process stays on track
the 10th of October, the Catalan parliament has solemnly promised to realise the independence of Catalonia as soon as possible. The reaffirmation of the will to found a Catalan republic is a new victory for the European independence movements, but in the first place for the Catalan people.
We almost cannot estimate the huge amount of pressure that has been exercised on the Puigdemont-administration by the Spanish government and the European Union: they went from incomprehension over to intimidation, threatening with custody and even death threats. The Flemish Peoples Movement (VVB) finds these practices entirely inappropriate in the Europe of the twenty-first century. We still insist o
n our point of view which states that the decision of Puigdemont, not to declare the independence in a unabridged manner, is in no sense a surrender to these threats.
If we evaluate the condition on the political terrain in a stolid an serene manner, we can conclude that Catalonia is still on its way to an exit from Spain. After
, even the government of Rajoy is assessing the situation in
this way, as it spoke of an “implicit declaration of independence". In the roadmap to their independence, the Catalans have clearly stipulated the phases of the state-forming process. Watched closely by the international society, they wanted to avoid every appearance of revolution, unilateral separatism or chaos.
The by some labelled "vague" declaration of Puigdemont fits precisely in this picture: in an intelligent move, the Catalans have put the ball in the court of Madrid. Therefore they receive extra lever to draw their conclusions within several weeks, in a political manner as well as a matter of international law. Besides, they do away with the argument of the Spanish government which amplifies that in the European future of Catalonia, the republic will be an unworkable, unneeded and harmful structure.
Of course a lot of agreements will have to be made in response to the transition of Catalonia as a part òf Spain towards a neighbourship wíth Spain. The preparation of this will require time and solid international diplomatic relations. Spain now gets several weeks of time to accommodate further to the unavoidable and could work (without too much loss of face) towards forms of cooperation with Barcelona. Knowing Catalonia and its rulers, cooperation is a part of an arrangement which the Catalans will not run away from. However, for Barcelona, the “fait accompli” of the coming Catalan republic is clear. In an even decisive as and unabbreviated manner, Catalonia will push towards a direct voice in the EU institutions.
Do not be mistaken: it is Puigdemont who challenges Rajoy and not the way round.
Bart De Valck
President of the Flemish Peoples Movement (VVB)