Scotland, the last point of reference for independence

BarcelonaThere was a day when Kosovo became the main point of reference for Catalan independence. On July 22, 2010, the International Court of Justice concluded that the unilateral declaration of independence (DUI) of 2008 “did not violate any rule applicable to international law.” The advisory opinion of the Court of The Hague opens a door to do the same in Catalonia, the leaders of the independence movement have been defending ever since. The DUI that Parliament passed in 2017 was, in fact, along these lines. But the negative externalities of having him as a reference soon set off the alarms of a movement that claims its pacifism and non-violence. Every time Kosovo was mentioned there was someone who remembered the more than 10,000 dead and missing and the million people displaced by the war with Serbia. So he has gone on to quote himself more and more with a small mouth and has disappeared from the documents of the parties.

During the years of the Process, the Catalan leaders have also mirrored the other republics of the Balkans, especially Slovenia; in the Baltics, Ireland and Quebec, but Scotland is the only benchmark that has remained immovable. With a referendum agreed in 2014 that supporters of the Yes they lost by 10 points (today we interview who was then the Prime Minister, Alex Salmond) and another that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is promoting for next year – for the moment without an agreement with Downing Street–, Scotland leads the way.

The dialogue table that the Government (the ERC part) shares with Moncloa is designed precisely as a way to convey a hypothetical agreement that in the Catalan case, however, has never come close.

Aval a la DUI

He was not yet the leader of ERC, but the then MEP Oriol Junqueras, hastened to celebrate that 22 July 2010 that international justice “guaranteed that political communities like Catalonia continue to advance on the road to freedom”. On the Left, the Kosovo case was widely claimed for years, and even as the shift from unilateralism to dialogue began, militancy still forced it to be referenced at the 2018 national conference. A year later, however, any reference to it disappeared in the new road map endorsed by the bases.

From the Palace of the Generalitat, already heading towards the 9-N, the spokesman, Francesc Homs (CiU), also claimed Kosovo in 2012 and the reports of the Advisory Council for the National Transition placed the example as one of the possibilities for Catalonia. The war associated with it did not withstand the comparisons.

In Slovenia the armed conflict had been much less intense, it had been resolved with a referendum and a subsequent DUI had endorsed its independence. For years, pro-independence parties and organizations invited the leaders of that process to talks to promote the Slovenian way. But in the ten days that the war lasted in 1991, sixty people died and, unlike Catalonia, Slovenia had an army. When it occurred to Quim Torra to recover the Slovenian portfolio in 2018, practically no one followed the president.

From the Baltic republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) they even took the idea of ​​making a human chain to claim independence. The ANC and Òmnium did it, inviting protagonists from that Baltic chain of 1989 to do the Via Catalana in the Diada of the year 2013. The dismemberment of the USSR – like that of Yugoslavia with regard to the Balkans – it also added obvious differences with the Catalan case.

The negotiated way

Ireland has been cited less during the Process. The island gained independence in 1921 after years of street violence and was split in two. Junqueras has recently used it as an example (also India), although no referendum was held there: London did authorize one, but in Northern Ireland in 1973.

Quebec and Scotland are the two benchmarks that have best withstood public scrutiny. Without violence, with prominence for political negotiation and giving the last word to citizens in a referendum. Quebec’s problem has been that independence has collapsed: from 45% of the vote in 1994 – they lost the referendum by a single point the following year – to less than 20% in 2018.

Scotland has been claimed by every president in the last decade. For Artur Mas and, later, Carles Puigdemont, Quim Torra and also Pere Aragonès, who has already met with the Scottish Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in one of his few international contacts. Parties and entities are comfortable with the comparison. The CUP even proposes that next year Catalonia coincides with a new unilateral referendum with the Scottish one. And Scotland continues to lead the way.

Source: – Portada by

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