Catalonia’s separatists facing scepticism abroad 

Despite renewed efforts from Catalonian representatives who rally support for the independence process; EU Institutions have poured another bucket of cold water over their hopes.

Weeks ago Carles Puigdemont, president of the local executive, concluded his first trip to Brussels without meeting any European authorities. At least 5 public officials, including leaving president of the EP Martin Schulz, Head of the Comission Jean Claude Juncker, Vice-presidents Jyrki Katainen, Valdis Dombrovskis and commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos were asked for a rendezvous with very little success. Only the local Flemish authorities agreed to receive Mr. Puigdemont who spoke at a conference organized by three MEP’s from Catalonia´s pro independence parties. Both the European Parliament and the ALDE (which integrates MEP’s from Mr. Puigdemont’s party) made it clear through their official channels that the act was not in the institutional agenda and responded to an individual initiative subscribed only by those promoting it.

It is not the first time Catalonian leaders face similar responses when abroad. Artur Mas, Puigdemont’s predecessor, also took severe setbacks in his international ventures. So far, the solid relations of the Spanish Government have contributed significantly to the lack of international support for the Catalan independence movement.

In the EU, the existing legal structure recognizes the constitutional order and the territorial integrity of its members leaving no grounds for a unilateral secession process. Within member states, the approach is also quite reluctant. Very recently the German Constitutional Court ruled against a referendum for the Baviera region. This judicial decision, coming from a country that champions federalism, is only a symptom of the political climate in a continent where many countries deal or have dealt with the issue of secession.

The Catalonian local government, currently in the hands of a pro independence executive, has invested a great deal of public resources to try to turn the tides, knowing that a hypothetical statehood of the territory would depend on recognition and support from the international community.