Situation in the Balkans a lesson for Catalan independentism, says Víctor Terradellas

The president of the CATmón Foundation argues that the creation of new Balkan states in Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo show different 'models' of achieving independence.


October 1, 2010 11:33 PM

Sarajevo (ACN).- Fifteen years after the beginning of the war in Bosnia, CNA interviewed aid worker and president of the CATmón Foundation, Víctor Terradellas. He talked about the lessons that Catalonia can learn from the Balkan conflict. Terradellas, who had an active role in helping the Balkan population during the wars through the Catalan NGO IGMAN-Acció Solidària, said that Catalonia “should decide whether it wants an independence model like that of Bosnia, Montenegro or Kosovo”.

“No national situation is ever comparable, but all of the scenarios where we have worked have shown us something”, argued Terradellas. Despite the huge differences between Catalonia and these countries, Terradellas considers that they show interesting examples about the processes of self-determination, especially in regards to the role of the international community in the recognition of the new state. “The Balkan wars were the first lesson in demonstrating that the European map was not static”, he said. “The second lesson was the process of independence of Montenegro, and the third, the International Court’s ruling on the independence of Kosovo”, he added.

Terradellas recognises the progress made by Serbia in the last years, especially in relation to Kosovo’s independence. The aid worker and publisher of the journals 'ONGC' and 'Catalan International View' questions whether Spanish authorities “would behave as democratically” as Serbia has in the recent years “when Catalonia chooses the road towards independence”. Terradellas welcomed the political and democratic achievements of Serbia and said that Belgrade is not always “the bad guy of the movie”.

Catalan aid and cooperation

During the Balkan wars, and now with its development projects all around the world, the NGO IGMAN-Acció Solidària tries to put a Catalan brand on what it does. “If we as Catalans do not speak for ourselves, our passport does, and it says we are still Spanish”, Terradellas said.

An example of this strategy was his NGO’s role during the Balkan wars. Terradellas thinks that the war in Bosnia was the first conflict where Catalan cooperation was coordinated and centralised by the Catalan Government. As a result, up to 123 people found refuge in Catalonia.