1. European think tanks hard at work on Catalan & Scottish independence

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

The issue of breakaway nations in Europe is raising more and more interest among scholars and think tanks across the continent. While European institutions keep the debate at arm’s length (ACN | European Commission is “very much listening” to Catalans but avoids commenting on turnout and results), non-governmental organisations have started discussing what would happen in the event of a country splitting from a member state.

Such is the case of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), a political think tank linked to the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) which has just published the report Katalonien: Geld oder Identität? [pdf]. This study analyses the recent events in Catalonia, and concludes that preservation of the status quo is improbable. Ara looked into it:

Ara | German study finds continuation of Catalonia within Spain unlikely
“[Study shows that] Catalan independence debate has reached an irreversible and difficult-to-solve point, due to “the polarization” into “two nationalisms that provoke each other”.

According to this study, the two possible resolutions (a negotiated independence like the secession of Czechoslovakia or a constitutional reform that gives Catalonia more autonomy) are improbable due to the radicalization of supporters and opponents of independence.”

On the other hand, the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based think tank, recently published another study focusing on Scotland and EU membership: Could an independent Scotland join the European Union? [pdf]. The Herald of Scotland reported:

Herald Scotland |Experts predict nation would stay in EU
“Scotland would stay in the EU after independence because much of the continent would face a “legal nightmare” if it did not, according to a leading Brussels think tank.

The European Policy Centre reckons member states would accept the SNP’s proposed but controversial fast-track re-entry to avoid their citizens and firms losing their rights in the newly created state. Its expert Graham Avery […] suggested the realpolitik was such that membership or a temporary special relationship was assured. Prof Avery said: “From a practical point of view, no member state has a material interest in Scotland remaining outside the EU, even for a short time.”