The way the crisis in Catalonia has been surged and the decisions both sides have taken can intensify and deepen the political clash in the coming period.
The lack of a serious political debate to address the crisis, the violence of the police, and the illegitimate unilateral declaration of independence have ended up in a deadlock and unveiled the political incapacity of both sides.
The political results created during this period have deepened the Spanish and Catalan nationalism. This development is worrying as it is added to the general increase of populist and extreme-right movements in Europe. Especially for Spain, that has achieved to marginalize nationalism in post-Franco period, this is an alarming situation that can threaten political normality and territorial integrity. The unity of Spain cannot be secured through nationalism, but through dialogue and mutual concessions.
In this context, the Spanish government has to avoid any action that would strengthen nationalist insanity and secure the already fragile balances in the country. Political violence and the extreme interpretation of the Constitutional Law can only deepen the crisis and generate an uncontrolled situation.
The stance of the European Commission concerning the crisis in Catalonia is at least disappointing. It did not boost efforts for political dialogue nor emphasize on a viable political solution. In the contrary, the progressive forces in the European Parliament, from the very first moment, have asked for the mediation of the European Commission, not with the aim of downgrading the role of the Spanish government neither substituting the power of the Constitution, but for bringing closer both sides and avoiding extreme decisions.
The snap elections of December 21st are a great opportunity for the left-wing and progressive forces to change political balances in Catalonia and promote dialogue with the Spanish government in a more concrete and binding way. Such a dialogue could lead to a viable and mutually beneficial solution, something that the suspended Catalan government could not guarantee.
*Dimitris Papadimoulis is Vice-President of the European Parliament, head of Syriza party delegation.
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