Scotland “shows the way” to separatist movements as Catalonia calls a vote on independence

Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, received Artur Mas, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya. This handshake that happened exactly one year ago probably made most Catalans believe that they can make ends meet on their own (EC Audiovisual Services, 30/09/2013)

Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, received Artur Mas, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya. This handshake that happened exactly one year ago probably made most Catalans believe that they can make ends meet on their own (EC Audiovisual Services, 30/09/2013)

The fact that Scotland’s vote for independence was a milestone in the separatist movements’ history within the European Union was already clear. In the last weeks everybody was looking northwards as it was evident that any decision by the Scots would have changed the path and probably the weight of the regionalist parties inside the parliament houses of the European countries. According to this idea I guess it would be normal to say that Scotland’s rejection of independence is a real setback for those movements’ cause, right? Maybe, but this is far from the reality. Unexpectedly Scotland’s referendum has boosted separatist movements anyway. And now Catalonia’s case is the proof.

What many were afraid of happened anyway in the wealthy North-Eastern region of Spain: last Friday Catalonia’s parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving its regional President the right to call a vote on independence from Spain. The move came just a day after Scotland voted against independence from the United Kingdom, surprising all those people who were thinking “straight”, as I said a few lines ago. But Catalan President Artur Mas’ declaration explains it all: “Scotland’s referendum had ‘shown the way’ for Catalonian independence”, he stated to the BBC. And this is exactly how separatist movements in Europe will behave and re-organise their own strategy: to go beyond Scotland’s “Yes” front’s defeat, asking for the same right that Scotland was given. The right to vote.

That’s why Mr Mas earlier said that Scotland’s rejection of independence was “not a setback” and that having the chance to vote was “the key point”. “This is a powerful and strong message that the UK is sending to the entire world” the head of Catalonia’s regional movement declared at a news conference. “Scotland’s referendum opens the way for us, because what happened there is that they voted […] and what we really want in Catalonia is to have […] the same possibility”, he added. The takeaway message was that a referendum had taken place, and this way the regional Parliament in Barcelona voted (106 to 28) to give to its leader the power to call a vote on independence which is planned for November 9 2014.

The Spanish government has repeatedly said that such vote would be illegal and would violate Spain’s constitution. Unlike London, Madrid has never allowed Catalonia or any other region to organize a referendum for independence, and therefore any attempt should be considered as “not official” and not leading to immediate secession anyway. Of course Mr Mas counts on the fact that an overwhelming “Yes” majority would give him a political mandate to negotiate a path towards independence with Madrid. The main issue for the Catalans would “only” be that Spain’s constitution doesn’t allow referendums that don’t include all Spaniards. Santi Rodriguez, a member of the Catalan regional parliament who represents Prime Minister Rajoy’s centre-right Popular Party, said it wouldn’t be possible for only Catalonians to vote, claiming that “there are not just seven million of us who would be affected by this – there are forty-seven million.”

Spain’s Premier didn’t mention Catalonia in his statement about Scotland’s referendum on Friday. “With their decision, Scots have avoided the large economic, social, institutional and political consequences that separation would have brought”, he said. And even with no direct citation to the turmoil inside his own country, he was harsh on any consequence led by separatist desires: “[The Scots] chose between integration and segregation, between isolation and openness, between stability and uncertainty, between security and a real risk, and they have chosen the most favourable option for everyone”.

Scotland’s question first and now Catalonia’s one have brought back attention to those various separatist movements across Europe. Italy’s Veneto and Sardinia as well as Belgium’s Dutch-speaking Flanders are quoted as the next areas in Europe which would get some key takeaways from this situation. Separatist and regional movement may flourish in the next months following Scotland’s and, most of all, Catalonia’s examples. For sure this is no golden era for those like me who believe in a Europe of fewer rather than more borders, and differences enforcing unity, still being in favour of giving to the people the right to express themselves.

Earlier this month hundreds of thousands of Catalans formed a “V” for “vote” in Barcelona’s main roads calling for their right to vote. What I think should be analysed carefully is whether the “V” for vote corresponds to “V” for victory all the times.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

E-cigars: Improbable ally or enemy in disguise?

Europe is designing satellites that ‘surf’ their way past space debris

This is how climate science went mainstream

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

Trump to subject the Fed, challenge the ECB and make Wall St. bankers even richer

The EU risks trade relations with China over the Tata hype about steel

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

From Model T to EV: a short history of motor vehicle manufacturing

G20 LIVE: G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism

3 ways Africa can improve the health of women and children

Heard about deepfakes? Don’t panic. Prepare

It is impossible to end HIV without SRHR

EU trade agreements: delivering for Europe’s businesses

‘Stronger’ effort must be made to cement peace deal for South Sudanese women and girls: UN Women chief

Eurogroup president swallows statement on savings confiscation

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

Tenants ‘forced out their homes’ by global investment firms, say UN experts

Leveraging digital for high quality internships

Commission hardens its stance against carmakers ensuring emissions reductions targets

These charts show where the world’s refugees came from in 2017 – and where they’re heading

Civilians ‘continue to pay highest price’ in Ukraine conflict, with peace prospects losing ‘momentum’

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

Guterres calls for ‘maximum restraint’ following drone assault on key Saudi oil facility

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

Investigate alleged pushbacks of asylum-seekers at the Greek-Turkish border, MEPs demand

FIFA and UN kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’

Taking care of our routes: the elderly in the time of COVID-19

This root vegetable could help alleviate hunger and end soil erosion. Here’s how

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

Central Africans ‘need our help now’: UN’s deputy relief chief

Economic policy priorities for a post-pandemic recovery

The water where baby fish are outnumbered 7 to 1 by plastic

COVID-19 practices are constantly changing – this app helps emergency doctors cope

Lessons in disaster relief from the world’s most cyclone-battered state

Questions and Answers about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

The new European Union of banks is ready

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Autonomous weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief

Commission assesses and sets out reform priorities for the countries aiming to join the EU

UN chief extends condolences to families of China landslide casualties

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak

These are New York Public Library’s 10 most borrowed books

International community makes important progress on the tax challenges of digitalisation

Trade surplus up production down in Eurozone

Syria: ‘Violence, displacement’ and cold kill 11 infants ‘in the past two days’

The shrinking Arctic ice protects us all. It’s time to act

Here’s how to achieve an optimal student/tutor ratio

On the detention of children in the United States of America

Trump denies climate change existence while Paris Agreement is not fully supported by G20 ahead of COP24

COVID-19 and the pursuit of financial inclusion in Pakistan

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

These are the 5 most exciting cycling projects in the world

Australia needs to intensify efforts to meet its 2030 emissions goal

EU elections 2019: Trump’s share in the support of populism

Bulgaria: MEPs call for EU values to be fully and unconditionally respected

Western Balkans: European Parliament takes stock of 2018 progress

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

More Stings?



  1. Catalonia is Spain says:

    Nice way to hide corruption. Go Mas Go!

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s