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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The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 2: A Full-Blown Constitutional Crisis for Spain

In Part 1, we have explained the rigidity of the constitutional doctrine of our Constitutional Court on the matter of regional independence movements. There are some evident conclusions that swiftly appear – most of all that the only legal  way for a hypothetical majority of Catalan citizens to express their wish to secede or at least to consult with the population on the issue, would presuppose a constitutional reform. This is a tremendously complicated matter in itself, though.

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The Catalunya Conundrum, Part 1: How Could Things Come to Such a Pass?

In a three-piece series of blog posts, I will focus on three issues: the different attempts made in recent years by Catalan secessionists parties trying to find a lawful way to ask the population about the independence of Catalonia and Spanish legal system’s responses blocking them; how this gridlock has led to a constitutional crisis in Spain and what could be possible solutions; and finally why concerns about the Spanish authorities’ reaction may be well founded, thus creating a potential conflict at the European level.

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The Catalan Self-Determination Referendum Act: A New Legal Order in Europe

The Catalan Parliament is taking the secession process to the next level. By illegitimately passing two Acts that constitute a Catalan proto-constitution, a constitutional coup d’état and a new legal order are on their way.

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