Democracy beyond the streets and courts: The need for a Spanish–Catalan compromise

by Jose Piquer

In the second article in our series on Catalonia, Jose Piquer argues that the time has come for a new democratic vision where Spaniards and Catalans live imperfectly together rather than forever apart. This series has been commissioned by the Forum on Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge.

It has now been more than five years since the Catalan crisis mutated into a sort of existential crisis for Spain. During this time, clamour in the streets of Barcelona for Catalonia’s independence has been met with a lack of political imagination in Madrid. While pro-independence leaders have failed to recognise the power of the rule of law when it is applied to its full extent, the Spanish government has failed to offer any meaningful solution beyond the law. Five years of confronting the streets with the courts has ended in a stalemate. Appeals to the EU will not break it. Can Spaniards and Catalans finally opt for living imperfectly together, rather than forever apart?