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  Catalonia crisis

  27 Debates

The Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) has won the regional elections in Catalonia, ending the absolute majority of separatist parties in the region: the previous ruling party ERC has slipped to third place, behind Carles Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya. Commentators look at the reasons and discuss whether PSC leader Salvador Illa - like Pedro Sánchez in Madrid - should cooperate with the separatists to form a government.

Carles Puigdemont is demanding amnesty and an end to proceedings against Catalan separatists in exchange for supporting a new socialist government. The Socialists (PSOE) would need the votes of his party Junts per Catalunya to piece together a majority and form a new government. Puigdemont himself is also facing legal proceedings for organising an independence referendum in 2017 as Catalonia's regional president. He wants the secession attempts to be recognised as politically legitimate.

According to research by The Citizen Lab think tank, the mobile phones of more than 60 Catalan separatists were tapped between 2017 and 2020. The Israeli spyware Pegasus was allegedly used, as reported in The New Yorker. The junior government partner Unidas Podemos is demanding that the Socialists, who have been in government since 2018, set up a parliamentary investigation. Who bears the responsibility here?

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met the President of the Government of Catalonia Pere Aragonès in Barcelona on Wednesday to resume the dialogue on Catalan independence dispute after an 18-month break. However, the only result of the meeting was the announcement that the parties would continue the talks despite their opposing positions. The Junts party, the more radical junior coalition partner of the Catalan separatist government, boycotted the meeting.

Despite strong opposition across the country, the Spanish government has pardoned nine imprisoned Catalan separatist leaders. They will be released on parole on Wednesday after more than three years behind bars and are banned from holding political office. While Spanish commentators are divided over whether this was the right decision, media from other countries approve.

The European Parliament has lifted the immunity of Carles Puigdemont and two other Catalan MEPs. They now face extradition to Spain and charges of sedition and misusing public funds. Until now the Belgian judiciary had refused to allow the extraditions. The press has different takes on what could - and should - happen next.

There are growing signs that a coalition between the Socialists and the left-wing party Podemos will be able to form a government majority with the backing of the Catalan separatist party ERC. However, in exchange for its support ERC is demanding a signal that the government will obey the ruling from Luxembourg. Some commentators are relieved while others see this as betrayal.

Thousands of people in Barcelona protest daily against the Spanish Supreme Court ruling in which leaders of the Catalan independence movement were sentenced up to thirteen years in prison. A general strike and blockades are set for Friday. The conflict has reached an impasse, in which other European countries can be drawn into, commentators observe.

The trial of twelve Catalan separatists began on Tuesday in Madrid. Spain's public prosecutor wants them to receive sentences of up to 25 years in prison for rebellion, insurgency and misuse of public funds in connection with the 2017 independence referendum. Commentators discuss the role of the judiciary and the media.

In the negotiations with the Catalan separatists Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has conceded to the demand for an independent facilitator. The right-wing opposition made up of the conservatives (PP), the liberals (Ciudadanos) and the far right (Vox) see Spain's unity at risk and have called a mass demonstration for Sunday to demand new elections. Is Spain's minority government tottering?

The Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been released on bail after judges of the district court in Schleswig, Germany, rejected Spain's extradition request. They ruled that Catalan independence had not been pursued in a violent manner and that consequently the Spanish judiciary's rebellion charges were untenable.

The public prosecutor's office of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has concluded that the European arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont is justified and wants the former Catalan regional president to be extradited to Spain. The Spanish judiciary has accused Puigdemont of rebellion and other crimes. Now the higher regional court must rule on his extradition. Commentators take differing views on the issue.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's minority government wants to have a say in Catalonia's language policy. And because the region's autonomy has been suspended by Article 155 it can now do so. Madrid is contemplating introducing new legislation that would allow parents to decide whether their children are taught in Catalan or Spanish at schools. What to make of this?

The three separatist parties have maintained their majority in the elections in Catalonia. Together they won 70 of the 135 seats in the Catalan parliament. The single biggest winner with 37 seats was the liberal centre-right party Ciudadanos, which strongly opposes secession from Spain, however it lacks coalition partners. Commentators conclude that the vote hasn't solved the problems but has at least brought clarity.

According to the latest polls neither the separatists nor the unionist parties will win a majority in today's regional elections in Catalonia. The deposed Catalan president and most prominent candidate Carles Puigdemont is still in Brussels. Can this vote settle the row over Catalonia's status?

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont turned himself in to the Belgian judiciary on the weekend and was released on bail. Other members of his separatist cabinet are currently in detention pending trial in Spain. Commentators have different views about how smart it was to involve the Belgian judiciary.

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated for Spain's unity in Barcelona on Sunday. The central government in Madrid has imposed direct rule on secessionist Catalonia and announced new elections for 21 December. Now Rajoy must convince voters to prevent the separatists from winning, some commentators demand. Others see Spain already returning to normality in many respects.

The Spanish Senate is expected today to approve measures proposed by the central government in Madrid that will deprive Catalonia of its autonomy and strip its government of its powers. Catalonia's head of government Puigdemont on Thursday rejected new elections and held to his plans for independence. Is a peaceful solution still on the cards?

The central government in Madrid is moving to suspend Catalonia's autonomy to prevent an illegal secession by the independence-seeking region. This could escalate the situation, commentators fear, doubting that the protagonists have the political skill to react appropriately.

Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont has postponed the region's secession from Spain. In his speech to the regional parliament he said that the declaration of independence would be postponed to make room for dialogue with Madrid. For some commentators the move is a step in the direction of reconciliation, while for others it is just the opposite.

Catalonia's separatists are fuelling nationalist sentiment yet at the same time they describe themselves as pro-European - a contradictory stance, commentators observe. Beyond the day-to-day events Europe's press discusses the reasons behind the Catalan separatists' push for independence.

Countdown in Barcelona: in the run-up to the speech by the Catalan head of government, Carles Puigdemont, the question on everyone's lips is whether the region will declare its independence this afternoon. Meanwhile the press continues to ponder solutions to the Catalonia conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalonians have demonstrated against police brutality during the referendum on Catalonian independence which left more than 800 people wounded. The central government's measures against the illegal referendum were appropriate no matter how many people come out and demonstrate, some commentators stress. Others call on the Spanish PM to resign.

Just days before the independence referendum in Catalonia is scheduled to take place it is unclear whether - and how - the vote can go ahead. Police have been instructed to seal off potential polling stations and thousands of additional officers have been deployed to the region. The regional government is sticking to its plans, however. Commentators have differing views on the separatists' struggle for independence, but all of them hope the situation won't end in violence.

The central government in Spain is upping the pressure on the Catalan separatists. The military police arrested twelve senior officials of the regional government today, Wednesday. Meanwhile a growing number of Catalan politicians are speaking up in defence of the independence referendum slated for 1 October. People in other regions of Spain are demonstrating to show their support. Is all hope of an agreement in vain?

Spain's Constitutional Court has put a stop to the plans to hold an independence referendum in the autonomous community of Catalonia. Just a day before the parliamentarians in Catalonia's regional parliament had passed a law that was to pave the way for a referendum on October 1. Could it be that the separatists' goal is right but their strategy wrong?