Thursday

26th May 2016

EU commission: Catalonia must leave EU if it leaves Spain

  • Catalonia is set to hold a referendum for independence from Spain in 2014 (Photo: jordigll)

Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain hit another obstacle after the European Commission said any breakaway territory would not be part of the EU.

"If one part of a territory of a member state decides to separate, the separated part isn't a member of the European Union," the European Commission's Spanish vice-president, Joaquin Almunia, said on Monday (16 September) at a conference in Barcelona, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The secessionist movement in Spain’s wealthiest region gained momentum last week after a million people locked hands to form a 400km human chain on its "border" with Spain.

Some of the organisers called for a referendum while others demanded immediate independence.

The demonstration, held on Catalonia’s national day, was a symbolic reference to the 1989 Baltic Way 600km human chain which demanded independence from the Soviet Union.

But Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy rejected the proposals on the Catalan popular vote, noting that only Madrid can call for a referendum.

The region has pledged to hold a referendum in 2014 at the same time as Scotland votes on independence from the UK.

In an op-ed in the New York Times last week, Catalan president Artur Mas described Catalonia as a European Union partner for strengthened political unity, security and economic growth.

He said the region is bound to Spain through history and close family ties, but wants to have more control over its own economy, social services, and politics.

He noted that Catalonia pays out more on average than other regions to the central government but receives less public expenditure per capita in return.

The region fought for the Second Republic in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, but its defeat led to the Catalan language being outlawed under Francisco Franco’s 40-year military rule.

Catalonia's autonomy and language was not recognised again until 1978.

“Catalans are deeply pro-European and we do not imagine a future outside the European Union,” said Mas in the US op-ed.

Catalonia's pro-independence regional government economics secretary, Andreu Mas-Colell, who attended the Almunia conference, shared the sentiment.

He said Catalans belong inside Europe and that Alumnia’s statement is based on a strict legal reading.

Rajoy over the weekend in a letter to Mas said he is willing to meet with the pro-independence movement but only to discuss grievances not linked to the vote.

"The ties that bind us can't be untied without enormous affective, economic, political and social costs," said Rajoy in the letter, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  2. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  3. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  4. Innovators Under 35Meet MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Award Recipients from Belgium on 25 May, 6pm
  5. Open EuropeJoin the Brussels Brexit Debate on Wednesday, 25 May at 5:00 PM
  6. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  7. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  8. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  11. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan
  12. Belgrade Security ForumOpen Call for Applications! Join the Events Team at the 6th Belgrade Security Forum.

Latest News

  1. Greek debt deal doesn't solve the problem
  2. EU to relax online shopping, but not film or music
  3. European pioneers battle air pollution in the courts
  4. ECB: Populist surge is bad for business 
  5. EU states 'complicit' in Egypt repression
  6. Privacy whiz Max Schrems set to challenge other big firms
  7. 'Rude' ex-commissioner blanks MEPs' diesel probe
  8. EU and IMF agree debt relief for Greece