#CitizensRoute e-Tribune – The Catalan crisis from a European angle: Contribution by We are Europe
With a view to the conflict in Catalonia, we declare:
1) We do not advise Catalonia to declare itself independent. If it did, it would get into a very difficult situation. Domestically, the region would be torn apart, because an apparently large part of the population that opposes independence would be deprived, at one blow, of the protection of the Spanish State. In terms of foreign policy, it would not be expected that the international community would recognise Catalonia as a state; EU membership would come in sight only in the medium to long term, at best. Finally, the region would suffer economically significant damage as it would lose both access to the EU internal market and its currency, as it would see many companies move away and, furthermore, as it would also be burdened with the costly development of its own state administration.
2) On the other hand, it should be noted that the conflict between the centralist Spanish state and Catalonia (as well as other Spanish regions) has been continuing for centuries, and it appears that Madrid does not succeed in establishing a more balanced relationship with its regions The police operation in Catalonia on the day of the referendum was a marked testimony to this imbalance. If the Spanish government insisted on taking such measures in future, the Spanish state will remain fragile.
3) Overall, the Spanish and Catalan governments are advised to enter into talks very quickly in order to calm the situation and to gain time for negotiations. Secondly, both sides should seek a peaceful and wise solution. In the long term, Spain should consider a federal model, such as the Swiss one, to establish a balance between central government and regions.
4) If both sides agree, former heads of state or government of a EU member state should serve as an intermediary, as team when required.