1. Catalonia is not… Ukraine
Following the latest events in Ukraine, the Spanish government was quick in seizing the chance to warn Catalans about the consequences of unilateral referenda on independence. Spain’s minister of foreign affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, said that he “condemned and considered illegitimate” the two referenda which were held in Donetsk and Luhansk during the weekend. When asked whether this could be extrapolated to the Catalan case, Margallo didn’t hesitate:
“[the events in Ukraine] are the evidence that a referendum that goes against a country’s internal Constitution can’t be accepted by the international legality. It is a general doctrine, applicable to any circumstance and place”
El Punt-Avui | García-Margallo declares the referenda in Ukraine “illegitimate and void” [in Catalan]
The Catalan government hit back with a rare press release in which it analysed the developments in Ukraine:
Government of Catalonia | Press release on the situation in Eastern UkraineAccording to this analysis, the Catalan authorities deny any legitimacy to the poll held in East Ukraine, and invite the actors involved to engage in a nation-wide dialogue to restore peace and end the conflict.
“[referenda in Ukraine] have been preceded by interference from a foreign country, acts of violence between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels in both regions, who also violently occupied government buildings. The improvisation of the administrative preparations for the vote, as well as the claims of numerous irregularities on the part of the electoral authorizes about the process demonstrate the total lack of transparency and guarantees for the celebration of these votes.”
On the other hand, one of Artur Mas’ aides at the Catalan government, Francesc Homs, was ironic when he commented on García-Margallo’s words:
Ara | Homs warns Margallo that comparing November 9 to Ukraine “hurts” Spain brand
“Catalonia doesn’t compare at all with Ukraine, we are categorical on asserting that, and the Spanish government should do likewise in the interest of Spain’s national brand”.
2. Opinion: Not Nationalist, Nor Identitarian
Renowned sociologist Salvador Cardús, professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, published an informative op-ed in which he describes what led to Catalonia’s current crisis and how it is not exactly a nationalistic movement but rather a political, bottom-up process which largely resulted from the disappointing failure by the Spanish institutions to accommodate a new and widely supported Catalan Statute of Autonomy in 2006:
La Vanguardia | Not Nationalists, nor Identitarian
“While up until 1979 we saw a culture of political resistance [in Catalonia], between 1980 and 2006 we could see a period of nationalist reconstruction. From 2007 on, a new phase was entered, featured by democratic normality and patriotism translated into what came to be known as the “right to decide”. […] The Catalan identity model is one of common project, aspiration, horizon, rather than one of preservation of a mythified past which wouldn’t be shared by a social majority which, on the other hand, does assume the will to decide on the future.”