RSTV - The Big Picture: Spain moving in to crush Catalonia ' s Independence

General Studies Paper 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

Present Scenario

  • Europe witnesses a series of issues ranging from Brexit, Immigration issue, Right wing of Austria to today’s Spanish Government’s  direct rule in Catalonia.
  • PM of Spain  to invoke Article.155 of constitution.
    • “Provision that allows central Government to suspend the autonomy of Catalonian regional administration.
  • 155 invoked for first time in Spanish history since its Independence.
  • In a recent referendum despite low voter turnout, 90% of the participants voted for independence of Catalonia.
  • Catalonian leader of the movement has warned that– “If the Spanish Government invokes A.155, Catalonia would declare its Independence”.
  • Mediation by the European Union in the issue has been ruled out as the Union thinks it is the internal matter of Spain.
  • Other Separatist movements across Europe
    a) Scotland
    b) Bavaria


  • Widespread autonomy witnessed before the Spanish civil war was later restricted during the period of Francisco Franco.
  • Later with the death of the Spanish military dictator (Francisco Franco) who rose to power during bloody Spanish civil war (with the help of Nazi Germany & Fascist Italy); Spain witnessed some amount of autonomy and democratic rule.
  • Hence the present Spanish internal turfs for autonomy are nothing new.

Reason behind the unrest

  • Post 2008, Spain saw a rise in anarchist sentiments with the birth of leftist. This was the result of Economic crisis across the Eurozone.
  • Recent Brexit has resulted in devastating effect across Europe.
  • It is seen about 700 companies have moved out of Barcelona (capital of Catalonian region).
  • Scenario before the Economic breakdown clearly shows that Catalonian region contributed the major portion of Spain’s economic turnover but the region in return hasn’t been justified in any ways by the Spanish government (reason behind present turmoil).
  • Thus the crisis across is result of Economic mishaps. Where Catalonia being major Economic contribution to the Spain GDP feels it is deprived.

Way forward

  • Catalonian government must be pushing for some legally binding solution within the Spanish constitution rules.
  • Compromise can be expected with further autonomy to Catalonia.
  • Leaders from EU should take a dialogue to tone down the crisis, if not, it has a potential to spread across the continent and outside leading to a major disaster.
  • Whatever are the future developments; it would have an impact on overall politics across Spain, Europe and of course includes European positions outside Europe.
  • Spain has witnessed 3 major civil wars of resources & attention that it deserves in the past 180 years. Hence would never want another political turmoil again as it is aware of its implications.
  • But the delay in resolving the crisis could trigger major political turmoil across the country. Hence the need of the hour would be a solution through diplomatic dialogue and an intervention by European Union as soon as possible.

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