Spain

  • 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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  • The Catalonian Jigsaw: Where to Now?

    The controversial conditions surrounding Catalonia’s recent independence referendum show that a unilateral declaration of independence does not embody the will of the people, no matter how much Catalan nationalists claim otherwise. 

    Long-standing tensions between the Spanish government and the Spanish region of Catalonia rose to a climax on October 1 as Catalans went to the polls in an independence referendum deemed illegal by Spain’s constitutional court and the European Union. Rather than a clear mandate for Catalan independence, the referendum revealed a deeply divided society, and the lack of a clear and legal path to secession from Spain. 

    Voting statistics from the referendum indicate a lack of sweeping support for an independent Catalonia. Although two million Catalans backed independence, a larger majority (58 percent of those eligible to vote) did not participate...

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  • Castello Joins KQED Radio to Discuss Catalonia Independence Referendum


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  • Future Tense: What Next for Catalonia?

    Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum has left Spain with many unanswered questions and an unclear path forward, according to Carles Castello-Catchot, chief of staff in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

    On October 1, the regional government of Catalonia in northern Spain went ahead with a referendum that Spain’s constitutional court had deemed illegal. A majority of the 2.3 million people who voted in the referendum favored independence for Catalonia. The Catalan government has announced it will move forward with a declaration of independence forty-eight hours after the election.

    The competing narratives have left the country “in a legal black hole where everything is up for discussion,” Castello-Catchot said in a Facebook Live interview on October 2. 

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  • EU Membership on the Line: Independence Would Prove Costly for Catalonia

    Catalonia would lose membership of the European Union (EU) if it were to declare independence from Spain—a development that would have serious economic consequences for this affluent region, according to the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell.

    “That means barriers will go up immediately; no free movement for people who have Catalan passports; no free movement of goods of services to and from Catalonia; their relationship with the euro will be suspect, like Kosovo which uses the euro with no legal power to do so; there would be no common agricultural policy money for Catalonia,” said Burwell, painting a dire scenario that, she believes, has not been given adequate consideration in the Catalan people’s headlong rush toward independence.

    Noting that she has never seen a poll that shows Catalans want to leave the EU, Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, added: “The fact that we did not have a debate about what this actually means...

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  • Castello Joins Bloomberg’s El Financiero to Discuss the Secession Vote and Police Intervention in Catalunya


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  • Castello joins TV3 to Discuss the American Position Toward Conflict in Catalonia


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  • Transatlantic Security in a Trump Era

    Spanish foreign minister discusses the rise of populism, dealing with Vladimir Putin, and measuring defense expenditure

    The year 2016 has been a terrific one for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The rising tide of populism across Europe has brought to the forefront far-right populist leaders, in France and Germany, for example, who espouse pro-Russia rhetoric. The elections of Donald Trump in the United States and pro-Kremlin leaders in Moldova and Bulgaria have been...

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