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Political unrest in Spain

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October 14, 2017

What is the issue?

Catalonia secession movement has created a political instability in Spain and in European Union.

What is Catalonia secession movement?

  • Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain in the north-east end of the Iberian Peninsula and it was historically an autonomous region of the Iberian Peninsula.
  • However, its autonomy was never recognised despite having its own language, laws, and customs.
  • Many sovereigns tried to impose the Spanish language and laws in order to culturally unify the kingdom.
  • This fuelled Catalan separatism and call for complete independence continued to grow.
  • The 2006 statute of autonomy was reversed by the constitutional court in 2010 in a move now widely seen as triggering the current crisis.
  • Recently unofficial referendums on independence have been held in Catalonia, feeding on rising support for independence in the wake of the Euro Zone crisis and consequent austerity regimes.
  • This resulted in a 90 per cent vote for yes, though on a low turnout of 43 per cent, with many against independence thought to have refrained from participating.

How Spain government responded to the referendum?

  • Spain administration acted quickly, getting the referendum declared illegal by the nation’s constitutional court, and confiscating material and shutting down websites.
  • It held off a full independence declaration stating the declaration would be suspended to allow for talks with the central government.
  • Around 10,000 police were deployed across the region for the referendum and there has been use of force by the government that resulted in hundreds of injuries, strikes.
  • There has been “excessive use of force” across the region, even old aged protestors were also not spared.
  • Recently Spanish union government warned Catalonia’s autonomy could be suspended if the secession demands are raised.
  • Demonstrations have in recent days paralysed parts of Catalonia, an area crucial to the wider Spanish economy, with fears that the unrest could hurt investment into Spain.

How Spain’s unrest is seen in the region?

  • The secessionist movement comes amidst similar upsurges elsewhere in the continent and the rise of extreme tendencies.
  • The movement coincides with Brexit and the rise of the far left, and right across Europe and beyond suggests that there is a wider sense of dissatisfaction.
  • European nations were seeking opportunities thrown up by the uncertainty around Brexit.
  • Governments including Germany and Britain have expressed their support for Spanish unity.

Way forward

  • The Catalonian movement rises a question on positive economic future on which the independent nation could be based.
  • The situation is a powerful reminder of the limited benefits of heavy handed tactics.
  • The road forward remains unclear, joint initiative between Spain’s political parties would work on changes to the constitution, though this is set to report only in the next six months.


Source: Business Line


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vinod 5 years

how is this affecting India?



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