Apart from the migration crisis, still unfinished Greek economic recovery, possibility of Brexit and other very difficult challenges, the EU is likely to face another. Catalonian regional elections, hailed as independence referendum by some, ended with a resounding, yet inconclusive victory of the separatists. The separatist alliance led by Artur Mas won the elections, but came short of outright majority. Another separatist movement, the left hardliners, also won some seats. These two political actors, even though they are politically very distant, share the independence goal and could thus form a governing coalition. However, even if the results give the pro-independence parties a majority in the regional parliament, their overall support was 47% at a surprisingly high turnout of 77%. The symbolic referendum, as some tried to present the elections, was thus not in favor of secession. This inconclusive result could lead to instability. Central government will oppose any separatist move, even by force. Spanish judiciary is also active in prosecuting last year´s informal independence vote in Catalonia – Artur Mas faces charges for disobeying the constitutional court´s ban and could be punished. All of this instability is bad news for Spain, which still faces tough economic challenges and very high unemployment. It is not good news for the EU, which declined to comment this internal member state business, either.
20th February 2019
25th January 2019