Spain

  • Parties Supporting Independence Win Slim Majority, But Catalonia’s Complex Stalemate Continues

    The outcome of yesterday’s regional elections in Catalonia reflects the electorate’s deep polarization on the issue of regional independence.

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  • Catalonia: Secession Recession?

    The region of Catalonia will hold critical elections on December 21. The stakes are high: the region unilaterally declared its independence on October 1 and subsequently saw the rule of its regional government suspended by Madrid’s central government pursuant to Article 155 of the Spanish constitution.

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  • Where to Now? A Discussion on Catalonia

    On November 30, 2017, the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative hosted an informative discussion on Catalonia’s bid for independence and upcoming elections on December 21. The session was led by the new Director of the Global Business and Economics Program, Bart Oosterveld. 

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  • Moscow’s Eye Turns South

    In November 2016, the Atlantic Council published the first volume of The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, detailing the extent of Russian-linked political networks in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. That report has since become a guide to those seeking to understand how the Kremlin cultivates political allies in Western European countries in order to undermine European consensus and sow divisions. In a new report, The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 2.0, we trace the extent of Russian political penetration in Europe’s southern flank—Greece, Italy, and Spain.

    These countries bore the brunt of Europe’s major crises in the last decade: the 2008 economic crisis and the 2015 refugee crisis. In the aftermath of the economic crisis, Greece, Italy, and Spain experienced...

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  • Spain's Crisis Sharpens

    The crisis in Spain dramatically escalated on October 27 with Catalonia’s regional parliament declaring independence and the Spanish Senate responding with the approval of unprecedented powers for Madrid to seize control of the autonomous region.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called an emergency cabinet meeting and could fire Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his ministers—he now has the power to do so under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution. Under these circumstances, the Spanish government would take control of Catalonia’s finances, police, and publicly owned media.

    “The question is going to be: how does the Spanish government implement Article 155 in the wake of the declaration of independence,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

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  • European Union Must Defuse Standoff Between Madrid and Catalonia

    The time has come for the European Union (EU) to push for a peaceful resolution to the standoff between Madrid and the Catalan separatists. It is highly unlikely that that the separatists will passively acquiesce to the central government’s move to curb Catalan autonomy under Article 155—triggered by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet on October 21—and the resulting scenario could involve much worse violence than was seen during the October 1 referendum. The EU must step in as a mediator, not to force its agenda on negotiations, but to maintain the peace and help restore credibility and trust between the sides. Otherwise, the Union risks the erosion of the values it purports to be built upon.

    The EU thus far has tried its best to distance itself from the Catalan situation, with European Council President Donald Tusk saying there is “no space...

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  • Another Independence Referendum in Catalonia?

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on October 21 announced his government’s intention to remove the leaders of Catalonia’s regional government and called for elections to be held as soon as possible.

    “By deciding to hold elections in Catalonia, the Spanish government is essentially calling a repeat referendum on independence in an extremely polarized situation,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “Whether that election will have any credibility—despite its legality—will depend on which parties participate, whether activists are released from jail, and whether the true costs of independence—which will be severe—can be debated in a rational manner,” she added.

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  • Castello Joins VOA to Discuss the Catalan Separatist Movement


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  • In Catalonia, a ‘Coup d’État Masquerading as a Referendum’

    Catalonia’s illegal independence referendum has thrown Spain into turmoil.

    In light of the escalating tensions, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is now toying with the idea of invoking the never-before-used Article 155 of the Spanish constitution that would suspend Catalonia’s regional autonomy. With a view to taking such action, Rajoy on October 11 asked the region’s leaders whether they had formally declared independence from Spain.

    The confusion stems from the words and actions of Catalonia’s leaders. On October 10, Carles Puigdemont, president of the government of Catalonia, signed a declaration of independence. Further, in a speech to the Catalan parliament Puigdemont declared independence from Spain;...

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  • The Only Thing Catalonia and Crimea Have in Common Is the Letter C

    A Bloomberg piece in October titled “Why Catalonia Will Fail Where Crimea Succeeded” by Russian writer Leonid Bershidsky is an example of moral equivalence run amok.

    He compares two completely unrelated events—referenda in Crimea and Catalonia—as though they bear any similarity, and as though they carry the same moral weight.

    “The Catalan situation draws comparisons with that in Crimea in 2014, and they are not as easy to dismiss as Catalan independence supporters might think,” he wrote.

    Yes they are.

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