Democratic device and territorial integration: the results and penalties of Catalonia’s quest for independence

Democratic device and territorial integration: the results and penalties of Catalonia’s quest for independence

Catalonia sequence

Writer: Ana Carmona Contreras, Complete Professor of Constitutional Legislation, College of Seville

This weblog is a part of a sequence at the home political implications and global echoes of the independence bid in Catalonia. The sequence is a collaboration between the Centre on Constitutional Trade and the Institute for Comparative Federalism at EURAC Analysis in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy.  

Nearly 5 years have handed because the secession referendum in Catalonia, the unilateral declaration of independence and the next transient suspension of its self-government throughout the software of Article 155 of the Spanish Charter. Even if the results of the Catalan sovereignty problem have attenuated with time, they continue to be related in each the social and institutional spheres of our nation. 

The Catalan struggle divided Catalan society between supporters and fighters of independence. In the remainder of Spain, the independence procedure generated a being concerned adversarial response, reinforcing the normal thought of Spain. The secessionist disaster has additionally fostered intense polarization of politics and birthday party festival, reputedly making political compromise a venture unattainable. At the one aspect, there are national events (equivalent to PSOE or PP), continuously referred to as “constitutionalist” political forces which nonetheless care for opposing perspectives of the Catalan struggle. At the different aspect are the “pro-independence” or “pro-sovereignty” teams, each in Catalonia and in different ‘historical nationalities’, together with within the Basque Nation.

The procès – the time period hooked up to the tendencies surrounding the ‘proper to make a decision’ on Catalonia’s constitutional long run – additionally included a very powerful judicial side, since numerous independentist leaders (those that didn’t flee Spain) have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted for the crimes of sedition and embezzlement of public finances. The trial prior to the Ideally suited Court docket added a very powerful part of anxiety no longer best within the political area but in addition amongst a wide sector of Catalan society which, even if no longer favouring independence, expressed its rejection of the legal complaints towards the pro-independence leaders. 

Definitely, the central authorities’s determination to pardon the ones convicted once they had served a number of years in jail had a politically soothing impact, considerably lowering the struggle inherent to this measurement of the struggle. The judicial entrance, then again, isn’t definitively closed. Carles Puigdemont, the previous president of Catalonia presiding over the 2017 referendum, in addition to different contributors of his authorities who fled Spain, would most likely face trial in the event that they have been to go back, and lots of different much less notable figures proceed to stand prosecution.

The disruptive results of those tendencies are far-reaching, and may also be observed within the vicissitudes of the case within the courts on the Ecu stage. The quite a lot of Ecu arrest warrants issued by means of the Spanish Ideally suited Court docket for the give up of the fugitive leaders led, after the final refusal, to the submission of a initial query to the Court docket of Luxembourg. The Ecu Parliament needed to acknowledge Mr. Puigdemont’s standing as an MEP in software of the verdict of the CJEU within the Junqueras case. If so, the Court docket dominated that an individual elected to the Ecu Parliament acquires the standing of MEP on the time of the professional declaration of the consequences and enjoys, from that point, the immunities hooked up to that standing. 
Alternatively, Puigdemont’s immunity was once waived by means of the EP after having won the request offered by means of the Spanish Ideally suited Court docket, a call that has been appealed prior to the CJEU. In relation to home politics, the location of the previous president casts a very powerful shadow of anxiety over the present authorities of Catalonia, made up of a coalition of 2 pro-independence events, one in all which continues to be led by means of Puigdemont. 

We’re confronted, then, with a very complicated landscape which, as indicated above, items considerably decrease ranges of anxiety in comparison to the ones present on the top level of the struggle, however which nonetheless requires responses from the Spanish political-institutional device. On this sense, the secessionist disaster of 2017 reawakened a topic with lengthy historic trajectory – the are compatible of Catalonia inside Spain. This lay dormant for a number of a long time within the framework of a a hit technique of decentralization, however has now re-emerged with a vengeance. Getting out of this intricate labyrinth, subsequently, is an onerous topic that calls for a great deal of dedication and ability by means of the events concerned. 

Assuming that it isn’t imaginable to pray away the need for independence, which continues to experience really extensive toughen in Catalan society, the Spanish authorities has introduced the problem of Catalonia’s standing to a “discussion desk” – a bilateral discussion board created to foster discussions between the Spanish and Catalan governments. Despite the fact that the discussion board was once convened best two times in a yr and a part, the actual fact that the discussion commenced is in itself an fulfillment. This overture recovers the worth of politics, a component that was once lacking within the secessionist disaster, when the one argument put ahead by means of the central Government was once the main of legality.

In keeping with this idea, we should draw consideration to the prison trail that may increase the discussion board for discussion, because the Charter is the body of reference that delimits its motion. What must be emphasised is that, past a hypothetical (and politically unattainable) constitutional reform, there are areas to succeed in a greater lodging of Catalonia inside Spain. That is the case with the device of independent financing, which has no longer been renewed for greater than a decade. In its present configuration, it does no longer reply to truth and obviously penalizes the pursuits of a few Independent Communities, together with particularly Catalonia.

In regards to the distribution of powers, the Constitutional Court docket’s ruling 31/2010 declared sure provisions of the Catalan Statute unconstitutional on formal grounds.  This incorporated, for instance, the legislation of the Independent Communities’ participation in EU affairs. Even if the Court docket famous that the Statute of Autonomy was once no longer the suitable path for such adjustments, a fertile house can confide in recuperate a few of these provisions in other kinds. Likewise, even though with an eminently symbolic price, the implementation of a technique of deconcentration of institutional headquarters, lately positioned in Madrid, may well be thought to be, taking them to different territories, together with Catalonia.

So far as the Catalan pro-independence forces are involved, particularly the ones with authorities tasks inside the Generalitat (the Catalan authorities), a considerable level of realism is wanted. Opinion polls point out that they don’t have the backing of a transparent majority of Catalans to pursue the rupture with Spain. Whilst adhering to the chant of the precise to self-determination and amnesty for the “political” prisoners of the procès, Esquerra Republicana, lately the biggest pro-independence birthday party in authorities, agreed to be a part of the discussion discussion board with the Spanish authorities. This on no account promises that the discussion will lead to considerable development. Even so, those are hopeful steps towards reconciliation.


Ana Carmona Contreras is a Complete Professor of Constitutional Legislation on the College of Seville. This weblog is a part of a brand new sequence at the home political implications and global echoes of the independence bid in Catalonia. The sequence is a collaboration between the Centre on Constitutional Trade and the Institute for Comparative Federalism at EURAC Analysis in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy.

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Photograph by means of koby ツ on Unsplash.

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