Why I Think Brexit Makes Catalan Independence Less Likely ... For Now

Two weeks on from Brexit I wonder whether the Leave vote hasn't made Catalan independence less likely. It may provoke another Scottish referendum but the EU won't want to annoy Spain by supporting Catalonia.

I realise this might seem a pessimistic view but Brexit has been such an momentous event and its consequences will be very far-reaching that it's important to get the ideas down as they happen.

Please be aware that my opinion on this may change and that my fundamental view is that the EU is in urgent need of democratic reform.



Until very recently, I was incredibly pro-European. I've been able to live in Catalonia for the last 28 years without having to give up my British passport and as an EU citizen have enjoyed pretty much all the same rights as Spaniards.

Also as someone who strongly believes in the principle of the right to self-determination, I thought the natural way that things would develop would be towards a Europe of Nations, which would eventually lead to Catalonia becoming independent from Spain, whilst remaining in the EU.

However, events over the past few years, such as the Euro and refugee crises, made me a Eurocritic and the recent Brexit referendum has turned me into a fully-fledged Eurosceptic

Project Fear

Alarm bells began to sound quite early on in the campaign, when the Remain campaign started talking about the damaging effects that a Brexit would have on the UK economy. It was incredibly similar to the campaign that Spain has mounted against Catalan independence and was soon dubbed Project Fear by the Leave campaigners.

Inevitably, any change of status would result in a period of instability but real economic disaster would only come about if the EU, in the case of the UK, and Spain and the EU, in the case of Catalonia, were hellbent on trying to make the break up as difficult as possible.

The disastrous power vacuum in the UK government aside, it seems from the first noises being made, that the powers that be in the EU certainly aren't going to make things at all easy for Britain. I suppose I was naïve to think otherwise because the Commission and the Council are only too aware that treating the rebel UK too lightly might have a domino effect and lead to other countries holding similar referenda.

Scottish Independence

Another way of weakening the power and influence of the UK as a whole would be to encourage its break-up and given that both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to Remain within the EU, it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to think that the former might become independent and the latter might try to join the Republic to form a United Ireland.

In fact, the only politician to come out of the pathetic post-Brexit shambles was Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who quickly met with EU officials and made public the Scottish people's wish to remain within Europe.

Most of my Catalan friends seem to think that the possibility of another referendum on Scottish independence and the EU's immediate recognition of an independent Scottish state might help the Catalan cause but I beg to differ.

Europe of the Nation-States

As I mentioned before the last thing that the EU wants is to encourage any more Euroscepticism in any of the nation-states that currently comprise it.It would welcome Scotland breaking away because the UK has voted to Leave and the territorial loss would weaken Britain both morally and economically.

However, any recognition of Catalonia's right to decide would cause anger and resentment in Spain and almost certainly provoke Euroscepticism, a sentiment virtually non-existent amongst Spaniards at the moment.

Admittedly, Spanish provisional Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has already spoken out against a possible Scottish referendum but I'm sure a quiet word in his ear by an EU official would soon calm him down.

There's no way the EU as it stands would risk losing the support of 47 million Spaniards in order to give 7 million Catalans their democratic rights.This means that even if Catalonia managed to hold some kind of referendum or even make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, it would not become the Next European State.

If you stop and think about it, the EU has always said that that Catalonia is an internal Spanish problem and in the current political climate it has even more reasons to continue doing so.

The Shining Light of Democracy?

I wouldn't be too optimistic about the European Union's democratic principles if I were you. One of the thing's I've learnt throughout the Brexit campaign is how fundamentally democratic it is.Basically, unelected commissioners to the bidding of the governments of the most powerful member states.

The only hope we've got is that there is some serious reform of the EU and it magically bcomes democratic overnight and I can't see that happening at the moment.

So I'm sorry to disappoint you but sadly I think that this Brexit result will make an independent Catalonia less likely at least for now.

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