After the regional elections on 21 December 2017, the political situation in Catalonia has virtually not changed. The separatist parties have again achieved the absolute majority of seats in the regional parliament. They should also provide the next regional government.
Whoever becomes head of government, the central government in Madrid under Prime Minister Rajoy urgently needs to jump over its own shadow and offer hand for talks. Rajoy’s strategy did not work out, but that was foreseeable. Police violence and criminalisation are no adequate democratic means. Such a procedure reminded many Catalans of gloomy Franco times. Despite all prophecies of doom, the Catalan people kept exemplary calm, even though separatist politicians went to prison under the charge of “rebellion.”
Both sides must now approach each other. First, the autonomy of Catalonia must be restored; preferably with the option of recovering the 2006 democratically ratified Statute of Autonomy, which was badly ripped up by the Spanish Constitutional Court. In addition, the current Spanish Constitution would require a revision; it breathes the spirit of transition from dictatorship to democracy. The constitution can be changed by the national parliament and the population; this usually gives a country the necessary legal basis and legal certainty in a positivist manner. The Spanish constitution should reflect more closely the culture and history of the diverse country and thus come closer to an understanding based on natural law. In this way, one could also win the young generation to overcome regionalist trenches in the future and to develop the state democratically in a federalist sense.
Another stubborn refusing of Madrid to talk would only exacerbate the political and economic situation. Now is the time to pick up the line of conversation, if not in Madrid or Barcelona, then in Geneva; certainly not in Brussels, whose EU-apparatus has already switched the operation to Christmas holidays the day after the elections in Catalonia, in order not to have to answer unpleasant questions. •
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