Monday

4th Jul 2022

Catalonia to play bigger role in Spanish EU affairs

  • Catalonia faces stronger powers on EU affairs as a region - but only within Spain (Photo: EUobserver)

Once Catalonia's new autonomy statute comes into force the region will be playing a bigger role in Spain's dealings with the EU, with some fearing even greater difficulty to reach decisions at the European level.

If all goes according to plan, Catalonia will have its first new statute of autonomy in 27 years in a few days, after 74 percent of voters said 'yes' on Saturday (18 June) to a revised and more far-reaching statute of the region.

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

"It is a legal instrument to help us talk better with other regions and the EU institutions," said Cristina Colom of the Patronat Catala Pro Europa, which deals with the Catalan government's EU affairs and represents Catalonia in Brussels.

The new statute will replace the current one from 1979 when Spain was still adjusting to democracy and still not a member of the EU.

One of the main EU-related points to come into force under the new statute is that Spain cannot deal with the EU without informing the Catalan government.

Catalonia can also actively participate at EU level decision-making with Spanish representatives on matters concerning the region, such as agriculture, environment and consumer protection.

'More complicated'

On top of this, Barcelona will under the new agreement be able to distribute structural funds across the region received from Brussels.

"Everything will be much more complicated and more expensive," said Spanish centre right MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras from Barcelona.

"The Spanish government will become much more [limited] by this," he added.

Carlos Buhigas of the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels said the statute "poses some questions with regards to the role of regions in Europe."

"Regions do not have power in the EU, but that doesn't mean that they don't have de facto power," he said.

Brussels and Barcelona

However, Mr Buhigas was wary about Europe's 254 regions having more of a say when trying to reach agreement at the EU level. "We already have difficulties with 25 member states", he pointed out.

Ms Colom agreed that more powerful regions will mean more views and a greater effort to find consensus but stressed that "it will help citizens to understand what is going on and also help them have a say on what is going on at EU level."

"They will feel a little more as part of the EU," Ms Colom added.

The European Commission stated that the Catalan statute of autonomy does not change anything between Barcelona and Brussels.

"It only changes things between Barcelona and Madrid," said spokeswoman Ana-Paula Laissy. She said the commission will continue to negotiate with national representatives and if a national government says we should negotiate with regional representatives, then we will do that," she said.

Opinion

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

Opinion

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us