The European Commission is “aware” of Barcelona’s demonstration supporting Catalonia’s independence
However, the Commission also clarified Barroso’s words from late August. A Commission Spokesman said hours before the kick off of the independence demonstration that in the case of secession from Spain, Catalonia would no longer be part of the EU. A negotiation process to join the EU would be required. However, other EU sources stated that the hypothetical new state may have the same benefits of a “transitional” member. They also added that the accession process would be “faster and easier”. Catalan citizens have been net contributors to the EU for decades and are currently considered European Citizens, but this is “additional”, according to Barroso.
Brussels (ACN.) - The European Commission stated hours before the start of the demonstration supporting Catalan independence from Spain that in case of secession, Catalonia would no longer be part of the European Union. Firstly, the EU spokesman Olivier Bailly stated that the Commission is \u201Caware\u201D of the independence demonstration in Barcelona. After this, the EC immediately clarified Barroso\u2019s words from late August, now stating that Catalonia\u2019s independence is purely a Spanish internal issue and they \u201Chave nothing to do with it\u201D. Bailly pointed out that \u201Cthere is no provision in the European treaties for the secession of a region from an existing member state\u201D. However, he was clear that the process would put Catalonia out of the EU and to be part of it again, a specific negotiation would have to take place. \u201CThere are two different steps. The process of secession under international law and a request to join the EU as a member state in accordance with EU treaties\u201D, said Bailly at a press conference in Brussels. However, European sources have indicated that the process could be \u201Cfaster and easier\u201D than the process for other states that have not been part of the EU. Catalonia has traditionally been the most pro-European part of Spain. Furthermore, Catalan citizens have been net contributors to the EU budget for decades, since Catalonia is among the richest regions in the EU, with a GDP the size of Portugal. On top of this, Catalans have already adapted all their laws to EU legislation, they have the Euro, and have already enjoyed the European Citizenship; a citizenship that according to Barroso is \u201Cadditional\u201D and would be lost in case of secession from Spain.
\u201CThere is no provision in the European treaties for the secession of a region from an existing member state and in any case, if a region of any state wants to separate and become a member of the European Union, it must be dealt with according to international law and at the same time fulfil the conditions of EU membership\u201D, said Bailly.
The EU spokesman\u2019s response echoes the words of the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who said on August 30th that independence should be negotiated at an international level. However, for the first time the European Commission has now clarified that Catalonia or any new state would have to \u201Cnegotiate access to the EU\u201D. Bailly said \u201Cthis new entity obviously would not be part of the EU because it would have to apply for access\u201D. The European Commission statement was made only six hours before Barcelona\u2019s demonstration, which gathered 1.5 million citizens on the streets.
The accession would be "faster and easier"
An EU source explained to ACN that in the case of Catalonia\u2019s secession and consequent accession negotiation, the process could be \u201Cfaster and easier\u201D than the process for other states applying for membership that haven\u2019t been part of the EU. For example, Catalonia would have been part of the Euro and the Schengen area through Spain. However these \u2018fast track\u2019 negotiations, according to EU sources would follow standard procedures and, among other things, would require a unanimous vote in favour by the 27 member states, including Spain. Spain might veto Catalonia\u2019s accession. In the process, the hypothetical new state may have the same benefits of a \u201Ctransitional\u201D member, the same source said. \u201CBut all this is speculation\u201D they added.