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Catalan independence referendum, 2017

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,994 ✭✭✭ambro25


    The European Parliament suggests that a declaration of independence would mean instant expulsion from the EU:

    https://i.imgur.com/wDC0WVY.jpg
    Maybe that conundrum could be looked at in the context of existing EU-microstate relationships, and solved with e.g. an 'Association Agreement' or some other form of multilateral agreement involving Spain (-drawing here on Peregrinus' earlier point about the political weight of a 'YES' referendum outcome). See last paragraph under the Future of relations header at the link.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    The European Parliament suggests that a declaration of independence would mean instant expulsion from the EU:

    https://i.imgur.com/wDC0WVY.jpg
    A couple of thoughts on this....
    1. It does not seem particularly legit. It seems to have come from here. It may or may not be a forgery.

    2. Supposing it is real, that Tajani guy only represents the E Parliament, whereas it would be the E Commission that would have to come up with an answer, which AFAIK would then have to be approved at a meeting of the Council of Ministers. The letter could be just some politician's BS letter of comfort/opinion piece to one of his buddies. What standing does it have?

    3. The EC remains non-committal until and unless Spain asks them a precise question on the subject, in which an exact scenario is pinned down. Which is a BS answer from the EC really, because I don't think anyone can pin down an exact scenario in advance of it happening.
    After all, they are still trying to pin down exactly what Brexit means, and that was voted for long ago.
    Heres a question they were asked previously, (and you can click on the answer button over on the right hand side of it)
    The Commission would express its opinion on the legal consequences under EC law, on request from a Member State detailing a precise scenario


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    As in 2014, the Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended the referendum and legislation, but Puigdemont has already responded by stating that the vote will proceed as scheduled:

    http://www.catalannews.com/politics/item/spanish-constitutional-court-suspends-catalan-independence-referendum

    http://www.elnacional.cat/en/politics/wont-suspend-democracy-puigdemont_189411_102.html?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=Post


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,365 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    The European Parliament suggests that a declaration of independence would mean instant expulsion from the EU:

    https://i.imgur.com/wDC0WVY.jpg
    That's not what the letter says.

    The opening position here is that there are 28 member states which are party to the European Treaties, and Catalonia is not one of them - mainly because Catalonia is not a sovereign state.

    The Catalonian Regional Assembly passing a declaration of independence does not turn Catalonia into a sovereign state. (If it did, we would date Irish sovereignty from 1919, and we do not.) Sovereignty doesn't spring into existence merely because someone declares that it is so. Sovereignt is a matter of fact; a particular country, territory, state is not sovereign unless it is actually sovereign which means, in effect, that it has to be accepted as sovereign by other sovereigns.

    What this letter is saying is that Catalonia is not a sovereign state unless and until it is accepted as such by other sovereigns, and in particular by Spain. In effect, Catalonia must move to sovereignty in accordance with Spanish law.

    So, the effect of a unilateral declaration of independence will not be that Catalonia would be "instantly expelled" from the EU. As far as the EU is concerned, Catalonia would still be part of Spain and, as part of Spain, still within the EU. The question of separate Catalonian membership of the Union won't arise unless and until there is a sovereign Catalonian state in existence, and the European Union will not second-guess Spain about that.

    Which means that the question of Catalonian membership of the Union is something that would have to be addressed as part of Catalonia's negotiated transition to independence. Currently, the Spanish line is "no, we would veto it"; that, of course, is intended to make Catalonian independence look unattractive, and therefore to reduce support for independence. But if and when Spain ever does get to a point of accepting that there is going to be an independent Catalonia, expect the Spanish position on Catalonian membership to be reviewed. If there is to be an independent Catalonia, it is not in Spain's interests that it be outside the EU, for much the same reason (but in spades) that it is not in our interests for the UK to be outside the EU. Plus, Spain would come under pressure from other member states to accommodate itself to Catalonian membership.

    We're a long way off an actual sovereign Catalonia, and if the referendum votes "yes" and the assembly declares independence, we'll still be a long way off. If we ever do get to the point of an independent Catalonia, I expect it to be a member of the EU.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    In theory, even if Spain never agreed to it, Catalonia could be considered sovereign if "enough" other countries agreed. In practice it would be difficult to get other EU countries to go against Spain. It would be a lot easier to get recognition from say, Russia, then from France.
    The British might try to use official recognition for Catalonia (or the threat of it) as leverage in some way, if the Spanish try to cause trouble over Gibraltar after Brexit.

    The way the UK dealt with the Scottish referendum was a lot better than the way Spain is dealing with this. They took risk in officially allowing the referendum and promising to respect the result, but it paid off.

    In contrast Spain has now put itself in a position where it is opposing democracy. Also Spain's contention that the referendum is illegal is dubious. Holding the referendum may not have a legal framework, but that does not mean it is illegal. As a general principle, anything is legal unless it has specifically been made illegal. Therefore Madrid would have to rush through some national legislation banning the holding of the referendum, which they have not done. Probably either because of the general inertia of politicians, or because they have not wanted to provoke matters.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,533 ✭✭✭AnGaelach


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    What this letter is saying is that Catalonia is not a sovereign state unless and until it is accepted as such by other sovereigns, and in particular by Spain. In effect, Catalonia must move to sovereignty in accordance with Spanish law.

    The EU fortunately doesn't decide who is sovereign and who is not, we already have instances of unilateral declarations of sovereignty that were accepted - one of the most recent being Croatia in the 90s.

    Spanish law not allowing Catalonian sovereignty doesn't mean they can never become sovereign by themselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    Oh, there's no doubt on that point - assuming Yes wins in three weeks and independence is declared, de facto sovereignty would take effect straight away, bar an unlikely decision by Madrid to send the tanks in. As we've seen with Kosovo, however, securing diplomatic recognition can prove something of a minefield, and the secession of a region from an EU member state is what makes the situation unprecedented. I hope they are successful, just pointing out that October 1st will be merely the beginning, rather than the end of the process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,365 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    AnGaelach wrote: »
    The EU fortunately doesn't decide who is sovereign and who is not, we already have instances of unilateral declarations of sovereignty that were accepted - one of the most recent being Croatia in the 90s.

    Spanish law not allowing Catalonian sovereignty doesn't mean they can never become sovereign by themselves.
    The EU doesn't decide it alone, but they're certainly part of the process. Basically, a country is sovereign if other sovereign countries and international organisations accept it as sovereign. There's no one country or organisation whose view on this is decisive; it's a cumulative thing. But if the EU were to admit to membership, or even open accession talks with, an independent Catalonia, that would be a very, very strong indicator of internationally-recognised sovereignty.

    The point is academic, since the EU absolutely will not do that without the assent of member states, particularly Spain. So the EU won't treat Catalonia as sovereign until Spain does.

    As for Catalonia\ becoming sovereign "by themselves", precisely because sovereignty consists of a set of relationships with other sovereigns you can't achieve it unilaterally; it is always dependent on decisions or choices made by others. But the journey to sovereignty may be negotiated and co-operative, or it may be confrontational, or it may be revolutionary, or it may involve a war of independence, or it may combine these characteristics or have different characteristics at different times. Just compare the different routes to sovereignty (from the UK) taken by the US, Ireland, Canada, India and Kenya, for example.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,120 ✭✭✭✭RobbingBandit


    Read a few months back if the independence happens Barcelona would be kicked out of La Liga.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,281 CMod ✭✭✭✭Nody


    Read a few months back if the independence happens Barcelona would be kicked out of La Liga.
    It's built on La Liga being a Spanish league and if Catalan leaves Barcelona is no longer a Spanish team. Having said that (and beyond the political part of the whole discussion) I'm quite sure La Liga would come to an arrangement simply because they would not want to lose one of their bigger teams and at the same time give Madrid that much more power overall compared to the rest of the league.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,120 ✭✭✭✭RobbingBandit


    There was talk of Ligue Un if they did leave, it's all hypothetical at this stage still. Can not imagine La Liga allowing them to leave either way would be catastrophic to the league structure and dynamic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,365 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    I think they'll solve this problem, somehow. There' no law of God or man that says that sporting leagues have to follow national boundaries, and if everybody involved is going to make more money out of Barcelona playing the the Spanish league even after Catalan independence than of Barcelona not playing in the Spanish league, then Barcelona will play in the Spanish league.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Compare to Irish rugby. Its amazing how many parallels there are with Irish history, but thankfully its all playing out in a much less bloody way in this century.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch




  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Posts deleted. Please use the soccer forum for discussing that sport.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch




  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite




  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    Probably a slip up by the US State Department's spokesperson, but I'm sure you'll take any recognition:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/lizcastro/status/908057950194999296


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    I'd say that would be entirely consistent with the current Washington administration.
    You'll remember Trump during the summer being lauded in Poland by big crowds that many in the EU bureaucracy would view as being far too nationalist.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭prinzeugen


    Declaring yourself as a sovereign state means nothing unless some other country does.

    Take Sealand. They claim that they have been recognised as an independent country by the UK and Germany in 1978.


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/notes-from-a-small-island-is-sealand-an-independent-micronation-or-an-illegal-fortress-8617991.html


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    prinzeugen wrote: »
    Declaring yourself as a sovereign state means nothing unless some other country does.

    Take Sealand. They claim that they have been recognised as an independent country by the UK and Germany in 1978.


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/notes-from-a-small-island-is-sealand-an-independent-micronation-or-an-illegal-fortress-8617991.html

    Absolutely, in terms of de jure status, but quite how Spain would regain de facto control without military intervention is uncertain.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    Juncker comments on Euronews and appears to indicate that the EU will respect the Spanish constitution, but will also be pragmatic if "Yes" wins:

    http://www.euronews.com/2017/09/14/three-youtubers-interview-president-juncker-live-on-euronews


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,365 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Absolutely, in terms of de jure status, but quite how Spain would regain de facto control without military intervention is uncertain.
    Well, it depends on how people and institutions in Catalonia react to the Declaration of Independence of the Regional Assembly.

    Will employers, for example, stop sending tax deductions from employees to the Spanish revenue? Will the federal police up and leave? Will the regional police stop enforcing Spanish law? How will the courts respond? How will citizens respond? Remember, lots of citizens oppose indepdence, and others who support it in principle may want to support an illegal (in Spanish terms) declaration of independence, possibly at the risk of their jobs, etc.

    Dail Eireann, remember, declared independence in 1919 but the response was somewhat patchy. To a large extent, the machinery of (UK) government continued to function throughout most of the country. It wasn't the Declaration of Independence and popular support for it that brought the British to the negotiating table; it was the war waged by the IRA, and of course the first shots in that war were fired by the IRA.

    Spain has signficant armed forces already in Catalonia. Will they mutiny? Will the Catalan government attack them? I kind of doubt it; nobody wants a war here. Will Spain withdraw them? I doubt that too. If there's peaceful resistance to the operations of the Spanish government in Catalonia, how will that play out? If Spain uses the federal police to enforce federal law, federal court judgments, how will the Catalan authorities react? Will they order the Catalan police to resist? Would the Catalan police obey such an order? Will the Catalan authorities try to take over border control, airport security, customs, etc - all currently in the hands of federal agencies. Will they try to do that by force?

    As I say, nobody wants a war. If the Catalans declare indepencence, they'll be gambling on securing such a degree of popular support, and effective civil disobedience to Spanish rule, as will force the Spanish government to the negotiating table to recognise Catalan independence. I'm not close enough to the situation to know how that will play out, but it's by no means a given that it will play out as the Catalans will be hoping. If it does, the end result will be a sovereign Catalonia. But it can't be overemphasised that that's the end result, not the starting point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 918 ✭✭✭ilkhanid


    recedite wrote: »
    I am just as consistent as Putin.
    He is consistent in wanting a strong unified Russian state comprised of the remaining parts of the former USSR in which the majority of people still consider themselves to be ethnic Russians. That includes Crimea and East Ukraine.

    I am consistent in agreeing with the right to self determination of a people. That would equally apply if the people of Crimea wanted to leave Russia at some future time. You're assuming in that hypothetical situation, that Putin would deny them that right.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    I am not making assumptions on it either way, and there are no signs of it happening anyway.

    I hope you are aware that the record of states trying to unify outlying ethnic minorities into the homeland over the twentieth century has been nothing short of catastrophic: the Sudentenland; Pomerania and East Prussia, Bosnia, Croatia, Nagorno-Karabakh. And the so-called Novorossiya is just the latest in this litany of disaster. There has only been two outcomes; disaster or near-disaster or running sores that will last years or even generations.
    recedite wrote: »
    Well, not sure who exactly you would call native to Crimea. The tartars are a remnant of Ottoman rule which was at its height back around Cromwell's time alright.
    The cossacks are probably the most "native", and they were strongly pro-Russian in the referendum.

    The Crimean Tartars are descendants of the Mongols of the Golden Horde, the branch that settled in Southern Russia after the breakup of the Mongol Empire. Their presence is at least as old as that of the Russians descended from the Cossacks.
    oscarBravo wrote: »
    I stand over the idea that Brexit is a picture-perfect example of why referendums are an utterly appalling way to run a country.
    To democracy's slavish adherents, such questions are blasphemous. The creed tells us that once the people have spoken, their words become sacred truth. The Will of the People can't be questioned, and if the consequences of the People's Sacred Decision is a national catastrophe, that's OK, because it's what the People Voted For.

    There are some countries that stipulate that referendums are not valid unless passed by a majority of a certain size. I'd say that it's highly dangerous that decisions that will change the direction of a country for generations to come, that can leave a country divided and people hostile and aggrieved can be made on the basis of 50% plus 1 person, especially steps as radical as secessions. We've seen the consequences of that in other countries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    The Catalan branch of Podemos has voted to participate in the referendum (59%-41%) - the significance is that the various groups now committed to participation account for 83 out of 135 seats in the Catalan parliament and 57% of voters.

    https://catalunyaencomu.cat/ca/premsa/catalunya-en-comu-participara-l1-o

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_regional_election%2C_2015


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,942 ✭✭✭topper75


    The real question is whether the Catalans will be willing to take a leap in the dark, since EU membership is far from certain post-independence.

    Can't see the EU leaving such a hole given the centrality of the region geographically. The Catalans can rest easy in that respect. Despite any warnings the EU have spouted about non-auto membership, a further weakened union after Brexit is not a place they want to go.
    At present, Brussels may court Madrid before it does Barcelona, yes, but the EU will not cut off its nose to spite its face should a new landscape emerge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,148 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious


    topper75 wrote: »
    Can't see the EU leaving such a hole given the centrality of the region geographically. The Catalans can rest easy in that respect. Despite any warnings the EU have spouted about non-auto membership, a further weakened union after Brexit is not a place they want to go.
    At present, Brussels may court Madrid before it does Barcelona, yes, but the EU will not cut off its nose to spite its face should a new landscape emerge.


    But as has been said here before "The EU" is not some stand alone entity.

    It's a collection of member states, and one of those member states is Spain.

    None of those member states is going to rush to recognize a region of Spain that has just made, what in effect is, a unilateral declaration of independence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    The latest opinion poll results: 71% want a referendum to be held (presumably a negotiated one), Yes lead 44-38% when all parties are canvassed, 60% of respondents are certain to vote, of whom 70% will vote Yes, which virtually overlaps the first Yes figure.

    http://www.ara.cat/politica/Participacio-del-mes-avantatge_0_1871212940.html


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    ilkhanid wrote: »
    I hope you are aware that the record of states trying to unify outlying ethnic minorities into the homeland over the twentieth century has been nothing short of catastrophic: the Sudentenland; Pomerania and East Prussia, Bosnia, Croatia, Nagorno-Karabakh. And the so-called Novorossiya is just the latest in this litany of disaster. There has only been two outcomes; disaster or near-disaster or running sores that will last years or even generations.
    Its a mistake to lump all these in together and call them disastrous. Its like saying water is a disaster, because so many people drown in it.
    When Germany incorporated the Sudetenland (and Austria) it wasn't actually a problem. The problem was when Germany started incorporating areas that weren't German, like Poland, Russia and most of Europe. Nowadays you don't hear about any problems in Sudetenland or East Prussia, but that's because millions of German's were ethnically cleansed out of those areas in 1945.

    So maybe you think ethnic cleansing is a better solution to any such problems than redrawing national borders, but I can't agree with that myself.

    Another contemporary one would be the Rohingia being expelled from Burma. A better solution would have been to extend the border of Bangladesh further into Burma to incorporate the Muslim/Bengali villages into that country. But the alternative (ethnic cleansing) is easier and quicker to achieve.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 918 ✭✭✭ilkhanid


    recedite wrote: »
    Its a mistake to lump all these in together and call them disastrous. Its like saying water is a disaster, because so many people drown in it.

    As analogies go, that one is bonkers.
    recedite wrote: »
    When Germany incorporated the Sudetenland (and Austria) it wasn't actually a problem. The problem was when Germany started incorporating areas that weren't German, like Poland, Russia and most of Europe.

    It certainly was a problem for Czechoslovakia! It lost important industrial areas and all of the fortifications facing Germany, so when the Germans wanted the rest of the meal, the Czechs were totally defenceless. Would you have regarded it as being of little consequence if, say, Germany in 1939 had just grabbed chunks of Pomerania, Silesia and the Polish corridor and left it at that? You don't seem to have a problem with stronger states adjusting borders to include their ethnic brethern, just with the "adjusted" states refusing to accept it and striking back!
    I also notice that those states that wanted to expand to include their separated friends rarely reciprocate by donating territory to other ethnicities. 'What's yours is mine....and what's mine is my own' seemed to be the ideal.
    recedite wrote: »
    Nowadays you don't hear about any problems in Sudetenland or East Prussia, but that's because millions of German's were ethnically cleansed out of those areas in 1945.

    Indeed. And that "cleansing" was a consequence of the German theft of those areas and their subsequent behaviour in the first place. One act flowed from the other, just like the expulsions of Germans from East Prussia and Silesia, many Serbs from the Krajina and Armenians from Azerbaijan.
    recedite wrote: »
    So maybe you think ethnic cleansing is a better solution to any such problems than redrawing national borders, but I can't agree with that myself.

    Re-drawing borders has usually ended up with ethnic cleansing, as in all the examples I mentioned and probably more.
    recedite wrote: »
    Another contemporary one would be the Rohingia being expelled from Burma. A better solution would have been to extend the border of Bangladesh further into Burma to incorporate the Muslim/Bengali villages into that country. But the alternative (ethnic cleansing) is easier and quicker to achieve.

    No the best alternative would be to treat the Rohynga as equals in Burma.


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