Advertisement

Claims for Secession in Catalonia. Rule of Law, Democratic Principle and Federal Alternative

  • Alberto López-BasagurenEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The political process that evolved in Catalonia from 2012 onwards vis-à-vis the claims for the territory’s secession reached its culminating point, for the time being at least, with the UDI approved by its Parliament in October 2017 and the simultaneous authorisation by the Spanish Senate of the application by the Government of the measures of ‘federal coercion’ provided for in the Constitution. This paper analyses the grounds upon which its advocates have sought to base the democratic legitimacy of the secessionist claim and the legal feasibility of its implementation, and the difficulties posed by them both in the legal field. In the same vein, it attempts to analyse the most important political weakness undermining the demand for secession in Catalonia today: the absence of a sufficient social majority supporting it. Finally, it is suggested that reform of the system of territorial autonomy is the only viable means of addressing the secessionist challenge.

Keywords

Secession Spain Catalonia Self-determination UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) Federalism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was undertaken as part of the DER 2013-47774-P Research Project, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the activities of the Research Group “Multilevel Constitutionalism”, funded by the Basque Government and the University of the Basque Country.

References

  1. Aja Fernández E, Viver Pi-Sunyer C (2003) Valoración de 25 años de autonomía. Revista Española de Derecho Constitucional 69:69–113Google Scholar
  2. Cassese A (1995) Self-determination of peoples. A legal proposal. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Castellá Andreu JM (2013) Democracia, reforma constitucional y referéndum de self-determination in Catalonia. In: Álvarez Conde E, Souto Galván C (eds) El estado autonómico in la perspectiva de 2020. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, MadridGoogle Scholar
  4. Castellà Andreu JM (2014) Secesión y referéndum sobre el ‘derecho a decidir’ enCataluña. Una aproximación desde el Derecho Constitucional. In: Oliver Araujo J (ed) El futuro territorial del Estado español. ¿Centralización, autonomía, federalismo, confederación o secesión? Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia, pp 451–490Google Scholar
  5. Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (Generalitat de Catalunya) (2018) Enquesta sobre context polític a Catalunya. 2018. REO num: 874, of 23/02/2018Google Scholar
  6. Consell assesor per a la transició nacional (2013a) La consulta sobre el futur polític de Catalunya. Informe n.° 1, Barcelona, 25 July 2013Google Scholar
  7. Consell assesor per a la transició nacional (2013b) Internacionalització de la consulta i del procés d’autodeterminació de Catalunya. Informe n.° 4, Barcelona, 20 December 2013Google Scholar
  8. Council of Europe. European Commission for Democracy Through the Law (Venice Commission) (2007) Code of good practice on referendums -CDL-AD (2007)008-, Strasbourg, 119.03.2007Google Scholar
  9. Court Supreme of Canada (1998) Reference re Secession of Quebec [1998] 2 SCR 217, of August 20Google Scholar
  10. del Pino Matute E (2017) Estaban un catalán, una madrileña y un andaluz… y llegó una terrible y sombría crisis. In: Agenda Pública, de 10.11.2017 (accesible in http://agendapublica.elperiodico.com/estaban-catalan-una-madrilena-andaluz-yllego-una-terrible-sombria-crisis/)
  11. Dumberry P (2006) Lessons learned from the Quebec Secession Reference before the Supreme Court of Canada. In: Kohen MG (ed) Secession…, cit., ppGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission for Democracy Through the Law (Venice Commission) (2014) Opinion on “Whether the decision taken by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine to organise a Referendum on becoming a Constituent Territory of the Russian Federation or restoring Crimea’s 1992 Constitution is compatible with Constitutional Principles”, Opinion no. 762 / 2014, of 21.03.2014 [CDL-AD(2014)002]Google Scholar
  13. Ferreres Comella V (2014) The Spanish Constitutional Court confronts Catalonia’s ‘right to decide’ (Comment on the Judgment 42/2014). Eur Const Law Rev 10:571–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fossas Espadaler E (2014) Interpretar la política. Comentario a la STC 42/2014, de 25 de marzo, sobre la Declaración de soberanía y el derecho a decidir del pueblo de Cataluña. Revista Española de Derecho Constitucional 101:273–300Google Scholar
  15. International Court of Justice (2010) Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo. Advisory Opinion of 22 July 2010, I.C.J. Reports 2010, p 403Google Scholar
  16. Keating M (2015) What next for Catalonia? Centre on Constitutional Change, Blog, published on October 1, (accessible at https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/what-next-catalonia)
  17. Keating M (2017a) Catalonia, Spain and the Right to Decide. Centre on Constitutional Change, Blog, published on October 2, (accessible at https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/catalonia-spain-and-right-decide)
  18. Keating M (2017b) Spain & Catalonia Locked in a Dispute Neither Can Win. Centre on Constitutional Change, Blog, published on September 21, (accessible at https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/spain-catalonia-locked-dispute-neither-can-win)
  19. Keating M (2017c) What next for Catalonia? Centre on Constitutional Change, Blog, published on July 12, (accessible at https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/what-next-catalonia-0)
  20. Kohen MG (ed) (2006a) Secession. International law perspectives. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Kohen MG (2006b) Introduction. In: Kohen MG (ed) Secession…, cit., pp 1 ffGoogle Scholar
  22. Kymlicka W (1998) Is federalism a viable alternative to secession? In: Lehning PB (ed) Theories of secession. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. López-Basaguren A (2008) Trasformazioni dello Stato autonomico e riforma dello Statuto del Paese Basco: tra rottura e ‘accomodamento a volontà’. In: Gambino S (ed) Regionalismo e Statuti. Le riforme in Spagna e in Italia. Giuffrè, Milano, pp 171–217Google Scholar
  24. López-Basaguren A (2009) Sobre referéndum y Comunidades Autónomas. La ley vasca de la ‘consulta’ ante el Constitutional Court (Consideraciones con motivo de la STC 103/2008). Revista d’Estudis Autonòmics i Federals (9):202–240Google Scholar
  25. López-Basaguren A (2012) Reforma del Estado autonómico e inclusión de los nacionalismos: un reto. In: Paper at the Seminar Debates sobre el Estado autonómico. Desafíos actuales y futuros, held in Altea from September 20–22, organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Fundación Manuel Giménez Abad (accessible at http://www.fundacionmgimenezabad.es/index.php?option=com_bookmarks&task=detail&Itemid=100269&id=636&Itemid=100454&catid=2)
  26. López-Basaguren A (2013a) Current issues around territorial autonomy in Spain. In: López Basaguren A, Escajedo San Epifanio L (eds) The ways of federalism in Western countries and the horizons of territorial autonomy in Spain. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 395–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. López-Basaguren A (2013b) Cataluña: e la nave va, diario El País, September 11Google Scholar
  28. López-Basaguren A (2014) Estado democrático y secesión de territorios. Un análisis comparado sobre el tratamiento democrático de las reclamaciones secesionistas. In: Arregi Aranburu J (ed) La secesión de España. Bases para un debate desde el País Vasco. Tecnos, Madrid, pp 39–68Google Scholar
  29. López-Basaguren A (2016) The parliament of the Basque country and the national issue: the weaknesses of a strong identity. In: Laforest G, Lecours A (eds) The parliaments of autonomous nations. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal-Kingston, pp 44–71Google Scholar
  30. López-Basaguren A (2017) Regional defiance and enforcement of federal law in Spain. The claims for sovereignty in the Basque Country and Catalonia. In: Jakab A, Kochenov D (eds) The enforcement of EU law and values. Ensuring member state’s compliance. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 300–315Google Scholar
  31. Muñoz Machado S et al (2017) Ideas para una reforma de la Constitución, MadridGoogle Scholar
  32. Pieters J. Dutch Parliament agrees to abolish Referendums. NLTime (23 February 2018; accessible at https://nltimes.nl/2018/02/23/dutch-parliament-agrees-abolish-referendum)
  33. Santamaría J (1972) Participación política y democracia directa. In: Estudios de Ciencia Política y Sociología. Homenaje al Profesor Carlos Ollero, Madrid, pp 743–783Google Scholar
  34. Saura V (2016) Con el Constitucional no “empezó todo”. in el diario digital diario.es, of 21.02.2016 (accessible at http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/opinions/Constitucional-empezo_6_486861315.html)
  35. Supreme Court of Canada: Reference re Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217Google Scholar
  36. Tierney S (2012) Constitutional referendums: The theory and practice of republican deliberation. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tomkins A (2014) Reflexions on 2014. Notes from North Britain. On Law, Politics and the British Constitution (Blog), posted on 26.12. https://notesfromnorthbritain.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/reflections-on-2014/
  38. Tomuschat C (2006) Secession and self-determination. In: Kohen MG (ed) Secession…, cit., pp 23 ffGoogle Scholar
  39. Tornos Más J (2014) El problema catalán: una solución razonable. El Cronista del Estado Social y Democrático de Derecho 42:44–53Google Scholar
  40. Tornos Más J (2015) De Escocia a Cataluña. Referéndum y reforma constitucional. Iustel, MadridGoogle Scholar
  41. United Nations. General Assembly (1960) Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. Resolution 1514 (XV),14.12.1960Google Scholar
  42. United Nations. General Assembly (1970) Declaration on principles of international law concerning friendly relations and co-operation among states in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Resolution 2625 (XXV), 24.10.1970Google Scholar
  43. Yécora F (16.11.2015) Cuándo creció el independentismo in Catalunya?. In: Debate 21 (blog), (accesible at http://debate21.es/2015/11/16/cuando-crecio-el-independentismo-en-catalunya/)
  44. Zeldin W. Netherlands: Draft Law to End Advisory Referendum Law, Library of Congress (accessible at http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/netherlands-draft-law-to-end-advisory-referendum-law/)

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Basque Country, Department of Constitutional Law and History of Political Law and of Political and Social MovementsBilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations