The Sad Future of Catalonia

In some conflicts, you don’t need to pick a side. Because sometimes, both sides are wrong. Between the Catalan and the Spanish governments, it’s impossible to keep tabs on who has committed more grave mistakes.

Even for supporters of self-determination, it’s hard to take the Catalan independence referendum seriously because its proponents didn’t have any plan for the day after. They blatantly mislead Catalans about the prospect of remaining in the EU, which shows complete ignorance about how the EU – or indeed any international body – works.

If a member state of the EU could split in two and then have two seats and votes in the Council of the European Union, then what’s to prevent Germany from splitting into two again? Or France into 100 regions in order to gain a super-majority in the EU?

That’s not how international law works. Countries as political entities are members of the EU, not a certain stretch of land. If you leave that country, you are out. If, on the other hand, a country grows, it doesn’t require a new application for membership, as seen after German reunification in 1990. [Hint for Romania and Moldova. ;-)]

Second, as anyone can look up in the EU Treaty, admission of a new member requires unanimous consent of all existing members. Unanimous! Yes, that includes Spain. Even before the central government unleashed Inquisition 2.0 in Catalonia, nobody could have expected Spain to consent. Any such hope is naive. Just ask Kosovo.

But things can get even more depressing from Catalonia’s viewpoint. Because there is a village in Greece which is also called Katalonia.

Katalonia greek

As the Republic of Macedonia can tell you, Greece won’t allow anyone into the EU as long as they have a name that resembles that of any Greek region, district, county, city, village or restaurant. (Greece even refuses academic ties with the University of Georgia because it’s in a town called Athens.)

So if – and that’s a big if – an independent Catalonia were ever to advance in EU membership talks, it couldn’t do so under the name of Catalonia. It would either need to resort to an ancient name like Aragon, but that sounds too much like Lord of the Rings, doesn’t it? Or like Macedonia, the new entity would be known under an abbreviation. FACOC for Former Autonomous Community of Catalonia is almost as catchy as FYROM.


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Europe, Greece, Language, Macedonia, Politics, Spain and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Sad Future of Catalonia

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    Real estate seems to be a perpetual flashpoint across the world. Catalonia, Scotland, Kashmir, and many other perhaps lesser known ones. While everyone should have a right to self-determination, it can be chaotic to keep making newer and newer nations. Will each individual be a separate nation eventually?

    • I think your last question leads to an important point. I, for once, don’t really care much about which country I live in or what citizenship I have, as long as I have personal freedoms. Now I live in Germany, but if tomorrow Bavaria were to become part of Austria or Italy or France, I wouldn’t really mind because they all grant the same level of personal and political freedom.

  2. Conrad says:

    Aragon wins me

    • It´s nice name, but Catalans don´t have a right to use it really. They used to be a part of the Kingdom of Aragon, but that´s about it;)

      • They just need to be the first ones to declare independence with it and they win. There is no more King of Aragon who could sue them. (As far as I know.)

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