European Commission hints at the way to handle Catalonia’s independence

Catalan independentist association Reagrupament submitted back in April an ICE requesting the European Commission to create a procedure for the internal enlargement of the EU of which we already spoke about here. In reponse to this the European Commission replied that the way to handle this situation would have to be found within the rules of international law.

Again last week European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso replied, in response to eurodeputy Mara Bizzotto query on whether Catalan citizens would lose their European citizenship status should Catalonia declare independence (CA), that “the solution would have to be found within the frame of international law”.

This means that the EU will not create a special process for the internal enlargement and, according to international law, states resulting from a secession process will automatically inherit the treaties that the from the state they are seceding from. Amongst them the membership to the European Union.

It also is good news because for the first time a European Institution has openly discussed about Catalonia’s independence.

Join the debate about the EU Internal Enlargement

The EU internal enlargement will be the process that will happen when one of the nations currently within a European Union member state democratically becomes a new state. Countries like Scotland, Flanders, Wales, Euskadi or Catalonia are amongst the candidates to become new states within the European Union.

From April the 1st European citizens are able to create European Citizens’ Initiatives and submit them to the European Commission so that they are assessed. If accepted and the minimum amount of supports is achievedthe EU will be forced to position itself regarding this issue and legislate accordingly.

Since the Internal Enlargement is a process that could potentially alter the borders of several member states the EU has traditionally chosen to avoid positioning itself about it even though it seems hard to imagine that a democratic independence process could ever be rejected.

So this initative is a way of forcing the EU to position itself and make the whole process more clear and democratic. If this initiative is accepted (the European Commission has two months to make a decision) then a period of 1 year will start to collect supports. Then the organisers will need to collect at least 1 million supports from European citizens in at least 7 different EU states.

Even though the European Citizens’ Initiatives have to be made by citizens and not political parties or organisations these can still back them. In this case, Joan Carretero, leader of Reagrupament, a catalan association and party, is the representative of the Citizens Commission that has launched this initiative which is also backed by Reagrupament.

This is a good opportunity to raise awareness internationally of the situation of the several stateless nations within the EU. In this case Reagrupament have been very fast to act since they have submitted the Initiative on the first possible day making use of the democratic tools at our disposal.

Personally I think it is also an opportunity to raise awareness that the Internal Enlargement is a European issue, especially since in some cases, like Spain, the member states do not acknowledge the nations within it and therefore the EU should act as a referee to guarantee the democratic rights that the members of stateless nations have as European Citizens to use their right of self-determination. is the official website created for the European Citizens’ Initiative.