Catalonia: EU and US, if you are there, let us see some action!

Catalonia: EU and US, if you are there, let us see some action!
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A big sigh of relief as the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont – while arguing in favor of it – ultimately proposed to the Catalan Parliament to suspend the Declaration of Independence and asked for the international community – and specifically the EU - to mediate. Whether the EU will be able to deliver or not, it will not only decide the future of Spain, but also the future of the European continent and of the European Union itself.

More than the principles, for Puigdemont mattered the decision of several business and backs to leave and of more to possibly follow. Without them, at the outskirt of the European Union, Catalonia would lose its economic power (Brexit docet). Contrary to the new Nobel Price Laureate, Richard Thaler’s theories, he made a rational economic decision. Yet, a decision that could be reinverted if his call for negotiations remains unanswered.

Catalonia remains divided. Spain remains divided. King Felipe VI’s speech was mostly unilateral and may in prospective lead to the end of the Monarchy. King Felipe VI should have spoken both languages during his speech – after all he is fluent in Catalan and Prince of Barcelona – instead, he stood firmly on the Moncloa’s side. Now it would be a good time for a new speech appealing to dialogue and negotiations between Madrid and Barcelona. Failure to do so, may ultimately result in the end of the Spanish Monarchy.

Though the Catalan President Puigdemont is primarily responsible for the crises, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s confrontational attitude transformed what would have otherwise been a unilateral, unconstitutional, useless referendum into a major victory for the separatists. The pictures of bloodied Catalans clearly did not help.

It is now necessary that the European Union responds to call and helps fostering a negotiated solution. Possibly, a much stronger decentralization, yet within the Spanish state. Even in case of an improbable peaceful secession, no one would benefit. Certainly not the Catalans – who would be confined to the (external) periphery of the EU, nor Spain that would see its formal and informal influence in the EU drastically reduced. Nor would Europe, that would face its biggest failure ever, undermining the very reason of its essence: cohabitation in diversity and peace. Instead, as Guy Verhofstadt rightly said in the European Parliament’s plenary: the only solution is a European Federation. If Rajoy is unwilling to negotiate, he should resign and entrust others with the task.

Finally, where are the United States in all this? A different administration would have called on both Spain and Catalonia reminding them of their obligations (and benefits) as NATO’s member. And what about the fake news and the modified old pictures that circulated in the web. The real question one should ask is: cui prodest? Who would benefit from chaos in Europe? Certainly not the EU, nor the US. Were the fake news domestically fabricated or internationally originated? El Pais reported the activism of pro-Russian profiles in promoting the separatism cause, primarily on twitter. Should the EU be one day forced to recognize Catalan independence, that would be a huge score for Moscow, as it would set a precedent for Crimea. Interestingly, when Silvio Berlusconi visited his old pal Vladimir Putin for his 65th birthday, he had one request: keep out of Italian elections and make sure there is no Russian support for Italian extremist parties. Unrelated? Maybe, or maybe not…

A lot more than Catalonia is therefore at play in Barcelona nowadays. European Union and United States, if you are there, let us see some action!

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