Over 40% of Europeans want EU to mediate in Catalan conflict, says poll

Survey by Catalan public diplomacy council also says Catalonia's image has improved while Spain's has worsened due to political crisis

Catalans join the Marches for Freedom after the conviction of 9 independence leaders (by ACN)
Catalans join the Marches for Freedom after the conviction of 9 independence leaders (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 11, 2019 12:36 PM

Some 42% of Europeans think the EU should mediate in the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain, according to a new survey from Catalonia's Public Diplomacy Council, Diplocat, the consortium charged with explaining Catalonia to the world.

The study carried out with over 2,500 people from nine European states also shows that 34% of those surveyed say their opinion of Catalonia has improved, while 31% said their opinion of Spain has gone down as a result of the crisis.

For 76.6% of the people surveyed, the conflict between Catalonia and Spain has not been resolved, with 8.2% saying it has. Those polled also give the Catalan government a score of 5.2 out of 10 for its handling of the crisis, while the Spanish government gets 4.7.

The study was carried out with people in France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovenia, and according to Diplocat, the sample represents some 72 million people in the EU.

In favor of EU mediation

The 42% of Europeans who said they think the EU should mediate in the Catalan conflict is more than double the number in favor of other options, including supporting an independence referendum (18%), backing Spain's stance (16%), and not taking any action (14%). 

Slovenes (52%), Germans (48%), Latvians and Estonians (46%) are the people from the countries included in the poll who showed the most support for EU mediation, whereas France (31%) and Sweden (35%) are at the other end of the scale. 

Role of national governments

When asked what role their country should play, roughly a third (34%) say their government should not get involved, with 27% saying their executives should lead mediation. Another 14% urge their politicians to back a referendum, while 12% recommend supporting Spain's unity. 

Yet, among those who would welcome their governments engaging in mediation were a third of Germans (36%) and Swiss (34%), whereas a majority of Slovenes (48%) say their politicians should back a Catalan independence referendum. 

Grades for main actors in Catalan conflict

Three out of four of those polled (76.6%) think that the conflict is not yet over, with 8.2% considering it is. 

In scoring the role of each government in the crisis, the study shows that only the Catalan executive passes (5.2 out of 10 points), whereas Spain's (4.7) and the EU's (48%) fail. 

A majority of the Europeans surveyed say the image they have of both Catalonia and Spain has changed after the events of 2017,  with most having a better opinion of Catalonia than before (34%), although some say theirs has worsened (23%). The opposite is true when they were asked about their opinion of Spain (31% to 22%). 

Positive opinion on business and tourism

Diplocat's poll also shows that those surveyed see Catalonia as a good tourist destination (88% of them) and an appropriate place to do business (70%). The beach, the climate, and the history and culture are the main reasons given to visit, while the people, the culture, the economy, and the location are seen as positive aspects for doing business.