What’s up with Catalonia?


Political relations between Catalonia and Spain gradually became strained because of Catalonia’s bad political fit within the Spanish State and its unsuccessful claim for political recognition as a national community. A new Statute of Autonomy in 2006 attempted to improve this situation. The trajectory of the new Statute followed scrupulously all legal procedures: approved first by the Catalan parliament, then, after suffering considerable modification, approved by the Spanish parliament and senate and finally ratified in a referendum by all Catalan citizens. At this point it was referred, as possibly unconstitutional, to the Constitutional Court, which, in a judgment four years later, on 28 June 2010, invalidated the essential premises of the Statute. The failure of the Statute led to great collective frustration and from then on the popular sovereigntist movement has grown enormously in strength. Now, following the regional elections of 27 September 2015, it has a clear majority in the Catalan parliament, with 72 seats out of 135 and 48% of the vote. Supporters of the status quo fall far behind with 52 seats and 39% of the vote.

The Catalan pro-independence movement has become known internationally because of its civic and democratic base. Images of the recent multitudinous rallies organised by civic bodies for the Diada Nacional (National Day – 11 of September), have been circulated worldwide by the international media. There is a genuine interest everywhere to learn more about this grassroots phenomenon but news channels abroad are strongly influenced by Spanish political, diplomatic and mass media structures, with the result that it is extremely difficult for Catalans to get their voice heard internationally.