As Catalan pro-independence actors –government and civil society alike– increase their lobbying efforts for the case for Catalan independence, Spain’s diplomatic corps are growing anxious. Embassies in Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy have publicly vowed to fight back.
“Catalonia’s vote was not constitutional“. This was the blunt title of the letter sent by the Spanish ambassador in London, Federico Trillo, to the editor of The Guardian. This former minister of defence didn’t take a previous editorial too well: in an op-ed published following Catalonia’s November 9 referendum, the English daily talked about “Spain’s mishandling” of the referendum, and warned that “Catalans, including some who wish to stay in Spain, want their vote, and they are going to get it”.
Mr. Trillo put forward the commonplace legalistic arguments, deriding the more than two million who took part in the vote, but failing to address The Guardian editorial staff’s main argument: that Spain had essentially pursued a foolish course –compared to that of Britain– by not allowing the vote to take place.
In denial: the Spanish embassy in Italy
Just a few days later, another incident by a different Spanish ambassador was illustrative of the current stalemate. As the Catalan government made preparations for the opening of a new official delegation in Rome, Italy, invitations to the Spanish authorities in the city were dispatched.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ambassador rejected the invitation. But his office did send something in return: a six-pages long document in which the Government informed organisers and participants of the opening ceremony about the “indissoluble unity” of Spain, stating that separatists don’t have the support of “more than 30% of the population” and warning that the “plebiscite election” put forward by the Catalan president Artur Mas also violate the Spanish constitution.
The news have been covered by Catalan and Italian media: