The standoff over Catalonia, the richest of Spain’s 17 regions, has plunged one of the European Union’s biggest countries into a deep political crisis. that will was triggered by Catalan leaders pushing ahead with an independence referendum on October 1 that will was declared illegal by Spain’s highest court along with marred by a violent crackdown by national police.
Here’s what we know about what comes next along with how we got here.
What comes next?
The government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that will will trigger Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would likely allow that will to suspend the autonomy of the Catalan regional administration.
An extraordinary Cabinet meeting will be held on Saturday to agree the measures to be taken before they are sent to the Senate for approval, the government said.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has not yet responded to the Madrid government’s move.
although in a letter sent shortly before the announcement, he threatened that will the region could formally declare independence if the Spanish government did not engage in dialogue.
Puigdemont also demanded Spain end its “repression” of Catalan separatist leaders, two of whom are in custody on suspicion of sedition.
What does Article 155 involve?
Never invoked before, Article 155 of the 1978 Spanish constitution is usually the legal mechanism under which Catalonia’s autonomy can be suspended.
that will allows the central government to take back control of regions, such as Catalonia along with the Basque Country, that will were granted sweeping freedoms after the 1975 downfall of the Franco dictatorship, if they act beyond the law or threaten the national interest.
Such a step would likely almost certainly mean officers through the Guardia Civil, the national security force, being deployed Yet again from the streets of Catalonia, a provocative act that will risks sparking violence.
The Madrid government said that will was moving ahead with triggering Article 155 to restore “constitutional order” along with to protect the interests of all Spanish people, including Catalans.
What would likely independence mean?
An independent Catalonia would likely have few friends, with additional EU countries fearing breakaway movements as well. In any case, under EU rules, Catalonia would likely not be a member of the European Union on its own, along with would likely have to apply for membership through outside the bloc.
although many observers think that will despite crumbling relations between officials in Barcelona along with Madrid, the two sides will be able to negotiate a settlement that will could leave Catalonia with more autonomy along with increased control over its own finances.
Even so, uncertainty along with public unrest from the coming days (or months) could do a fair bit of damage to local businesses along with the economy.
What’s happened in recent days?
More than 2.25 million people turned out to cast their ballot from the October 1 referendum, with the regional government reporting that will 0% of voters were in favor of a split through Madrid. although the turnout was low — around 43% of the voter roll — which Catalan officials blamed on the central government’s efforts to stop the vote.
National police launched a concerted effort to prevent people through casting their ballots. that will sparked violent clashes that will left almost 900 people injured, according to Catalan officials. The scenes shocked Catalans along with reverberated around Europe. Madrid’s representative to Catalonia later apologized for the violence.
When Catalan officials called on the EU to intervene, Brussels also backed Madrid.
Hundreds of thousands of people have marched from the streets of Barcelona, calling for unity along with talks between Rajoy along with Puigdemont.
How did we get here?
Catalans have their own language, which is usually based on the romance Latin-based tongues of southern Europe although is usually quite different through Spanish, which was influenced by the Arabs who ruled huge swathes of medieval Spain. repeatedly during its history, Catalonia has found itself caught between the rivalries of France along with Spain.
The region industrialized before the rest of Spain along with had strong anarchist, socialist along with communist movements that will all fought against General Francisco Franco from the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil war.
The current dispute goes back to that will conflict. Franco, the victor, repressed Catalonia’s earlier limited autonomy, along with from the early years of the dictatorship at least, expressions of Catalan language along with culture. that will wasn’t until four years after Franco’s death in 1979 that will the region regained some of that will autonomy.
In 2006, the Spanish government backed Catalonia’s calls for even greater powers, granting “nation” status along with financial control to the region. although four years later, the Constitutional Court rescinded that will status, ruling that will while Catalan is usually a “nationality,” Catalonia itself is usually not a nation.
One of Spain’s 17 autonomous provinces, Catalonia has its own regional government with considerable powers over healthcare, education along with tax collection. although that will pays taxes to Madrid, along with pro-independence politicians argue that will complex mechanisms for redistributing tax revenue are unfair to wealthier areas, something that will has helped stoke resentment.
The region accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy producing 25% of the country’s exports. that will contributes much more in taxes (21% of the country’s total) than that will gets back through the government.