On Cockroaches and the Rule of Law

As I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. Like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, I had mutated into an enormous and abominable cockroach with no prior warning. It just happened. As I woke up, I could feel how my new legs and antennae moved with sinuous speed. Then I knew what I really had become. I had muted into a Spanish fascist.

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Still not a Dictatorship: Spanish Law and Judiciary in Times of Constitutional Crisis

I write these lines after Carles Puigdemont, the deposed Catalan President, and part of his Government have fled to Brussels to evade Spanish justice, after eight ex-Consellers of the Government have been sent to pre-trial detention without bail, and after the appeal from the incarcerated presidents of two civil pro-independence associations ANC and Omnium to be released on conditional parole after 18 days of detention has been rejected. The scenario is terrible, also for those of us that believe that the only possible solution for this crisis is by political negotiation, and it could have been avoided. That being said – the assertion that Spain has turned into a repressive state or even a dictatorship is utterly groundless.

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Catalonia and Spain: A View from the Future Past

I am not suggesting Spain and Catalonia are headed for the same result as Yugoslavia and its republics. The conditions necessary for such a confrontation are simply not present. At the same time, the similarities do suggest danger of further escalation, with the possibility of unrest that should be taken seriously.

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The Spanish Constitutional Crisis: Law, Legitimacy and Popular Sovereignty in Question

The Spanish constitutional crisis is escalating, and it has now – finally – found broader attention, thanks to the referendum on 1 October and the violence of the Spanish police trying to prevent it from being held. Still, much confusion reigns on how to approach the crisis, apart from the obvious condemnation of the human rights violations during the referendum and in the weeks leading up to it. Having been a close observer of the unfolding crisis for the last decade, here some attempts at clarification.

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Catalan secessionism faces the European Union

Catalan secessionists have constructed a hypothetical place for an independent Catalonia within the EU on the basis of three explicit assumptions.1)See on this issue Carlos Closa (ed.) Secession from a Member State and Withdrawal from the European Union;Troubled Membership, Cambridge University Press 2017 They assume, firstly, that the EU will treat their demands sympathetically. This […]

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Homage to Catalonia: How to Lift the Gridlock of Constitutional Crisis in Spain

83 years after the first proclamation of a Catalan State, Catalonia seems once again to be on the verge of unilaterally declaring its independence, giving cause to a grave constitutional crisis in Spain. Although, until now, the intransigence of both sides has led to this gridlock, there is always space for a compromise that could de-escalate the crisis. However, such compromise should be characterised by a number of principles that could help the two sides present the future agreement as a win-win situation.

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Sozusagen ein Referendum: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 2

Niemand kann mehr sagen, was das Recht ist in Katalonien. So ist das bei Revolutionen: Das alte Recht gilt nicht mehr, das neue noch nicht. Es gilt, was sich am Ende effektiv durchsetzt. Die spanische Regierung, da sind sich alle meine Gesprächspartner einig, hat mit den hässlichen Bildern von Polizeiknüppeln und Platzwunden gestern eine schwere Niederlage erlitten. Aber wer am Ende gewinnt, ist damit noch längst nicht raus.

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Die unmögliche Revolution: Bericht aus Barcelona, Teil 1

Dies ist keine Stadt in Aufruhr, ganz im Gegenteil. Niemand in den Menschenschlangen vor den Wahllokalen hat Angst. Von der Zukunft, wie das tatsächlich werden wird ohne Madrid und so ganz auf sich gestellt, davon ist kaum die Rede. Die EU-Mitgliedschaft, die rechtlichen und wirtschaftlichen Folgen, das wird dann schon werden. Es sind die gut Ausgebildeten, die sich einreihen in die Schlange, die Bessergestellten, die Alteingesessenen, die sich nicht zu fürchten brauchen (glauben). Sie freuen sich. Und vor allem: sie wollen wählen. Die Frage ist: mit welchem Recht? Und mit welchen Folgen?

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The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 3: Protecting the Constitution by Violating the Constitution

Lacking legitimacy in Catalonia because of the absence of solutions to Catalan democratic claims within the Spanish legal framework, the position of Spanish institutions is badly weakened. Therefore, they do not to want to take the risk of creating even more political unrest in Catalonia with public and explicit debates on the suspension of autonomy or on the necessity of limiting fundamental rights. Instead, Spanish government is pushing other institutions, such as the Constitutional Court, prosecutors, police and judges, as well as their own executive powers, beyond their ordinary limits.

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