Why EU fears independent Catalonia
ONE OF the key arguments of the Remainers is that the EU is the ultimate guarantor of our civil liberties in the unlikely event of our democratically elected government wishing to strip them away.
After watching thuggish Spanish police beating white-haired grannies to a pulp and dragging young women out of polling stations by their hair – with the full backing of the EU – I think we can safely lay that mistaken notion to rest.
The European Commission – unelected and unaccountable let’s not forget – decreed that the decision of the Spanish government to unleash a wave of disgusting violence against its own citizens – peaceful, unarmed people queuing up to vote in Catalonia – was “proportionate”.
Meanwhile the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights (which, of course, is not part of the EU), which are normally desperately keen to meddle in the internal affairs of member states on trivial matters, have remained completely silent on this gross violation of human rights. What exactly is the point of these bodies?
The message to the people of Catalonia is clear – your rights to selfdetermination, free expression and with riot sticks is not the best way of bringing them around to your point of view.
The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy claims the referendum earlier this month – in which 90 per cent voted for independence – was unconstitutional and his brutal actions are simply an attempt to uphold the law.
He has now given the separatists five days to clarify whether they have declared independence and has threatened to impose direct rule on the region. If the only way of keeping Catalonia as part of Spain is by violence and repression, then ultimately it will not work.
As we saw under the Franco dictatorship, the crushing of dissent can succeed in keeping the country together for a time, particularly if Rajoy retains the support of the EU, but if the people do not want to be ruled by Madrid then eventually they will get their way.
And this is what terrifies Brussels above all else. If Catalonia splits, then why not the Basque country, Flanders, Wallonia and Padania (Northern Italy)? And suddenly the once-mighty empire is disintegrating before your very eyes.
So the EU will surely punish the Catalans ( just like it is trying to do to the British) to discourage any one else from doing anything that might threaten the project to create a United States of Europe.
The EU believes that bigger is better – to such an extent that democratic nation states are forced to bow the knee before a vast centralised bureaucracy that is entirely remote from the people it rules.
Yet all the evidence shows that the happiest and most prosperous countries are those where the citizens live under their own laws, governed by people they have elected (and can get rid of ) and where decisions are taken close to the people they affect. All that is anathema to the EU.
We will know in the next few days how the separatists and the regional president Carles Puigdemont respond to Rajoy’s ultimatum.
Whatever the reply it is clear that Spain, and its most prosperous region, are heading for the biggest crisis since democracy was restored in the country some 40 years ago.
This is bad news for a debt-ridden country that has hardly recovered from the 2008 crash and where the unemployment rate is the second highest in the EU at 17.2 per cent
And a further economic downturn in the EU’s fifth largest economy could unnerve creditors and trigger yet another euro crisis. Watch this space!