World hooked on to de­vel­op­ments in Spain

Gulf News - - Perspective -

The sit­u­a­tion in Spain came to a head this week with the Cat­alo­nian lead­er­ship fi­nally declar­ing the re­gion’s in­de­pen­dence from Spain. As thou­sands of Cat­alo­ni­ans cel­e­brated the re­gional par­lia­ment’s vote, the Span­ish na­tional se­nate voted over­whelm­ingly to ap­prove Ar­ti­cle 155 pow­ers al­low­ing Barcelona’s au­thor­ity to be re­moved in an at­tempt to stop in­de­pen­dence in its tracks. T he fast un­fold­ing de­vel­op­ments in Spain kept the world hooked and stayed on as the top fo­cus of global me­dia. The Guardian lamented the fact that mat­ters in Cat­alo­nia were al­lowed to spi­ral out of con­trol. “There is no doubt that the Cata­lan lead­er­ship acted il­le­gally in hold­ing the ref­er­en­dum. There can equally be no doubt that Madrid turned a blind eye to le­gal and civil rights when it dis­missed crit­i­cism of po­lice bru­tal­ity in the anti-ref­er­en­dum op­er­a­tions. It is be­yond ques­tion that a le­gal re­sponse is in­ad­e­quate to fix this prob­lem: the Bel­gian prime min­is­ter, Charles Michel, was right to re­mind Spain that a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis can only be solved through di­a­logue. Madrid’s in­ept and tonedeaf re­sponse to the in­de­pen­dence move­ment has in­flamed the cause, not damp­ened the fire. Mat­ters should never have got to this stage. They should go no fur­ther. Eco­nomic dam­age is al­ready ev­i­dent; the dam­age to the so­cial fab­ric of Spain, and Cat­alo­nia in par­tic­u­lar, is equally ob­vi­ous and, in the long run, may prove harder to re­pair. But when tem­pers are so heated it is clear that this cri­sis is likely to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. How much more will be de­stroyed be­fore the flames are beaten down?,” the pa­per asked.

In a hard-hit­ting op-ed, Wash­ing­ton Post ad­vo­cated the prac­tice of prag­ma­tism to deal with the cri­sis. The pa­per ex­plained, “Spain is in cri­sis, and the steps both sides take over the next few weeks will have an im­pact on this coun­try and all of Europe for years to come. For Cat­alo­nia to en­sure a sta­ble fu­ture for its peo­ple, the silent ma­jor­ity will need to find its voice and bring seny (prag­ma­tism) back to the heart of Cata­lan and Span­ish so­ci­ety. That means vot­ing for new lead­er­ship on De­cem­ber 21 that will rep­re­sent all Cata­lans, not just the ones who will stop at noth­ing short of in­de­pen­dence. That means the politi­cians of Madrid need to be less hard-line and more will­ing to lis­ten.”

Not­ing that Cat­alo­nia’s dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence has come too soon, The In­de­pen­dent ed­i­to­ri­alised, “The peace­ful route to sus­tain­able in­de­pen­dence for Cat­alo­nia is to work to­wards a ref­er­en­dum by agree­ment with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Madrid, in which both sides would re­spect the out­come. Sadly, that op­tion has not been pos­si­ble, partly be­cause the Madrid gov­ern­ment is too in­flu­enced by the his­tory of the Civil War (in which de­mands for Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence played a part on the Repub­li­can side) and by the more re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence of fight­ing Eta ter­ror­ists seek­ing Basque in­de­pen­dence (whose vi­o­lence alien­ated most of the Basque pop­u­la­tion).” Fi­nan­cial Times warned against the dan­gers of con­fronta­tion. “Some Cata­lan min­is­ters have sig­nalled they will refuse to recog­nise di­rec­tives by the Span­ish gov­ern­ment this week­end re­mov­ing them from of­fice. Ac­tivists have promised to take to the streets and de­fend min­is­ters as they try and re­turn to work. There has long been fear that the im­po­si­tion of di­rect rule would lead to a sus­tained cam­paign of op­po­si­tion to Madrid,” the pa­per said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.