The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade organized a roundtable discussion about the Catalonian ‘Independence’ Referendum with the participation of Barnabás Szabó (IFAT), Norbert Tóth (NUPS) and Sándor Gyula Nagy (IFAT).
The Catalonian independence referendum held on 1st October 2017 burst into chaos, thus creating a vague and uncertain environment regarding the possible independence of the autonomous Catalonian province.
During the panel discussion Barnabás Szabó gave a historical overview on the Catalonian independence movement and the role and autonomy of Catalonia within Spain, highlighting the 2010 decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court that vetoed the modification of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.
Norbert Tóth talked about the independence aspirations in the 20th century Europe, including the secession of the Yugoslav successor states, while also touching upon the topic of Kosovo as a possible precedent for Catalonia. The associate professor explained that international and European law does not allow for unilateral declaration of independence either on the basis of self-determination or that of independence from colonial rule. He furthermore emphasized that the independence of Kosovo cannot serve as precedent, for it was a unique (and once in a lifetime) event. Catalonia has not seen any oppression, nor has Spain breached the principle of rule of law that could provide legal basis for the claim.
Sándor Gyula Nagy analysed the possible scenarios following the independence referendum, mentioning the use of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution as a possibility, which would suspend the self-determination of the autonomous province, dissolve the parliament and the government and would call for early elections.