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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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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On Legal Aspects of the Independence Referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan

In the referendum held on 25 September 2017, the voters of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG) went to the polls to decide whether they wanted an independent state. In this independence referendum, the voters were asked the following question: “Do you want the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Kurdistani territories that are outside KRI to become an independent state?” With a turnout around 72 %, more than 90% of the voters voted for independence. This note aims to provide a brief analysis on the legal nature of this referendum. For this purpose, I will first define the concept of the independence referendum in general and locate the Kurdish referendum within this concept. Then I will analyze the decision of the KRG to hold the independence referendum from both aspects of constitutional and international laws. 

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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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