Impact on Issues

 ➂  Catalonia vs Spain

 ➁ Secessions and deep changes of nations within the EU… and globally

Should Madrid be conciliant, the way Catalonia offered to operationalise the independence it declared could be stabilising. It is however unlikely events will unfold that simply and peacefully, considering Spain position on 10 October evening.

A lull or rather repeat of the 10 October and 11 October morning events was created by Spanish President of Government Rajoy following the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Catalonia Independence held on 11 Oct 2017. Mr Rajoy asked Catalonia to end uncertainty and make clear if Catalonia had or not declared independence. He stressed the Spanish government’s wish for a return to legality and normality, however also wielding the threat of Spanish Constitution art. 155 (the art. by which Spain can take over the governance of Catalonia and thus suspend Catalonia autonomy).

As a result, although it seemed clear from the 10 October elements (see detail below) that Catalonia had declared independence,  uncertainty was reintroduced…. until the next declaration by Catalonia.

We may surmise that Madrid understood very clearly Catalonia’s position, or they would not have convened the extraordinary meeting. However, considering the possible dire consequences, they decided to surf on the general confusion spread by the media to give Catalonia what they could see as a second chance to give up independence.

The likelihood to see Catalonia standing up to its prior declaration seems to be higher than the probability to see it bow. However, Catalonia’s leaders are also subjected to an enormous pressure from all actors. This is why scenarios are the best means to navigate political and geopolitical uncertainties, because they allow to plan for the whole range of possibilities and not to become prey to an impossible “game of prediction”.

10 October 2017 signals

Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont indeed declared Independence on 10 October 2017 at the end of his speech to the Catalonia Parliament, Catalonia becoming a republic:

The declaration of independence is confirmed by the signature of the Declaration of the Representatives of Catalonia that followed according to which:

“Catalonia restores today its full sovereignty…

We call on all states and international organizations to recognize the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state. We call on the Catalan government to take all necessary measures to make possible and fully effective this declaration of independence and the measures contained in the transition law that founds the republic.”

Catalan leader signs document declaring independence from Spain

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and other regional politicians signed a document declaring Catalonia’s independence from Spain, but it was unclear if the document would have any legal value.

There, notably, the international part of state legitimacy is sought, which according to existing declarations by international governments Catalonia is, right now, not likely to obtain easily.

After the initial declaration, President Puigdemont also called to suspend the effects of the declaration to open a period of dialogue:

This is nothing else than common sense and governance. Indeed, only a bad ruler – and ignorant individuals – could believe that a proper independence could practically become operational in the blink of an instant, without working out constructively and peacefully (ideally) how separation could take place, not only at all levels of state administration but also in terms of infrastructures for example. This shows thus not indecisiveness but practicality and resolve, as well as a will to implement independence as well and as peacefully as possible.

Madrid, however, is unlikely to accept the independence and its peaceful implementation through negotiations as indicated by Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria 10 October evening speech (Official Transcript of Vice President Soraya Saenz de Santamaria Speech – 10 October 2017). Then, she notably announced that the President of the Government had convened an extraordinary Council of Ministers on 11 October at 9:00am to deal with the situation in Catalonia.

The decision of Madrid at the issue of the Council should have determined how events would unfold next, towards further escalation or stabilisation, had a second round of declarations not been decided by President of Government Rajoy.