France will not recognize Catalonia if a Unilateral Declaration from Spain is declared

France will not recognize Catalonia if a Unilateral Declaration from Spain is declared

Sawako Uchida and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

France is stepping up its closeness to Spain by stating that it will not recognize any unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia. At the same time, Catalans who are equally proud to be Catalan and Spanish, demonstrated in huge numbers at the weekend to show their loyalty to Spain. Therefore, a future Catalonia will face huge internal stresses based on Spain and France – and other European Union (EU) nations – refusing to recognize an independent Catalonia if based on a unilateral declaration.

Nathalie Loiseau, the European Affairs Minister, made it clear that France would remain loyal to Spain and that any declaration of independence must be agreed upon by Spain and the political elites of Catalonia. Loiseau said, “Catalonia cannot be defined by the vote organized by the independence movement just over a week ago…This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics.”

Loiseau continued, “If independence were to be recognized – which is not something that’s being discussed – the most immediate consequence would be that (Catalonia) automatically left the European Union.”

It remains to be seen how the political elites of Catalonia will respond but increasingly it is clear that Catalans are divided on this issue. After all, the majority did not participate in the vote for independence. Similarly, if Catalans who voted for independence dwell on the possibility of being isolated by Spain and the EU – and witnessing major economic negatives – then it could well be that the tide will turn. Therefore, it will be a huge gamble if independence is unilaterally declared by the Catalan parliament.

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, will bring the results of the tainted referendum in percentage terms, to the regional parliament tomorrow. Hopefully, Puigdemont will think more deeper about the current crisis with Spain and the EU – and that the majority of Catalans did not vote in the referendum. Indeed, a future referendum agreed upon by all parties – and one that will witness economic normality and no political convulsions – is in the interest of all vested parties.

Modern Tokyo Times stated in a past article, “If genuine talks are held between both parties at the eleventh hour – and EU leaders are invited – then it is possible that a compromise can be made. Even if this is to stem the current crisis by Catalan agreeing to not declare unilateral independence – on condition that Spain acknowledges a future referendum based on Catalan independence within a framework of 5 to 10 years. Hence, if both sides pull back from the brink by agreeing to accept a genuine compromise, then the onus is on Spain and the EU in showing the need for Catalonia to stay within Spain. If, however, the political elites in Spain and the EU can’t persuade the majority of Catalans to stay within Spain after a future referendum, then the wishes of Catalonians must be acknowledged. This refers to the split of the former Czechoslovakia and with Spain and the EU agreeing to a smooth transition based on the agreed compromise.”

Hopefully, all sides can pull back from the brink and focus on a possible referendum in the future that is guaranteed by Catalonia, Spain, and EU.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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