Catalan politicians welcome Scottish non-binding independence referendum

Pro-independence leaders point out this is the ‘democratic’ and ‘peaceful way’ and give their support for the 2023 vote

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (by ACN)
The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 28, 2022 07:25 PM

Catalan politicians have welcomed and encouraged the news that Scotland will organize a new independence referendum on October 19, 2023. The non-binding vote is "the democratic way, an approach we Catalans also share, to achieve independence," Jordi Turull, the new leader of pro-independence party Junts tweeted.

The next steps in securing a referendum were outlined by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a statement to parliament on Tuesday.

"Now is the time - at this critical moment in history - to debate and decide the future of our country. Now is the time to get Scotland on the right path – the path chosen by those who live here. Now is the time for independence," she said to lawmakers.  

The news was welcomed by several Catalan pro-independence politicians, including members of the Catalan government junior coalition partner Junts. Their new leader, Turull, conveyed the news. 

Junts party spokesperson, Josep Rius, said that the "Scottish way is the peaceful and uncomplicated option," on social media. "All our support in the path to self-determination," he added. 

During her speech to lawmakers, Sturgeon emphasized the mandate the chamber has. "This parliament has a clear, democratic mandate to offer Scotland that choice. The UK government, regrettably, however, is refusing to respect Scottish democracy," she said. 

"The issue of independence cannot be suppressed. It must be resolved democratically. And that must be through a process that is above reproach and commands confidence," Sturgeon added. 

Other leading pro-independence figures in Catalonia, such as Jordi Solé, a Member of the European Parliament for Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, the senior Catalan government coalition partner, welcomed the news andwished "all the best, and all our support and solidarity" to Scotland. 

This new referendum, despite being non-binary, will "set the European Union agenda," Eulàlia Reguant, member of the far-left pro-independence CUP party, told Catalan News. 

"If in 2014, Scotland already paved the way for the Catalan 2017 independence referendum, now we have the same situation. It is necessary for the Catalan people to take advantage of the opportunity to set a new agenda as the current government is taking us nowhere," Reguant said. 

It will now be part for the people of Scotland to decide, but "today we have set out the path to deliver the right to do so," Sturgeon said. 

The proposed Scottish independence referendum "will be consultative, not self-executing," and the question on the ballot paper "should be -just as it was in 2014- ‘should Scotland be an independent country?" the First Minister announced.   

Catalonia’s 2014 referendum

In 2014, Catalonia also called for a non-binding vote on independence, prior to the 2017 referendum. At the time, former members of the Catalan government organized a referendum that had two different questions.

Held on November 9, 2014, the referendum-like vote was deemed illegal and eventually led to the disqualification of former president Artur Mas and other senior officials for the crime of disobedience. They had their assets and properties seized over a €5 million fine.

Scotland - Catalonia podcast episode

Pro-independence parties in Scotland and Catalonia enjoyed success in elections in 2021, but how much do the movements have in common and where will they go from here? With contributions from Esquerra Republicana MEP Jordi Solé, Scottish National Party MP Gavin Newlands, and the University of Glasgow Lecturer in Politics Robert Liñeira.

Take a listen to our May 2021 Filling the Sink podcast episode to learn more about the political similarities and differences between the two territories. With contributions from Esquerra Republicana MEP Jordi Solé, Scottish National Party MP Gavin Newlands, and the University of Glasgow Lecturer in Politics Robert Liñeira.