Constitution, the law does not authorise the organisation of a self-determination consultation vote in Catalonia and therefore it cannot take place. On top of this, the Spanish Government is rejecting any reform of the Constitution and closes the door to talks on the possibility of holding a legal vote on Catalonia’s independence.

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Roaming across space for the centuries of the centuries
However, immediately after, García-Margallo added that if Catalan authorities issued a unilateral declaration of independence, this would “condemn Catalonia to roam across space without international recognition and it would be excluded from the EU for the centuries of the centuries”. According to him, “this is the contrary of Catalonia’s will”.

For these reasons he stated that independence is “a high risk operation”. “Secession is harmful for Spain but it is particularly harmful for Catalonia”. García-Margallo considered “it is about time to let people know” about” the risks that an essentially European population is being put at”.

The Spanish Minister stated that the United Nations only recognise self-determination for a territory in case of colonisation, military occupation or human rights violation. He added that an independent Catalonia would be “in a judicial limbo”, out of the International Monetary Fund’s protection and the Bretton Woods institutions.

The European Greens support Catalonia’s self-determination
On the same day in Barcelona, the main candidate of the European Greens, Ska Keller, stated she was giving her explicit support to Catalonia’s right to self-determination. The candidate to chair the European Commission said that “the Greens defend radical democracy and in Catalonia there is a citizen demand in favour of a [self-determination] referendum”. “For this reason I want to make the personal commitment that, if I am elected Commission President, I will support Catalonia in allowing a consultation vote on its political future and its relationship with Spain”, promised the German politician. Keller urged the Spanish Government to launch a negotiation process to make this vote possible.

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