Catalonia: Pandora’s box

There are growing concerns among Spain’s EU partners that the Catalan secessionist drive will lead to a disintegration of Europe

The secessionist adventure upon which the Catalan government and part of the regional parliament have embarked upon has consequences that transcend Spanish borders and that, with good cause, are generating deep concerns among Spain’s European partners.

Although the Catalan authorities are presenting their challenge to the Spanish state as a festive adventure, with a happy ending guaranteed, outside of Spain they are being perceived as acting irresponsibly and imprudently by manipulating a Pandora’s box that Europe has spent centuries trying to close, at the cost of huge suffering, and one that no one wants to see reopened.

The project to reinstate the medieval map of the Iberian peninsula will have a negative effect 

With every day that passes, European political chiefs are clearer than ever that the pro-independence project to reinstate the medieval map of the Iberian peninsula is going to negatively affect them. They rightly feel that Catalonia will be the forerunner of a divisive movement, one that runs against the efforts of unification that have guaranteed social well-being and peace in Europe after the end of World War II, a conflict that was precisely caused by the victory of irredentist nationalism.

That is how current European Union leaders have interpreted the situation, as well as prominent political figures who have contributed to its construction. As the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, wrote in the pages of this newspaper – and who was speaking from the European left – it would be absurd from a historical point of view to enter into a phase of secession and disintegration in the 21st century.

From the Balkans, where the wounds of the terrible war that was waged after the breakup of former Yugoslavia could be reopened, reviving border wars, to the Baltics and Ukraine, where Russia has displayed time and again its desire for revenge after having lost its area of influence, the illegal and destructive Catalan path being taken toward independence is being observed with great attention.

It would be absurd to enter into a phase of secession and disintegration in the 21st century Joschka Fischer, former German foreign minister

The constant agitation coming from Russia, which is patent in the activities of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Russian troll farms, the statements made by Putin blaming the EU for the situation in Catalonia and criticizing its support for an independent Kosovo, and the recent visit from the leaders of South Ossetia, on an invitation from the pro-independence movement, in order to strengthen relations with the secessionist process, reveal with complete clarity who is fostering the chaos being sown by the Catalan sovereignty drive – and how they hope to benefit from it.

The European Union took the nation-states as a foundation to build a structure that outweighed them at the same time as it guaranteed plurality and identity. Destroying one of these states – as a hypothetical independent Catalonia would do – is a lethal blow not just for Spain, but also for all of Europe. The pro-independence forces should not be surprised if instead of solidarity, all they generate in the rest of Europe is anxiety and concern.

English version by Simon Hunter.

More information