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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The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

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Five Variables of a Catalan Referendum on Independence

On 9 June 2017 the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, announced a referendum on Catalan independence. The Catalan thrive for independence in the current political and legal situation is not easy to grasp. Five variables are essential to discuss the potential success of such a referendum.

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The Spanish Constitutional Court on the Path of Self-Destruction

Recently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has published one more decision in application of the new reform of the Law on Constitutional Court which increased its powers for the execution of its own decisions. It is clear that Catalonian sovereignist politicians are acting irresponsibly and provoking the Spanish powers. The only good way to answer to this challenge is a balanced and neutral response of the Constitutional Court every time they adopt an illegal act. Instead, the Court assumed a political role. He tries to stop even any talk about independence. By doing so, it fails to respect its own role as keeper of a Constitutional framework where very diverse ideologies can be discussed.

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Damaging the Legitimacy of the Spanish Constitutional Court

The Spanish legislative burdens the Constitutional Court with the task to prevent Catalonia from pursuing independence. To use the Constitutional Court as the main barricade against any attempt at starting the independence process does tremendous damage to the Court itself as it undermines its perception as neutral arbiter and, thereby, its legitimation.

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The Catalan Secessionist Movement and Europe – Remarks on the Venice Commission’s Opinion 827/2015

The Venice Commission has issued an opinion on a Spanish statute on the Constitutional Court’s authority. This statute is to be read as a concrete response to the Catalan secessionist movement. The Commission now reveals the European perspective on it…

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Catalonian Independentism, the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Perils of the Middle Way

The Spanish Law 15/2015 (Organic Law) was a key element of the last Government of Mariano Rajoy in his fight against Catalonian Independentism. It gives the Spanish Constitutional Court a new executive power to suspend temporally a democratic authority if it does not obey a Constitutional Court’s resolution. A recent decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court has validated the Bill on the idea that the Court must have special deference to the legislature whenever the judgment is on the statute that regulates the jurisdiction of Court. The Court solves the dispute without a deep discussion on the merits. Once again the Spanish Court leaves a feeling of intellectual fragility.

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