More news on the unprecedented display of Catalan nationalism seen in Tuesday’s mass rally in Barcelona attended by 1.5 million people as the Iberian country struggles with the global financial crisis and its increasingly fractious relationship with the Spanish state. From the Guardian:
“The European Union must prepare itself for the breakup of countries within its frontiers, the regional prime minister of Catalonia warned on Thursday, adding that Madrid could not simply ignore a huge independence demonstration held in Barcelona this week.
Artur Mas said: “Europe will at some time have to think about this. It wouldn’t make sense if, because of some rigid norms, it was unable to adapt to changing realities.”
His comments came after the European commission president, José Manuel Barroso, indicated this week that any new state would have to apply to join the EU.
Mas said there would be no looking back for Catalonia after the march, which police said was attended by 1.5 million people – a fifth of the population of the north-eastern region. He also warned the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his conservative People’s party (PP) government that they would be foolish to try to ignore the apparent desire for greater autonomy.
“This was not a sudden summer fever,” he said. “In Barcelona there was a vast, peaceful multitude of people… The biggest possible mistake would be to minimise what is happening.
“It was very important both quantitatively and qualitatively. The feeling was that Catalonia cannot continue on the current path, that it needs its own project.””
Meanwhile, Scottish blog Bella Caledonia has a lengthy article by Anna Arqué, the well-known Catalan writer and activist who has become something of a bête noire for online, right-wing Spanish nationalists. As always she presents an excellent summation of the recent history and politics of Catalunya and describes how it can progress towards full independence.