Independence of Catalonia: Why it is Impossible

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Moscow, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 62 Issue 11

There are three main reasons why there is no chance for creating an independent state in Catalonia. The first one refers to the Spanish Constitution, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia and acting legislation that definitely and unambiguously prohibit the secession and the referendum on independence. To overcome this legal deadlock Spanish political forces should agree on the way of constitutional reform moving towards federation, which is not the case. The second one is connected with the political situation in Spain where the minority government formed through the motion of no-confidence and headed by P. Sánchez lacks sufficient support from the parliament to deal with the acute political crisis in Catalonia. The Catalan crisis coincided with the crisis of the Spanish two-party political system. The situation in Catalonia itself is no less complicated as the three separatist parties victorious in recent elections have different approaches to many political and economical issues. The third reason is the lack of foreign support (mainly from the EU) to the idea of Catalan independence. In the case of secession Catalonia will lose its membership not only in the EU but in euro-zone, Shengen zone, NATO, WTO and even UN. Meanwhile, the Catalan problem has turned into the main threat to the security and territorial integrity of Spain. Full-scale negotiations between Madrid and Barcelona on the whole complex of accumulated problems of political, legal, economic, financial, cultural and linguistic nature are vitally important. These negotiations will undoubtedly be long and complicated and may theoretically lead to a revision of the autonomous statute in terms of expanding the financial autonomy of the region, which would greatly contribute to consolidation of the Catalan society and isolation of “irreconcilables”. Inability of both sides to start negotiations and to abstain from unilateral actions, let alone to come to an agreement, show that the present crisis has no mutually acceptable solution in the short term. The new Spanish government will have to address the Catalan problem as its top priority.

KeywordsSpain, Catalonia, independence, autonomy, referendum, elections, constitution
Publication date14.12.2018
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