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El derecho a decidir: Catalunya (con ny) - Semanario Voz

Your email. Friend's name. Friend's email. First Name. Last Name. Phone number. Please provide more details about your request. We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy. Please log in or register to continue. Registration is free and requires only your email address. Email required. Password required Remember me? Please enter your email address and click on the reset-password button. In speaking about Catalonia, many European politicians have proven to be literally ready to quote the neo-imperialist from the Kremlin.

Similarly to poorly educated Putin, many politicians raise their eyebrows and question whether the Catalan nation, which consists of more than 7. With this attitude, they are literally pushing the Catalans behind a 21st century Berlin Wall, with fancy words about fundamental democratic principles which are nothing more than a beautiful fiction. A self-respecting Europe has no room for double standards, cowardice and the open betrayal of democracy Many people appreciate that this attitude is unfair and unjust. Particularly those politicians whose countries were born specifically thanks to the principle of self-determination for nations — Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and many other countries.

Otherwise they would be unhappy denizens of empires today — people to whom the fundamental principles of democracy do not apply. For this reason, I would like to pose this question to the respected, democratic prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg: Would you be the leader of a Spain today is threatening Catalonia in precisely the same way as Sweden threatened Norway in the 19th century. Madam prime minister, please answer these questions honestly!

They told you to talk to Russia first and foremost. Instead they awaited the decision of the new rulers of the old empire. You are keeping silent today. Are you not demonstrating similar levels of cowardice? It is not important what you Catalans want.

The independence of Catalonia: jumping on a bandwagon

Go and talk to big Spain first. What is Latvia? Today Ilves is silent while watching how Spain is doing precisely that in relation to the Catalans. The world admired Estonia because of Lennart Meri, who was a noble, courageous and talented thinker and defender of democracy. Today Ilves merely observes as Spain shamelessly slaps down the Catalans and Ilves pretends that he sees nothing. I might pose similar questions to the chairman of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, or to the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, but it seems as if they are deaf.

Quite recently nearly two million Catalans joined hands to demand their right to self-determination, but European Union leaders remained deaf and apathetic. The dream of equality has been written into the smokestack of history. They believed in democracy and recreated a truly free Europe — a Europe in which millions. On November 9th, Catalonia will be holding a referendum on self-determination. Fully in line with the nauseating traditions of Orwellian Doublespeak, Spain has banned it.

The Catalans have called the referendum a survey, but it, too, has been banned. In 21st century Europe, 7. I believe that if there were a truly courageous politician in Europe today, then he or she would appear in Barcelona and, like John F. By betraying the Catalans, the Europeans are betraying the sacred principles of democracy that are the cornerstone of all Europe.

This betrayal will be a crack in the glass, and once the glass is cracked, nothing can stop it becoming more unstable. Apparently they believe that the privilege of an independent country with the right to self-determination rests only with a few elect nations. He has published over articles and essays on politics, economics and culture.

In the last few years the political preferences of Catalan society have undergone intense and continuous changes. Large popular demonstrations and the findings of numerous opinion polls are proof of such changes. The growing desire among the general population for an independent state has become the main topic of political debates.

The party system, which has remained a stable arrangement for over two decades, is bound to give rise to a new party constellation. The Catalan political debate has always been spread between two policy dimensions: the economy and sovereignty. The economic dimension is considered to represent the main, and sometimes unique, concern of political debates in many countries. On this dimension policy positions are defined as rightist or leftist according to the degree of government intervention in the economy. The sovereignty dimension is specific to countries with different levels of government central, regional, municipal and so on.

On this dimension policy positions are defined according to the degree of decentralization of the power to take decisions among the different levels of government. Policy positions on the sovereignty issue range from full centralization concentration of all the decision-making power at a single level of government to full decentralization allocation of all the decision-making power to each of the regional governments. Until the first decade of the twenty first century the political preferences of Catalan society with regard to the economic dimension covered most of the spectrum: from the extreme right Nevertheless, political preferences with respect to the sovereignty dimension were rather moderate.

There were indeed claims for different degrees of decentralization, but on the extremes these claims were rather weak: demands for policies close to full centralization or to full independence were supported by a very small minority of the population. Accordingly, the chosen policy positions of the political parties regarding these two issues were moderate with respect to the sovereignty issue and covered the full range of policies on the economic issue.

Over the first decade of the democratic period the Catalan party system was taking shape and during the following two decades it appeared as a stable system that contained five political parties. Partit Socialista de Catalunya PSC , a Catalan centreleft party with decentralization claims which changed over time had the second-largest electoral support. Finally, Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds ICV , a leftist green party that were mildly in favour of decentralization had the least electoral support.

If we assume that PSC and ICV always form a de facto coalition, the possible governing coalitions in this environment were characterized by two possible scenarios: a dominant party scenario and a dominated party scenario. If the number of seats won by CiU the party with the largest electoral support were large enough, such that CiU could form a majoritarian coalition with any other party, then CiU could be said to hold a dominant po-. On the other hand, if CiU were unable to form a majoritarian coalition with.

The Catalan political debate has always been spread between two policy dimensions: the economy and sovereignty at least one of the other parties, then the party with the least support would not form part of any two-party majoritarian coalition. In this case we can say that such a party holds a dominated position. In the dominated party scenario the second smallest party is the one that has the best chances of forming a government: this party can form a majoritarian coalition with any of its ideological Catalan International View. It is clear that the current scenario is only the reflection of a transitional period that will lead to a new party system that is bound to become stable in the coming years Given the characteristics of the party system outlined above, the possibilities of majoritarian coalitions involve all kinds of cross ideological agreements among parties on both issues.

Some of these governments were minority governments with the support of external parties, some were governments with an absolute majority, and others were genuine coalition governments. Meanwhile, on the ideological front we only observe. A government was never formed or supported by parties that shared the same political views on the sovereignty issue. This observation leads us to conclude that it was more costly for political parties to compromise their positions on the economic issue than on the sovereignty issue. They were willing to give up their ideological views on decentralization in order to become part of the governing coalition.

This seemed to apply to all parties: whether rightist, leftist, centralist, pro-independence and so on. Be that as it may, the implication of this observation is that the salience of the sovereignty issue was clearly dominated by the salience of the economic issue during this first period. The numerous grassroots movements that have repeatedly sprung up in the last few years and the results of the recent polls are signs that the stability that such a party system has exhibited for over twenty years cannot survive.

In particular, increasing support for a position of full independence in terms of numbers and the intensity of preferences is an obvious result in all recent opinion polls. This fact implies that the relevant policy space that parties should cover has been enlarged: it now contains extreme decentralization positions that are supported by an increasing number of voters. Thus the relative prominence of the two issues has changed dramatically with the sovereignty issue becoming much more salient than the economic issue. At the same time three new parties have entered the political area.

Ciutadans-Ciudadanos C declares itself not to hold a position on the economic issue while taking a strong position on the sovereignty issue in favour of extreme centralization. And more recently, Podemos P with a strong centralist leftist position has emerged with great success in the latest European elections. The political parties have had to adapt their policy positions to the new political climate.

On the one hand, we observe that a few parties have adapted in a very easy and natural way. C has not moved from its initial position of extreme centralization. The PP has slightly shifted its position from moderate to more extreme calls for centralization, in order to defend its constituency from the emerging C party. ERC has moved its position from moderate calls for decentralization to demand full independence.

However, other parties have had a harder time in adapting to the new political climate. PSC has suffered severe internal party tensions that have driven it to fracture into several small factions that have become new parties holding leftist-proindependence positions and a larger faction holding a leftist-centralist po-. The strategy chosen by ICV on the sovereignty issue has been full of ambiguity: they have openly declared that the party did not take a position on this issue. Finally, CiU has solved its internal tensions by using its two leaders to represent two different positions: one that calls for full independence and another that maintains its initial moderate decentralization position.

In this case, each of the parties in the coalition held different positions on the sovereignty issue. It is apparent that the current scenario is different from the stable party system described above for the period. It is worth noting that the number of parties with the chance of playing a significant role has basically doubled. From their newly chosen positions we can see stiff competition on the extreme centralization axis: C and PP are competing for rightist votes, and Catalan International View.

There is also stiff competition on the leftist axis. Finally, on the pro-independence axis is where we find the two parties with the largest expected support, CiU and ERC, besides some smaller parties. This implies that the outcome of the competition on this axis will be crucial to the electoral outcome as a whole. However, if the pro-independence movement succeeds, then the Catalan political debate may lose what has been one of its typical dimensions until now and the policy space may be reduced to the economic dimension It is clear that the current scenario is only the reflection of a transitional period that will lead to a new party system that is bound to become stable in the coming years.

It is difficult to predict the key features of this new party system. Thus, only the results from the coming elections themselves will help us to imagine the shape of the new party system. However, there are some claims. Due to the fierce competition the extreme centralist parties will have to face, some of them may be unable to survive or may become irrelevant coalition-wise in the new party system. It is reasonable to expect that one rightist and one leftist party at most will remain on this axis. Since the largest stakes are at play in competition on the pro-independence axis, it is reasonable to think that the small pro-independence parties that have emerged from the PSC factions will have incentives to unite with the larger, moderate, leftist ERC option.

Given the small initial size of ICV and the quantity of alternatives available to voters that are its close rivals, the strategy chosen by ICV of not taking a position on what is currently the hottest electoral issue is bound to be a losing one, which may drive ICV out of the new party system.

These initial predictions seem to point to a party system that very much resembles the original one. In fact, if after the transition period the policy space maintains its two dimensions, it seems reasonable to think that this will be the case because political stability in two dimensions requires such a kind of party constellation. However, if the pro-independence movement succeeds, then the Catalan political debate may lose what has been one of its typical dimensions until now and the policy space may be reduced to the economic dimension.

Chapter 5. Globalization and Basque Nationalism

In this case, the number of parties that will become insignificant coalition-wise will be even larger. Her research is on border between economics and politics and her articles are published in top political science journals American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science as well as economics American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory.

With this in mind, the European Union is engaged in a profound economic, demographic, social, and last but not least, geopolitical debate. The Franco-German alliance appears to be entering into troubled waters. German power and its growing sphere of influence, stretching from Lombardy to the emerging central European states, with Poland as their figurehead, has won the leadership race in Latin Europe led by France. The game of chess has reached breaking point. Debtors vs. As an example, for the first time in history, the European Council is to be headed by someone from Eastern Europe, Poland to be exact.

This new reality taking shape within the EU has shed light on the dif-. The welfare state is unquestionably a European success story, unmatched anywhere else in the world. It was a source of pride and a guarantee of social calm throughout the European Union. Nevertheless, for a significant part of the population it has ceased to meet their needs. The deep economic crisis has had a significant impact on a large segment of the population. In both northern and southern Europe. A sizeable undercurrent which has begun to express itself deep within parts of Western Europe is searching for answers and solutions to its demands: In the UK a heated debate surrounds one of the four freedoms of the EU, the freedom of movement of individuals.

It is being called into question and forms the centre of political debate. UKIP made major gains in the recent European elections. The growing popularity of the National Front party should no longer take anyone by surprise as they are here to stay. In fact, its growth is causing a shift in the political centre, eroding it to such an extent that some opinion polls predict it will be victorious in the French presidential elections.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why France is failing to comply with the obligations it agreed with the European Commission and, by extension, all of its European partners. No wonder, therefore, that its potential default irritates those. Germany, which at first glance appears calm, seems to be showing clear signs of unease.

This discomfort is being expressed through the new, influential party Alternative for Germany AfG. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the economic and political elites are beginning to eye it with some suspicion since it proposes taking Germany out of the Eurozone, among other measures. Draghi do whatever it takes to save the euro. What is clear is that the consequences in political terms are uncertain. At the same time, and of no lesser importance, is the gradual disappearance from the political spectrum of the historically pro-European liberal parties.

The second The Lega Nord party has its store of votes in the prosperous, entrepreneurial, exporting north of the peninsula. As we have seen, in this sea of uncertainty and concern concerning the major European powers, there are those who seek to strengthen a more integrative Europe. A new movement, rooted in the founding values of the European Union, wants to build bridges and strengthen the European project. Opportunities arise in times of uncertainty and profound changes, and we ought to take care in order to take advantage of them.

A project, European as well as Catalan, which ought to have an integrative function, at the service. Ensuring that people remain at the heart of the decision-making process will call for courageous decisions to be made. Those who push for reform need have no fear, quite the contrary. As Soros said, we need to continue walking in order to build a stronger, more inclusive Europe. As with Catalonia, Europe needs a thorough, collective, participatory debate as to which institutions we want, what economic model we want and what kind of society we wish to build.

As mentioned earlier, the reforms ought to move us forward before the populist movements move us to the left or right, resulting in severe damage to governance, progress and our collective well-being. The confrontation is between Russia and the European Union. They need each other economically and yet they are in competition to decide the extent of their area of influence on the continent. The fate of Russia and the European Union are entwined.

Both know that the battle which will define them as a world power is being played out in Ukraine, a vulnerable state caught between these two realities. Brussels has spent much of the last decade defending a European order that was no longer working. While the economic and political reality of the European project was weakening, the twenty-eight members were still dreaming of building a new world order where the EU would maintain its role as a global leader.

The Ukrainian crisis has been a wakeup call to a new reality. The world has moved on and it is not waiting for Europe, who is facing the most important global challenge right on its border. It is a confrontation highly charged with rhetoric and with a taste of the past.

Moscow has challenged the postCold War European order and has built Meanwhile, the European Union has taken months to get its act together, approve sanctions against Vladimir Putin and his supporters and decide who is to participate on the negotiating team to speak on behalf of the twenty-eight in Kiev and Moscow.

Meanwhile Russia has not only managed to annexe the Crimea and strengthen pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, it has also gained the power to destabilize the country whenever it suits. The Ukrainian conflict has allowed the EU to obtain an accurate picture of reality. A picture which highlights its weaknesses. Brussels is neither willing nor able to cope with a long-term dispute with Russia, but it is more aware than ever of the strategic mistrust that separates them.

The economic interdependence that has grown all these years in finance, industry, services, agricultural exports and energy supply has been unable to generate political empathy aside from the involvement of major European capitals with signifi-. The Ukrainian crisis has also shown the political weakness of the European institutions which, from the outset, handed responsibility for the negotiations to Germany, France and Poland. But as the months passed, Berlin took over the role of privileged interlocutor with Moscow.

The European reaction has followed the pace set by Berlin. Thanks to its geopolitical position, Berlin was on the front line of the easing of tensions with the Eastern bloc at the end of the Cold War. Today, with this renewed confrontation with Russia, Germany has placed itself on the front line of diplomatic negotiations with Moscow, thanks to its economic interests, energy dependence and its hegemonic power within the EU. However, this lone leadership has failed, for the present, to bring more unity.

The internal disagreements have arisen once more when it comes to applying economic sanctions against Moscow. Hungary, for example, has refused to implement the agreement made by the twenty-eight. The European Union has acted in this crisis with its hands tied behind its back thanks to its dependence on energy from Russia Old Europe and New Europe divided once more. The image of Russian tanks crossing the Ukrainian border is not perceived in the same way by every nation between Latvia and Portugal.

The Ukrainian crisis has put this rivalry under strain like never before, and has made it clear that not. In fact, NATO is both at the source and the consequences of this crisis. Moscow sees the growth of this defensive organization, a legacy of the Cold War, towards the border with Russia and the accession of its former allies to the Western umbrella, as a threat and humiliation. For this reason, the Kremlin employs in Europe from the Ukraine to the Baltic republics its two main weapons of influence and pressure: energy and the.

Russian-speaking minorities scattered across the continent. The European Union has lost its strength and leverage in the international arena, primarily because it remains divided when it comes to finding answers to new global challenges. The European Security Strategy agreed by European leaders in has become obsolete in many ways and has been unable to overcome the usual strategic disharmony. The EU has to face a key dilemma: its soft power, the ability to intervene and co-opt without resorting to the use of force, has run out of steam.

Firstly, because the economic crisis has reduced its financial capabilities but also because it appears as if Brussels has forgotten that its soft power extends far beyond diplomatic channels. It involves providing development aid, supporting NGOs, strengthening institutions and building state structures, protecting refugees and providing security for infrastructure which is key to the functioning of a country.

How much of this soft power is the EU prepared to offer to the Ukrainians? And at what cost? Ukraine is being ripped apart while everyone continues to look at the oil map. This explains why it is not possible to separate European foreign policy from energy security. If the gas. Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine is even more fragile. Putin divided and conquered, but the fall in oil prices has altered the landscape for the first time since the beginning of the crisis.

In just twelve months, Vladimir Putin has gone from being the Tsar who tried to restore the strength of imperial Russia to becoming a president who is fighting against an unexpected enemy: the currency markets. If was the year of Russian expansionism in the military with the offensive in Ukraine, and in trade with the signing of the Eurasian Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan , in Vladimir Putin has become a wounded animal, and is therefore highly unpredictable. And the whole world is watching. She is a frequent contributor to various media organizations as European current affairs analyst.

She is also visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Bosnia and Herzegovina held their seventh general election on October 12th , in accordance with the Dayton Agreements. In a climate of scepticism and mistrust, no one imagined the country stood a chance of overcoming its political and economic stagnation. General elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina BiH probably count as among the most complex electoral systems in Europe, having grown out of the tangled institutional arrangements following the Dayton legacy. Bosniaks, the Croats and the Serbs, based on self-declaration.

Owing to the fact that the BiH Constitution denies citizens who are not self-declared as members of one of these three groups the right to stand as candidates for certain institutions in a country hosting 17 legally recognized minorities means 0. The most numerically significant minority in Bosnia are the Roma, who have remained socially and politically marginalized to the present day, since they also face discrimination in employment, housing and the access to education. In spite of all these efforts, not one new policy has so far been implemented. While this issue has been one of the major obstacles to the start of EU accession talks in the last few years, in re-.

Some twenty years after the war, political allegiance is still based on ethnic origin whilst the Dayton Agreements only seem to have contributed to reinforcing internal segregation. Within this system, Serb parties continue to pursue greater autonomy if not direct secession from Bosnia, Croat parties aim for a third entity of their own, and many Bosniak parties crave a more centrally-governed country.

As a result, the questions that preceded the war are still very much alive: should Bosnia remain a single country The Bosniaks would categorically refuse to grant the Croats what they ask for, while both Serbs and Croats would doubtless refuse a purely civic state. Recommendations from the ICS include removing the special role for constituent peoples, while remaining responsive to the in-. Nevertheless, none of this will ever be implemented if there is no political will to execute the organizational and economic changes needed by the country itself and required by the European Union.

Furthermore, a lack of political culture and the ability of allegedly corrupt politicians to hold onto power, create fertile ground for a general climate of mistrust and political disaffection among the general population. Simply put, society is divided between those affiliated to a political party, who enjoy certain privileges and the easy access to the jobs the party dispenses, and those without any party ID, who face difficulties in finding a job and making a decent living.

Nonetheless, thanks to high levels of political disaffection and widespread pessimism, one would probably have expected the voter turnout in the October elections to have been even worse. Participation was His intention was to build a truly multi-ethnic party. A lack of political culture and the ability of allegedly corrupt politicians to hold onto power, create fertile ground for a general climate of political disaffection.

In the Serbian Republic, Milorad Dodik suffered defeat at the hands of an opposition that is becoming increasingly trustworthy. With the return of Ivanic one can assume that economic issues will slowly take the Catalan International View. The message seems abundantly clear: Bosnia needs to move beyond the obsolete structures originating from the Dayton Agreements Such slight changes in the election results, almost imperceptible in a broader reading of the outcome, are nevertheless far from trivial when it comes to interpreting them.

Thousands of angry Bosnians already took to the streets in February and brought about the most widespread anti-government protests in the past twenty years. Their principle demands were for an end to endemic corruption among the political class and for the real needs of the public to be given top priority on the political agenda. If it took over a year to form a new government in , with local elections taking place in a time span of two years after the general election, recently elected politicians had better get a move on in speeding up the process or they will face increasing.

To many, the message seems abundantly clear. Bosnia needs to move beyond the obsolete structures originating from the Dayton Agreements and instigate institutional reforms that allow them to reduce overlapping administrations by abolishing the cantonal structure and certain poorly performing, superfluous state agencies. While most politicians are aware of the need to undertake constitutional and economic reforms, they find it hard to carry them out. Any major changes would demand the agreement of the main party leaders, but it appears they are still overly-affected by inter-ethnic division, which is not an easy factor to overcome.

She has worked in Lebanon and Germany as a project manager in the fields of international development and public diplomacy and has experience in the coordination and management of civil society organizations in Catalonia. She occupies the Presidency of International Action for Peace, and is currently pursuing her studies in the fields of Defence and Security.

Its single runway was simply a spit of land that began in the middle of town and headed straight into the sea. More than once a plane ran out of tarmac and ended up in the water. Planes coming into land would carry out a series of manoeuvres over the city and the nearby hills, with the plane gradually losing altitude, flying just above the skyscrapers. It established that as of June , not only the New Territories, but the whole of Hong Kong would revert to Chinese sovereignty so long as the status quo was respected, in terms of the existing economic, social and political system, together with the freedom of speech and assembly during a transitional period of at least 50 years In , one year after the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, having operated a colonial system for over a century, with the appointment of members of the Legislative Council LegCo by London and ultimately the Governor of Hong Kong, the British decided to introduce partially.

Positions on the legislature were filled through indirect elections and, in , partially through the first direct elections held by universal suffrage in Hong Kong. In the last legislative phase of the colonial period to , the Legislative Council consisted of 60 members, 20 of whom had been elected by universal suffrage, 30 via indirect elections by restricted professional electoral colleges and 10 directly appointed by electoral committee. The Chinese. Catalan International View. This it achieved through pressure and the economic counter-arguments issued by business groups.

The sizeable demonstration of June , with half a million people protesting the law resulted in the restrictive amendments being withdrawn and led to resignations on the Executive Council. The lawmakers in Beijing argued that universal suffrage would introduce instability and risk a crisis in Hong Kong.

An estimated , people took to the streets in another mass protest, with cries against Beijing and in favour of speeding up the democratic process. Beijing responded by establishing a timetable for gradual democratization that would culminate in the direct election of the governor by universal suffrage in To what extent is it possible for an authoritarian state to exercise control over another, much smaller political entity, which also has a much greater margin of freedom and levels of prosperity?

Not without a certain dose of cynicism, the British authorities introduced an unforeseen factor into the handover process. By the mid-eighties Hong Kong was indeed an open society with civil liberties and a healthy administration cleansed of its former ills of corruption. Nonetheless, it had never held direct elections. In spite of its initial anger, the Beijing authorities had to take on the colony with this irreversible process already underway.

Rather than interrupting the democratic process, they slowed it down instead. Beijing established a timetable that prolonged the process over two decades. At the time the end seemed far off. Partial, yet increasing quotas for universal suffrage were introduced in parliamentary elections, with being set for the date of direct elections of the governor of the colony by universal suffrage: this was to have marked the culmination of the process.

Nobody suspected that the citizens of Hong Kong would waste their precious time normally devoted to making and spending money on protest marches. Nevertheless, on the few occasions in which Beijing has been tried to curtail the civil rights of the citizens of the former British colony, its residents have taken to the streets peacefully, but steadfastly.

Now that they have realized that direct elections for the governor are just around the corner, they have changed the rules of the game: establishing restrictive clauses only candidates loyal to the regime may stand for election which have clearly been perceived by the people of Hong Kong as a betrayal of earlier promises. Events in Hong Kong over the coming months might lead the Taiwanese opposition to regain power, bringing an end to the pragmatic approach of the last decade, which showed signs of cracking a few months ago when Taiwanese students staged a sitin in Parliament in a movement similar to one currently found in Hong Kong: peaceful but steadfast civil disobedience.

And it largely achieved what it set out to achieve. While the Arab Spring seems to have failed in most of the countries concerned, Tunisia, the birthplace of this democratic revolution, has consistently shown that democracy is possible in the Arab World. Indeed, Tunisia held its first free legislative elections on October 23rd The elections came after the passing of a new, progressive constitution backed by a large majority of political forces which had been legalized shortly before. First they had to adopt and pre Furthermore, they were extremely permissive with the most extremist and violent Islamist groups such as the Salafists, the same group currently linked to the ISIS in Syria.

Furthermore, the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, two well-known and muchloved leftist activists, sparked rage and sorrow among Tunisians. These are some of the reasons behind the failure of political Islam in Tunisia. On December 31st , a unique image, that of a former president making way for a new one in a completely peaceful power transition ceremony was praised by the majority of Tunisians and the international community.

It was a victory Catalan International View. The ISIE Independent Electoral Body succeeded in making sure that the electoral process was totally transparent, while international observers were delighted with how the polls were organized. The answer lies in the past.

Tunisia has always been one of the most liberal countries in the Arab World. Prior to the Jasmine Revolution, its constitution was still one of the most advanced in terms of human rights.


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This achievement alone is something which most countries in the Arab World, and indeed in the rest of North Africa, were unable to obtain. Another facto which differentiates Tunisia from other countries, in my opinion, is that its military has never been involved in politics. It is also worth noting that there is a difference in behavior between the Islamist, Ennahdha party and the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya has also been governed for decades by the military class Gaddafi. Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders, the Basque Country or any other nation seeking for statehood in the EU should have a mechanism to be recognized as new members automatically, if they decide so in a referendum.

What is the point of having too many new states in Europe, since we are working for European integration? A more federal Spain, United Kingdom or any other state that faces the same issues, I think would be a better solution. Give them more freedoms for self governance, but full independence? I am sure when they have their independence from Spain, they will rejoin the EU as Catalonia. Thus still have no borders between them and still not being totally independent from them. Excuse me, but that is true for any country!!! I was talking to a Finnish lady once, and she told me that the South Finland contributes and sustains the Northern part of the country that has very few natural resources.

The Helsinki region in fact supports the north!! She supported the idea that poorer regions in Europe should get money from richer regions of Europe, as in Finland, the south supports the north!!! That would be true for most countries. In Greece we have the same problem. In Italy too. Should we start breaking up all countries up? Shall make a regional Europe, with many small regions being autonomous, while all be governed by one entity in Brussels?

And if we achieve that, how easy will it be with so many smaller but more numerous voices in EU to reach to an agreement? We are having troubles now as it is!! They will have their own government and parliament that will cooperate, answer and send their representatives to the Spanish one, and the Spanish will do the same in its relations with the European one!! I will respect the outcome of both referendums of course and I will support the wish of the majority of the population of Catalonia.

But I also wish that they will decide responsibly and not because a surge of nationalism!! We have all the ingredients of a country, and years ago we had one of the best state structures for that time which were abolished by Felipe V Spain after a cruel war and brutal repression to our culture followed for many many years.


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  6. No, your vision is not correct. Protecting our language has been, historically, a hugh task. New laws appear everyday that take more and more control of Catalan culture and language from Madrid. Money is important, but not the main issue. Ok, i understand!!! But perhaps the change must come on a Spanish front, not just Catalonia? If the loss of language and identity is being promoted by Madrid then we are talking about a full Spanish state dissolution if the Basques the Galicians and so on follow the example of Catalonia.

    Perhaps with the encouragement of the EU, Spain should promote more diversity of its culture and heritage. Follow the European motto: Unity is diversity!! Or we should be careful on how this dissolution will take place: the Yugoslavian way or the Czechoslovakian way? In most ex-Yugoslavian states, there are still supporters of Tito that remember the Yugoslavian days with a sense of longing.. Is now the best time to promote dissolution of states?

    How will the global markets and economy react to this? Will the Spanish region as a whole find itself in a new eye of a storm affecting all regions of the former Spanish state? Will such a solution be wise now, and what impact will it have in the overall Iberian and European economy? Therefore, Catalans have the right to feel culturally and financially mistreated. Just be sure that you set up your new state with solid foundations and not become another region that desperately needs foreign investment and support to exist.

    So the best of luck with your cause, and hope to welcome you soon in the European family. I completely agree with you. I have lived in Catalonia for over thirty years. I have been educated both in Catalan at school and Spanish at home. Most of my friends are Catalan, some of them claim for independence which I truly respect , some other would prefer to gain more autonomy within the Spanish state.

    What I think is, if we are really Europeans, if we really believe in Europe as a cultural concept and not only as an economic one and I am afraid this is what is all about , we should stay united and fight to solve the real problems here. Do they have to be in one country to do that? I live in Greece, and I go many times at Catalonia and I have many friends there! Nobody separates me with them, only the distance does. When Catalonia will be independent it will still be there, it will not become an island! Nobody will tell you not to go there!

    Catalonia will only have more tools in its hands to protect the catalan language and culture. All the rest will be the same. This is Spain. Are you actually that dense? Or just blinded by prejudice? When has any English-speaking power tried to make English the official language of Sweden or force the children to be educated in it? How many Swedes would adopt the idea comparable to yours that they should be ashamed of their language because it is a minority language? Your vulgar triumphalism about the number of people who speak Castilian ignores the shameful fact that most of the people who do so speak it do so because their ancestors were forced to by the most repulsive, poverty-spreading, cruel empire in modern history, the heritage of which a large proportion of the Western hemisphere still struggles to free itself from.

    You can have your preening about your grand Hispanidad, the manifestations of which are widely held in contempt by democrats around the world. What does that have to do with anything anyone has said? Sweden is part of the British Empire now? Empires have many sins to answer for, but do you seriously want to get into a comparison of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Increasingly, it seems a waste of time to dialogue with you.

    Your commitment to a lurid ideology seems more and more clearly to make you merely a troll, in Internet terms. We could perfectly compare British and Spanish Empire and their equally gory cruelty with native populations, but this is not the thread. What is wrong about correcting? People learn from questions and corrections, there was any intention of criticize in my word suggestion. Hahaha, well said.

    But the British Empire was also an advanced institution for its time, as was the Spanish. It gets money from Europe and Catalonia and even then is in the worst economic situation of any other European country. The PP run banks, and in those brown envelopes?

    I agree with you. That is how Spanish law works today. If Catalan independence is supposed to be voted by all Spain, why not asking this question to hole EU? There are other legal set ups within Europe that are much more democratic than this one and are not afraid of asking directly to People in the region in a referendum IE. UK and Scotland. I was just pointing out the way the current judicial structure works, not commenting on whether it is good or bad. In , International court of justice declaration presented several arguments in support of the unilateral Declaration of Independence.

    Find some of them below that could be applied to Catalan process:. I understand that the topic of nations is still debated quite emotional in Europe. Furtunately more peaceful than in other parts of the world. I however do not understand is why in times of European integration the nation as a political entity is still so important for the leaders. I truely wonder why it should not be possible to give the regions their autonomy in a Europe of regions.

    European regulations for basic principles in no specific order of trade, movement, currency, human rights, customer rights, … by going at the same time with regional governance on how to put those principles into practise taking into account regional specificities. In the end that is what makes Europe differnt to the USA; not a Unites States of Europe, but a Europe of regions with their own culture, identity and governance under the umbrella of a European economic and political framework. Do not become the latest tax haven in Europe in order to support your new state.

    And of course some thoughts on the future of Europe, that if Catalonia and Scotland gain their independence, they will push for a new political reality in Europe. One perhaps long delayed. I post as many arguments as possible, both for and against the independence bid, in order to have a more spherical view on the situation. The USA is a terrible example to hold up as a model for a federal Europe or a federal European nation.

    Most US citizens when you speak to them in depth seem to favour a confederation and despise the federal government. Germany is a federal nation and a European nation. Why not use the German model as a far more appropriate schematic? After all, the German model is one of parliamentary rather than presidential rule whereas the USA is presidential rule with the ability to issue executive orders that circumvents the Senate and House of Reps. As for the independence of Catalonia, any believer in democracy must say that it is an issue for the Spanish people and not one for the EU or other EU states to meddle in.

    Living in part of Europe that has seen many nations fracture, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia are the most obvious, but also to the east of Ukraine with the Russian Federation struggling with Chechnya and Dagestan many will have concerns over the friction and criminality independence causes. Not that I am inferring that would happen in the case of Catalonia, but it would set a precedent for numerous less stable regions striving for independence to be recognised.

    Personally, it matters not to me as whether Catalonia gets full independence or not as it makes little difference to Ukraine — other than it would mean yet another government to have to deal with in the West. Should Spain become a federal nation like Germany or Russia then it would have implications within Ukraine as there is a growing undercurrent within Ukraine to become a federal nation as well. It is totally a EU issue — allowing for border movement within the EU strengthens it as a federation, as the sooner these issues are actually dealt with these national issues can be put to rest and we can build a united Europe.

    Self-determination is a right, and part of. Freedom for Catalans right to self-determination. Deveria Portugal fazer parte de Espanha? Mas, os reinos continuaram separados. A Catalunha sempre quis ser independente. Lutou por isso sempre. Ramon Tremosa European MP : For many years now I have been noticing that Catalans are feeling increasingly discriminated against and taken advantage of when compared to other citizens of Spain. You cannot have a unified Europe with endless disparate parts. And the constant reference to the US when Europeans are nowhere near a similarity to that country and its violation of its people, both indigenous and imported.

    It is as different as chalk and cheese from that nation of warriors. However, unless Europeans are ready to see themselves as one united state, and all that goes with that concept and movement, it will break asunder and be unable to compete world wide as it wishes to do, and should do. Leadership in Europe presently is spinning in circles unable to accept the fact of utter betrayal by its financial institutions and the obvious malfeasance toward it from outside.

    Wake up to reality as it is and grow up. The big parental states outside your borders are not interested in your well being. They are interested only in their own narrow view of survival. Stop all charitable endeavours outside your borders and concentrate on what is needed right now for Europe and the European people, to raise themselves above the rest and yet remain a civilized enterprise for and of the people. Stop playing at being naive ideologists of political correctness, and instead, take mature decisions to fully endorse unification in order to sustain a healthy and viable environment for the people of this continent.

    So, Catalonia must either accept being European and live by the expectation of a European system, or, get out and quickly. They either like and want to be part of a European superstate or not. No further debate is necessary. Or, can be undertaken. Europeism in Catalonia is stronger than in many other parts of Europe, stronger than in the rest of Spain and stronger than in France.

    As for the reasons for independence from Spain, you can find some of them in this thread. Europe appears unable to grasp its importance in the world as it appears to be stuck in an idiot circle of numerous indecisive, factional and relatively insignificant ideologies. Rather than steadfastly upholding the ultimate aim. And an attitude of reality should be pressed on all those in power and fast. They waffle with a femininity that is unsound in leadership and it is time they took that on board.

    Decisive observance is the name of this game. Catherine, I totally agree that Europe should get a grip on its objectives in a clear way, without doubts and as fast as possible. But not at any price. In the first place, because it is not an ideology; it is a goal. And the reasons for this goal are ancient and important.

    Suppose the following. Imagine that France takes control of Belgium and imposes French in Wallonia. Supose that Germany invades the Czech Republic and establishes German as the everyday language at universities again!

    Monuments and Language in Nineteenth-Century Roussillon

    Appart from that, we have clear historical and economic reasons for wanting the independence of our country, and we see it as something necessary and urgent. We are not antieuropean, on the contrary. That example is nonsense! Germany invading czech republic… come on! You make it sound like Spanish troops marched into Barcelona last week and set up a military occupation! Lets look at the formation of Spain. Spanish kingdoms reconquer the iberian peninsula in the late 15th Century.

    And the peninsula is unified around two people Isabel of Castille and Fernando of Aragon count of Barcelona, which merged with Aragon in So, how exactly does this count as an outside invasion? Of course! I have found it in many documents, and everybody knows in Catalonia that Castillian troops invaded their territory several times until the Castillian political powers got the chance to abolish all Catalan constitutional and democratic system. Wake up! Ask catalan people that love Catalonia about their OWN history.

    Before to talk go to archives, please. What I see is a group of politicians trying to shift the attention from their own incompetence by provoking emotional reactions from the population. This is something that we have seen for decades in the Basque region. Another point. I live in the city of Madrid Basque family though and I can assure you that the citizens living in the Madrid region suffer the greatest tax burden in all of Spain.

    And enough of the historical reasoning nonsense… because we can keep going further and further back in history with counter-arguments. And beware of playing the cultural and linguistic card too much. One final point that particularly annoys my valencian and Balearic friends… Catalan independentists do not JUST want and independent Catalonia… They want all the Catalan countries what they humbly call them including Valencia, a strip of Aragon, a piece of France and a town in Sardinia… Something that annoys these other places to no end considering Valencia, the Balearic islands and Aragon were once indepndent kingdoms and Catalonia never was.

    Thank you. So perhaps independence is being played as a card, a populist way out to focus the real problems somewhere else? And perhaps all regions of Spain must have a referendum, not just Catalonia? Glad to hear that. Because I do believe that a reform of Spain is necessary, but not necessarily a total break up!!! Hi Christos. Independence is not just a card which may also be for the Catalan Government right now but, in the long term, it is the only possibility of a bright future for Catalonia. All the efforts have been frustrated.

    A new fiscal pact, proposed by the Catalan President to the Spanish one, was directly rejected last month. The pace of centralization of the Spanish Government, and its disloyalty, are simply hugh. People, specially, the middle classes, have said enough is enough. There is no other way than independence. The suicidal option right now is to stay in Spain, the reasonable one is to have a new state that can protect our interests and become good neighbors with everybody, including the Spaniards. I am not against Catalan independence, but I do believe that right now perhaps is not the right moment..

    But if the majority of the Catalan people still wish it, then there is no other way…. Christos, I copy the link to an article that I wrote in greek about the last elections in Catalonia. The rest of you can use google translator to get a taste of what am I talking about in my article:. The past 30 years have been a little bumpy have they?

    You mention the disloyalty of the Spanish government towards the Catalan government… what about the disloyalty you are demonstrating here towards your fellow spanish citizens? Come on! Am I being disloyal? How can you accuse me personally without knowing my motivations? Solidarity is one thing, forced solidarity is another one, and still robbery is a very different thing.

    You ask for reasons for independence, ok. But then you beware us not to play the cultural or linguistic cards when these are precisely the deep reasons. If they ask for independence, Catalonia will be democratic unlike Spain. In fact, the last Catalan Statute tried to rise the consideration of Aranese and… the change was denied by the Constitutional Court! If people in Aran Valley have to choose between Spain or Catalonia, they know well were to belong.

    On the other hand, the Tribunal Constitucional is a political court. The Statute could have been fully constitutional with a different composition of the members of the court. And in no case a court should have the last word after the Statute was approved in referendum. If the Catalans want independence…. Ok, lets look at the supposed cultural and linguistic factors that make independence the ONLY solution. What exactly is the linguistic problem? You have Catalan books…. And the cultural problem? The rest of Spain is somehow oppressing your culture?

    Is your theatre illegal now? On the point about infrastructures… What on earth are you talking about?! Just last month they inaugurated the new terminal at the Port of Barcelona which puts Barcelona in the same league as Rotterdam and Hamburg… remind me.. Are you enjoying the AVE trains? How about your FOUR airports? But language and culture can be discussed together. Catalan is not official in the EU.

    Via Catalana per la independència/ Human chain for the independence of Catalonia 2013

    Because neither Spain nor France make any effort in that direction; it depends on them. The result? The Constitutional Court TC cancelled that point. How is immigration integrated? The only language they should know, as a duty, by law, is now Spanish, and this fact works in the direction of reducing the presence of Catalan in the streets. The Ministry fixes a percentage of contents that have to be included in the curricula of students. But Minister Wert of Education made things very clear yesterday. Wert mentioned the way History is taught in Catalonia, without mentioning Spain much. Culture is one of the things that were transferred to Catalonia, ok.

    But then there is a Spanish Ministry of Culture, which does not disappear from Catalonia. Instead of making Catalonia feel Spanish, maybe they should Spain feel more European. We know what we are. But history is surprisingly repeating itself these days. Hutchinson the Chinese operator has paid the container terminal in Barcelona. We would have had the biggest container terminal in South Europe… with no connections thanks to the Spanish Goverment!! Meanwhile, The Spanish government pays a new unprofitable TGV in Galicia, that will go anywhere, just because of the elections there on October You see, this is what annoys me about how this argument always gets framed.

    Spain is the arena where politics takes place, but it is the political parties that act and take decisions. Catalan region enjoys of a very solid self-governing institutions since few decades ago, like the Education for instance. Power that they have used to spread their message to kids years ago. Kids that are now the voters of this referendum, a kind of evil plan seeded decades ago by people who has clear since the beginning that they wanted the independence. How come would you as a goverment invest in a region of your country that is not loyal and is just waiting his turn to just kick you off?

    Think carefully for a moment, use reason. All tis noise catalonian activist are making is a madness, a complete nonsense that can only lead to only God knows how many more problems in the near future, a poisoned focus of unstability that could last for decades!! But they have gone mad, they dont care about consequences, they think once they are a new tiny country all problems will dissapear, when it is going to happen just the opposite, they will just start emerging!

    So we wise and look around for less viased information about Spain, outside from these catalan fanatics. Ignasi, Let me ask you some questions first. If the only reason for the catalan independence feelings is the supposed Catalan doctrine given at the schools, — why all Spaniards are not fervent fascists after 40 years of fascism teached at the schools? I guess, that the reason is clear. Your statements are simply not based on facts. My opinion is that: — The effect of the school education is very limited if it is not in aligned with the family and society.

    And he kept his job. They want to keep Catalonia, but without the Catalans. In that sense, your analogy of a couple is really apt — the Castilians would be the abusive husband who then gets angry at the appearance of divorce papers. Take a history book. Hitler, Czechoslovakia was incorporated to Germany under the nazis. Take another history book. Spanish Succession war, Losing the war in meant the end of self-government for Catalonia and the rest of the Crown of Aragon and the beginning of linguistic and cultural substitution. In contrast with what happened with North Catalonia, though, which was given to France 70 years before , the part of Catalonia that remained in Spain was never fully dominated.

    What you are quoting in your reply on the war of succession is exactly that, a war of succession, not a war of invasion. It was one royal family against another. Castille and Navarre against Aragon fighting for the domination of the iberian peninsula. If anything the war should be considered a european war fought over Spain. France on the one side and basically everyone else on the other. France won and the Borbon candidate they backed became king.

    How is that Spain invading Catalonia? Catalans have always been active players in what happens in Spain. During the War of Succession, the carlist was, the civil war. I say that, as a result, Catalonia lost a war against Castille, which is a fact. You did. But you can call it domination, if you like, military domination. In this case, the Crown of Aragon against the Crown of Castille, which formed a loose confederation until , and became a centralized country ruled by Castille after People who go against their own country collaborationists have always existed, and not only in Catalonia.

    France has very good examples of that. Czechs are very aware of the periods when their country was dominated by the nazis, first, and the Soviets, later. You cannot seriously be comparing this to Nazis and Soviets! Do you have any sense of proportion? Of course not! I was just asking what would happen if linguistic rights in Europe would be banned for two languages somehow comparable with Catalan.

    My point was: is it imaginable, in a situation like this, that you ask the Flemish and Czechs to forget about their particularities and think about unity? Would it be imaginable if their languages were still in trouble because of the power of their states? This is our case. Catalan language has still many obstacles compared with any other language of its size in Europe. And I suppose you know that Catalan has been persecuted and forbidden not so long ago. You could get a fine if you spoke it in public places, or lose your job. I gave you some concrete reasons regarding language and culture, which for me, is the main motivation for defending independence.

    My problem is with the way things are going. I like Scotland and the former Czechoslovakia as models for this kind of thing, and I do not want Spain to follow the path of Yugoslavia. And that memory will become the basis of the relationship between the two countries from then onwards. Yes the legal framework in Spain is not great. Our constitution was only supposed to be a temporary one that should have been replaced once the transitional period was over. We should have developed a role for the Senate also.

    Ofcourse it can! But it has to be done in the political arena, not through ultimatums and threats. And we will have to have conversations about things that we have avoided for more then 30 years. Things like the structure of the country federalism I mean , whether we want to be a monarchy or a republic presidential or parliamentary , Do we want a senate representing the regions with alot of power? Why do I prefer doing things this way? Because by sitting down and having a dialogue based on realities and not sentiments we can together analyse what is best for us, the citizens.

    Is independence non-negotiable even if it can be proven, in a transparent manner, that it will hurt the people of Catalonia? The Scottish are looking at various options and presenting those options to the population devolution Max, semi-independence, full independence. Have we proposed other options? We talk about emotions and sentiments and conflict and opression… How will we be good neighbours in the future if the result of this process is that we end up hating eachother?

    How will this affect our fellow citizens? I agree that the Yugoslavian way is not the one to follow, but I suppose you know who is playing the role of Serbia here. The Spanish government. We need more rationality, I agree. You know what? In fact, the Statute had a federal flavor that was erased after passing through the Constitutional Court TC. Catalonia has already tried it. We still need dialogue, though.

    But just about how to hold a referendum, and about what to do later, like in the Scottish case. So people overeact to it. And they were happy and they loved so much Catalonia and their symbols, but they already had fine spanish-based culture as well. Unfortunately they were so old that probably they are already dead. Sometimes I met young kids that are my neighbors that talk spanish in a very poor way, mixing tons of catalan words together, etc. My statements are based on facts, beginning by my own experience in school some years ago.

    I could recognize biasing in textbooks when I was teenager, where carefully catalan language books were so critics about bilingual situations ONLY with spanish but they were so kind when mentioning possible future bilingual situations with ENGLISH. Of course, you think that catalan school is open and non-politic, blah blah blah.

    It is OK. I think just the opposite, so now what? Do you want to demonstrate your arguments with self-propaganda? That is too funny…. According to your comments you consider previous links as propaganda. Therefore I attach below a link from the european commission, hopefully you would accepted as objective information. In higher education institutions, teachers and students are entitled to express themselves in any situation, orally or in writing, in the official language of their choice. Ethnicity is essentially the same thing as cultural affiliation.

    Spanish is an immigrant language in Catalonia. The native languages are Catalan in most of the territory and Occitan in the Aran Valley. It being spoken as a native language in Catalonia is almost entirely a product of immigration within the last century, not Catalan-speakers shifting to Spanish unlike in say Valencia or Northern Catalonia. What an arrogant, dismissive thing to say about Saim! And very typical of those with your slant on history.

    What history before do you want him to explain to you? The time when Catalonia was a prosperous independent nation while most of what is now called Spain was under Islam? Or when Catalonia had by far the largest Mediterranean empire, stretching all the way to Greece? What percentage of people with Catalan grandparents are native speakers of Spanish and not Catalan? Catalonia was a small set of counties under the rule of Carolingian empire in the early Middle Age. Then, became a Principality belonging to the Reign of Aragon. Something similar with Castille.

    Castille was very tiny at first, then added the Reign of Leon, then the Reign of Aragon by dynastic weddings then the muslim Reign of Granada, then Navarra. Actually, in the beginning Basque Country were just three provinces of Castille, never a country, more or less like Catalonia.

    For instance, the current region of Navarra matches the ancient Reign of Navarra. And preserves pretty much of their laws and self-governancy. But this is just because a historic chance: they just followed the winner side when dynastic wars took place in XVIII century. Could you enlighten us a bit about this end?

    Jesus Ignaci, your last point is absurd! Yes, Spanish has been used for centuries in Catalonia. Why is the existence of an ethnicity predicated on the existence of an independent state? In essence, this requirement is absurd and anachronous: nation-states come about in the late s. Before that the legitimacy of a state was based on dynastic or religious grounds rather than ethnicity. Did distinct cultures not even exist in your eyes before the existence of states?

    What about North America where state structures where not used as a way to organize society: do the Navajo not exist as an ethnicity? The Cree?