Should Catalonia declare its independence in the near future, it is likely that not one country would recognize it, said MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE), according to whom the solution lies in the Spanish government easing up and making changes to the legal system if needed.
"The solution is definitely not continued pressure by force on the part of the Spanish government," Paet told ERR. "Unfortunately, the solution is also not the Catalonian Parliament unilaterally declaring independence. I don't see there being international support for this today."
According to the MEP, such a move would not solve anything. "Practically speaking, nothing will really change beyond the fact that this tension will continue and the risk of more violence is very high," he added.
"This unilateral step does not yet establish a country," Paet explained. "First of all, Catalonia is very closely tied to the rest Spain in every respect, from the people themselves to the economy and infrastructure. This simply isn't possible and actually isn't reasonable or practical either to saw through. A normal, 21st century civil solution needs to be found for this situation in any case."
Paet believed that right now, they should work toward changing the legal system in Spain, and, if needed, holding a legally recognized referendum. "Despite the fact that it was accompanied by violence, this referendum was not formally recognized by anyone," he noted.
In his opinion, a mediator from the Council of the EU or the European Commission could help resolve the conflict with Catalonia, provided that both sides agreed to such mediation. The Spanish government, however, has yet to indicate that it would be prepared to take such a step.
"Right now, the situation is that which the central government has repeatedly stressed — that there is the Spanish Constitution and that all kinds of referendums are illegal," Paet observed. "At the same time, if it's still obvious that there are millions of people who are unsatisfied with the status quo, then something needs to be done."
Asked whether the ultimate goal in the long term should still be Catalonian independence, Paet replied that that is up for the people themselves to decide. "The Spanish government should not rule out the need to make changes to the Constitution or the legal system in order to release tensions," he said.
"As a result, it may satisfy Catalonians if their region gains some additional rights; it may satisfy them if some kind of federal formation is established," the Estonian MEP added. "There are theoretically a variety of options."
Editor: Aili Vahtla