Wednesday

8th Feb 2023

Catalonia: 1.6mn vote for independent state

Over 1.6 million Catalans voted in favour of independence on Sunday (9 November) in an informal poll.

More than 80 percent of the 2 million people that cast a vote in the consultation, answered Yes to both questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state? If so, do you want this state to be independent?”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The vote looked official, but was non-binding and dubbed illegal by Spanish courts (Photo: Jordi Boixareu)

Another 10 percent said they wanted Catalonia to be a state but remain part of Spain, while 4.5 percent voted No to both questions.

But the vote was non-binding after Spain's constitutional court forbade Catalonia to hold a formal referendum.

Sunday's vote was also illicit after the court calls for its suspension pending an analysis on whether it breached the Spanish constitution.

Meanwhile, many Catalans who are against independence stayed at home, and there was no coherent No campaign.

With a turnout of 2 million people, the vote shows a substantial portion of the Catalans had the will to express themselves on the future of their region.

Because the vote was informal, it is difficult to determine what the official voter turnout percentage will be. But Spanish daily El Pais estimated 32.8 percent.

The result of the poll will strengthen the independence movement in Catalonia and the call for an official referendum down the line.

Catalan president Artur Mas called the vote a “success” and said the independence movement made a “giant step” towards a binding referendum.

The result shows “Catalonia wants to govern itself”, he noted, according to Spanish media.

He announced that he will explain on Tuesday (11 November) what next steps the movement will take. He also called on Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy to organise a referendum.

At the same time in Madrid, justice minister Rafael Catala called Sunday's vote “useless”.

“The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organised by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity”, he said in a statement.

The European Commission, for its part, said the vote was an internal matter. “It is not the role of the commission to express an opinion” on the poll, said spokesperson Margaritas Schinas.

The vote was organised by about 40,000 volunteers.

It came after the recently-held independence referendum in Scotland which saw Scots choose to remain part of the UK.

Defiant Catalonia holds independence poll

Catalans go to ballot boxes on Sunday to declare if they want Catalonia to be an independent state, despite the vote being suspended twice by Spanish courts.

Magazine

Separatism: Making Europe stronger?

The 2014 edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine looks at separatist movements across Europe and its impact on the union.

Scotland chooses to stay in UK

Voters in Scotland have said No to independence from the UK, but the intense campaigning and record-high turnout are models for separatist movements elsewhere in Europe.

Opinion

Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'

The scars of Brexit have left their mark in communities across Wales. The Menai mussel industry has experienced a sharp decline having once been a staple in fish counters and restaurants across Europe; its business model wrecked by post-Brexit rules.

Column

Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue

All member states complain about European compromises, each for their own reasons. Nevertheless, these decisions tend to be robust precisely because there is enough in them for everybody. And nobody wants to start negotiating all over again for another deal.

Latest News

  1. Polish MEP also went on freelance Azerbaijan trip
  2. Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue
  3. Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'
  4. MEPs to vote on risky 'hydrogen for home heating' rule
  5. The man who won't stop filing info requests until every EU doc is public
  6. EU hands Libya coast guard boats ahead of migration summit
  7. Eleven suicides daily — Spain's not-so-silent pandemic
  8. The return of Lula means now is the time for EU-Mercosur deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEU Social Dialogue review – publication of the European Commission package and joint statement of ETUFs
  2. Oxfam InternationalPan Africa Program Progress Report 2022 - Post Covid and Beyond
  3. WWFWWF Living Planet Report
  4. EFBWWEFBWW Executive Committee report on major abuses, labour crime and subcontracting
  5. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  6. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us