UK experts analyse Spanish Government obstacles to Catalonia's independence
English and Scottish experts discussed this Tuesday the obstacles that Catalonia keeps facing in deciding its political future. University of Glasgow Professor, Neil Davidson, Researcher on Catalonia and ‘The Guardian’ Blogger, Luke Stobart, and the Chair of the Scottish National Party (SNP) ‘Friends of Catalonia’, David McDonald, took part in the debate, organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) in England within the framework of ‘Catalan Week’, a set of political and cultural events to explain Catalonia’s pro-independence process to the international audience. ‘Catalan Week’ in London will continue to organise activities throughout the week until Sunday, coinciding with Catalonia’s National Day celebrations in Farringdon.
London (CNA).- University of Glasgow Professor, Neil Davidson, Researcher on Catalonia and ‘The Guardian’ Blogger, Luke Stobart, and the Chair of the Scottish National Party (SNP) ‘Friends of Catalonia’, David McDonald, took part this Tuesday in a debate on the repercussions of Catalonia’s pro-independence movement in Europe. The three speakers agreed on the need “to explain the Catalan process to the world” in order to “give visibility to the legitimacy of the protest” and achieve “better international support”. “If people knew the obstacles that the Spanish Government puts in Catalonia’s way, they would give support to the independence movement”, Davidson predicted. The meeting was organised by ANC England, within the framework of ‘Catalan Week’ in London.
The debate ‘Catalan independence within the context of austerity and sovereignty crisis in Europe’ is one of several events organised by ANC England, the English branch of the Catalan National Assembly (the grassroots organisation responsible for the last five years' massive pro-independence mobilisations in Catalonia). The perception that Europe and the rest of the world have of the Catalan process was the main issue under debate. “The world knows what is happening in Catalonia”, said ‘The Guardian’ blogger, Luke Stobart.
"There are misconceptions and stereotypes about the independence movement”, North American writer Liz Castro, ANC’s International Committee Chair, stated. “It is not a just about selfishness and a cultural clash”, she remarked. “The spark of the independence movement was not because of economics, but because of dignity”, Castro added in reference to the Spanish Court’s sentence which limited the competences of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, back in 2010. ANC's members also pointed to the frustration with and lack of confidence in politicians.
Achieve better international support, by raising awareness of the obstacles
"People outside Catalonia are very impressed by the grade of mobilisation in the streets”, Stobart explained. “The image of the human chain was really powerful on an international scale”, he recalled, “after that many people believed that Catalonia had already achieved independence, or at least had held a referendum”.
In that sense, Stobart insisted on the need to “explain the process to the world” and in particular, “to explain the problems the Catalan people have faced in order to exercise their right to decide”. “The right to decide has hit massive obstacles in Catalonia”, he said.
According to the collaborator from ‘The Guardian’, giving visibility to that fact is paramount to achieving “wider international support” for the process.
Comparison with Scotland
The chair of the group of the Scottish National Party (SNP) ‘Friends of Catalonia’ insisted on the “sympathy that the Scottish nation has for the Catalan independence process”. In that sense, the University of Glasgow Professor Neil Davidson pointed out that both processes are similar, but admitted that the “constitutional difficulties facing Catalonia are actually more difficult that the ones facing Scotland”. “The British Constitution does not say anything about maintaining the union of the state”, he added. Hence, “the more international support the Catalan process gains, the better it will be for the process”.
The chair of the SNP ‘Friends of Catalonia’, David McDonald, called for synergies between Catalans and Scottish people: “they need to work closer together”. “We should recognise that our right to vote is the same as Catalonia’s right to vote and only by working together will we be able to achieve our shared aims, our shared dreams”, McDonald concluded.
With regard to the future relationship with Europe in the case that Scotland and Catalonia became independent, Davidson assessed the “threats” of being pushed out of the EU as “unlikely”. “In the case that they stayed outside, the EU would obviously want them back in, since both Scotland and Catalonia are important countries for Europe, advanced and developed”, Davidson predicted.