Exclusive: Catalan MEP calls for joint independence referendums with Scotland


Catalonia and Scotland should unite to pressure London and Madrid, senior MEP claims

THE CATALAN and Scottish Governments should co-ordinate plans for future referendums on independence to bypass resistance from Spain and the UK, according to Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ramon Tremosa.

Writing exclusively for CommonSpace as Catalonia goes to the polls as part of the Spanish General Election, Tremosa argued that linking together the movements for independence would strengthen their democratic legitimacy.

On the basis that pro-independence parties continue to dominate their respective parliaments, Tremosa stated: “Scots and Catalans can choose in a coming year to hold a unilateral independence referendum (UIR), without agreement with London and Madrid respectively. We could do it on the same day.”

In September Catalonia elected a majority of pro-independence politicians with a mandate to begin negotiations on independence from Spain. Madrid has persistently refused to recognise the right to self-determination.

Explainer: Understanding Catalonia’s battle with Spain for independence

Scotland’s experience, where a binding referendum on independence was agreed, was different in 2014 – although prime minister David Cameron has since ruled out any future independence referendum.

Tremosa claims that if any future mandate for a referendum in Scotland is rejected, the Scottish Government may be forced to join Catalonia in holding a “unilateral” vote: “The SNP knows that London will not agree to a new referendum, because recent polls have shown a majority in favour of independence.”

The Scottish Government and Scottish National Party were careful to avoid any interventions into the domestic politics of Catalonia and Spain prior to the referendum on Scottish independence.

However, following the victories of pro-independence Catalan parties in September, ministers Fiona Hyslop and Humza Yousaf stated that the Scottish Government was open to mediating the dispute between the two Iberian governments.

Following the vote former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond also intervened , cautioning Catalonia against taking a unilateral approach to independence.

Although both nations share substantial movements for independence, the Catalan experience is distinct from Scotland given the fall of the Francoist dictatorship in 1975 and its violent repression of Catalan language and culture.

The Spanish General Election today [Sunday 20 December] represents a key test for pro-independence parties in Catalonia and for the growing anti-austerity movement Podemos.

Read Ramon Tremosa’s full piece on CommonSpace .

Picture courtesy of byronv2