In the final article of our series on Catalonia, Adrià Salvador and Jon Roozenbeek respond to Jose Piquer in light of the increasingly repressive crackdown on pro-independence Catalans, and the absence of condmenation by European institutions. This series has been commissioned by the Forum on Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge.
After a string of nerve-wracking events surrounding the Catalan independence referendum and ensuing declaration of independence by the Catalan regional parliament in October, the political hurricane seems to be slowly settling in Spain. Most of the Catalan government is either in exile or in prison, its acting government is under Madrid’s control, and candidate after candidate proposed by the Catalan parliament is declared unfit to be inaugurated as president by Spanish courts.
Now, it seems, is the right time for dialogue and rapprochement. In a recent article on In the Long Run, 'Democracy beyond the streets and courts: The need for a Spanish–Catalan compromise’, Jose Piquer argues for ‘a new democratic vision where Spaniards and Catalans live imperfectly together rather than forever apart’. Piquer reminds pro-Unionists that pro-independence sentiments in Catalonia are not necessarily just or justifiable, but they are a force to be reckoned with: ‘There are simply not enough Catalans who believe they should secede from Spain because they are oppressed, but the Catalans who are willing to leave Spain in the absence of a new relationship are too numerous to be ignored’. But present-day Spain, Piquer reminds independentists, ‘is not Francoland’. Its Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, whether you agree with his policies or not, is not a fascist, and Spain remains a democratic member of the European Union.