If Catalonia becomes independent, Spain will apply for EU membership

EPA-EFE/JOSE COELHO

An elderly man holds Spanish national flag during a rally called by the 'Societat Civil Catalana' (Civil Catalan Society) in downtown Barcelona, Spain, 08 October 2017. Their aim is to support the unity of Spain and its Constitution after the Catalan Independence Referendum held on 01 October which they claim was illegal.

If Catalonia becomes independent, Spain will apply for EU membership


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It goes without saying that Catalonia, as well as Galicia and Basque Country, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, must remain integral parts of Spain.

However, if any of them break away, their citizens should and must remain EU Citizens. The same holds true for Veneto, Lombardy, Bavaria, Corsica and for the Ionian Islands, which might consider joining the historic Republica Serenissima di Venezia, and the Flanders and God knows how many others could join the queue right out of the blue.

We must ensure the European Union stays united. This is the prime task of the European Institutions. And this is the case regardless of the number of EU members, 27 or 127. Because if we fail, Europe will be driven immediately back to the Middle Ages with feuds and city-states.

Not to mention the deadlocks the EU will need to address. Consider, for example, if the Flanders were to break away and the Belgians were to veto EU membership. Then, we would have the three cardinal European Institutions hosted by a non-member state and without the possibility to relocate them to another country because this is explicitly prohibited by the Treaty of Rome.

Indeed, no matter what regions democratically decide, and what they negotiate with their central governments, their status in the European Union must remain intact and free from any dispute. The more so that new countries will transpose to national law the existing laws and constitution. This is something elementary school-age children can understand. But not the “brains” at the European Commission.

In the case of Spain, there is one particularity. EU membership is based on two criteria: economy and rule of law. As for the latter, nothing will change for both Spain and Catalonia. However, as regards the economic criterion, by losing the income from Catalonia, Spain should probably renegotiate its staying in the Union.

Therefore, the European Commission should refrain from using the childish argument that Catalans will lose their “acquis” of being citizens of Europe. Instead, they should table a realistic proposal about how to keep Europe united, or they need to get the hell out of the way and let the politicians to do the job.

The matter is political, not technocratic, and Jean Claude Juncker, instead of being isolated in Berlaymont over the past six months, should be walking in the Ramblas and talking to ordinary people and to the local leaders with tapas and sangria. He should be explaining why they should stay in Spain.

At the same time, Juncker should be going back and forth to Palacio de la Moncloa to convince his friend Mariano Rajoy to make a generous financial concession to Catalonia. This is how to address the crisis.

If this were the case, our good President would have learned that, from the billions Spain collects from EU funds, Catalonia gets almost nothing. This explains why Catalans do not care for the European Union.

The European Union is all we have. It will be criminal to lose political control and drift back to the Middle Ages.

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